Netherlands: Mistranslation?

Netherlands: Mistranslation?

I reported about this story here and here. The Dutch media "mistranslated" Khalid Yasin's words on Geert Wilders and caused a great big controversy.

Meanwhile, the media are having a hard time investigating their own..


Whose fault was it? According to Expatica, it's clear:

During a lecture on Friday, which has since been released on YouTube, Sheikh Yasin said he hoped that Mr Wilders would be given a judicial "slap on the wrist".

According to the PVV, Mr Yasin said that Mr Wilders should be flogged, but a study of the YouTube recording has revealed that this was not so.
(Source: Expatica)


Here's news agency Novum's take on things:

In the speech, according to Fritsma [PVV parliament member], the sheik supposedly said that Geert Wilders should be flogged because he insulted Islam. According to Wilders, Fritsma bases this point of view on a report of AD. In the clip on YouTube Yasin doesn't say such words. (Source: Elsevier)


Closer to the truth, though apparently news agency Novum can't double check their own information and bring facts.

De Telegraaf says it was based on 'a newspaper report that said that the sheik had said in Rotterdam that Geert Wilders should be flogged'. (Source: Telegraaf)


DutchNews, on the other hand, has no problems pinpointing the source of the "mistranslation":

The AD newspaper reported that New Yorker Khalid Yasin had called for Wilders to be given a 'traditional punishment such as a whipping' during a speech in Rotterdam on Friday.

But later it emerged that Yasin said in English that Wilders deserved a 'juridical slap on the wrist' for making his 10-minute anti-Islam film Fitna.


The weekend mistranslation led to calls from the PVV and the Rotterdam political party Leeftbaar Rotterdam for Yasin to be expelled.

The AD has not explained how its reporter came to make such a simple translation error.

(Source: DutchNews)


But DutchNews doesn't get it fully right either. They're quoting from AD's own explanation:

A passage in the speech of the American Muslim preacher Khalid Yasin about PVV leader Geert Wilders has been interpreted wrongly by AD.

Yasin talked in the lecture, which he gave last Friday at the Islamic University of Rotterdam, in English about a 'judicial slap on the wrist'. That has been wrongly translated as a 'traditional punishment such as flogging'. Yasin actually meant that the PVV politician should get a 'judicial slap on the wrist' [now translated to Dutch].

The preacher repeated this once more during a press conference in the mosque 'Dar al-Hijra' in Rotterdam-South. Yasin regrets his statements have been wrongly interpreted. (Source: AD)


This piece above, which is titled "Yasin's speech wrongly translated", doesn't include an explanation, it doesn't even include an apology. Even worse, it's trying to rewrite the original article, which they have since removed from their site.

Thanks to Google archive here it is:

Geert Wilders moet eens ouderwets met een riem worden gegeseld. Dat bepleit de internationaal omstreden Amerikaanse moslimprediker Khalid Yasin.


De prediker zei ook dat Wilders zijn verontschuldigingen moet aanbieden aan alle moslims.

(Source: AD)

In English:

Geert Wilders should be whipped with a belt like in the old days. That argues the international controversial American Muslim preacher Khalid Yasin.


The preacher also said that Wilders should apologize to all Muslims.

[Note that this original report has no byline]


Why, you must be wondering, is this important?

First, since the public, which relies on the media, was duped. And nobody cares enough to either apologize or to explain how it happened.

Second, because there are preachers who DO say such things. AD single-handedly ensured that any such claims will be met with skepticism in the future. Are you sure? Maybe it's a mistranslation from Arabic? Maybe you didn't hear it correctly? Maybe it was taken out of context? Unless proof is produced either way, people will be faced with having to decide between believing a Muslim preacher or the media. As it stands now in the Netherlands, the preacher is much more believable.

Yasin's speech was attended by journalists, some of whom later described the speech as being very tolerant. AD's own report after the event did not say anything about whipping or flogging and instead said that Yasin 'kept far from controversial statements' and that he called for 'tolerance in the world without diffrentiating between religious denominations' (Source: AD)

So, why did AD's reporter think Yasin said Wilders should be whipped with a belt? This wasn't a 'mistranslation'. If it was, it was quite an embellished one. Did the reporter just make things up, or was he basing himself on what he was told? In either case, it's something AD should explain to the public. Particularly if it wants the public to trust them, and by extension the rest of the media, in the future.

No comments: