Friday, March 6, 2009

Translation Screw Ups

In this article from the New York Times today, a translation mistake made recently in Geneva is discussed. Apparently Hillary Clinton was giving a red button to a Russian diplomat as a gesture of good will while also referencing something that Joe Biden said a few weeks ago. On the button was written "reset" and what the State Department thought was the Russian equivalent. Unfortunately, as soon as the diplomat was handed the button, he pointed out that it meant a different word.

Really? Would it have been that hard to just go up to someone in Brighton Beach and get the right word? This is the U.S. Department of State we're talking about. And they couldn't get someone to look up the right word in the English-Russian Dictionary? That's pretty bad. After all, we're only talking about international relations and trying to make a good impression on a former enemy, former buddy, then kind of recently sort of not so buddy buddy as we thought country. This is exactly the kind of thing that gets me interested in international relations and development.

In other news, I've just found out today that my paperwork has been approved by the Argentinian Consulate in New York, so I'm now one step closer to getting the dual citizenship with Argentina. Now, the paperwork must be sent back to me so that I can take the papers to the consulate in Guayaquil and sign them in front of a diplomat. Then I will have the citizenship, finally. Now I just have to hope that nothing screws it up in between.

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