Thursday, December 16, 2004

from newshounds's article "Duelling Translations of bin Laden"

Here's the Al Jazeera translation which agrees with the ones broadcast on CNN and other media outlets:

"Your security is in your own hands. And every state that doesn't play with our security has automatically guaranteed its own security."

Here's the MEMRI translation:

"Your security is in your own hands, and any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."


MEMRI surfaces whenever the Bush administration has need of a more favorable interpretation of Arabic texts and/or attitudes.

Here's an excerpt from an article on MEMRI by Brian Whitaker in The Guardian, August 12, 2002. Some of his observations are no longer the case (I've made the appropraite notations), but the rest of the excerpt is factual:

(Begin exceprt.) Memri's purpose, according to its website, is to bridge the language gap between the west - where few speak Arabic - and the Middle East, by "providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew media"

Despite these high-minded statements, several things make me uneasy whenever I'm asked to look at a story circulated by Memri. First of all, it's a rather mysterious organisation. Its website does not give the names of any people to contact, not even an office address. [N.B. There is now some contact information on the site.]

The reason for this secrecy, according to a former employee, is that "they don't want suicide bombers walking through the door on Monday morning" (Washington Times, June 20).

This strikes me as a somewhat over-the-top precaution for an institute that simply wants to break down east-west language barriers.

The second thing that makes me uneasy is that the stories selected by Memri for translation follow a familiar pattern: either they reflect badly on the character of Arabs or they in some way further the political agenda of Israel. I am not alone in this unease. - Duelling Translations of bin Laden

No comments: