Bad Interpreter

Speaking about interpreting, I’m watching a talk by the Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Rafeyenko organized by the Harvard Ukrainian Institute, and the interpreter is slaughtering the translation.

The writer says, “I hated myself, I hated everything I was because I felt that the war was being waged in my name.” I start crying and then hear the interpreter translate this as, “I objected to that because I thought it wasn’t OK.”

It’s particularly irksome that the interpreter constantly confuses “Russian” and “Russian-speaking.” It makes zero sense to say that Rafeyenko used to be a Russian writer. Russian speakers aren’t Russian. Hello, there’s a war going on over that very issue.

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