Monthly Archives: February 2015

Gaijin Gulag: “prison is better”

As is my wont, I went looking at the UK experience, and found that at one of the UK’s “immigration removal centres” (that sounds rather ominous to me!), an inmate reckoned:

She tells me that being in prison was better than staying at Yarl’s Wood [immigration removal centre].

There are tales of being denied medicines, no privacy, sexual abuse, etc. A separate BBC report describes slave labour-like conditions for the inmates, being paid just one pound per hour for working in the centre. The detainees in the UK may have more access to the outside world – mobile phones and the internet are allowed – but the problems do seem rather similar to the ones that Hindpal Singh Bhui from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons described for Japan.

And for a bonus, the right-wing prime minister praises people many consider to be war criminals.

Jeff Kingston beats Martin Fackler with a vengeance

Following up on Martin Fackler’s dodgy translation, the Japan Times allows Jeff Kingston to publish his usual Abe hate, winding up the hate from “pay the price” to “vengeance”, not just once but three times. Here is the evidence he is quoting Fackler:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe […] vow[ed] retribution and justice by “making the terrorists pay the price.”

Yup, straight from the horse’s arse, and as I mentioned in the comments there, at least Mr Kingston managed to get one word correct, “justice”.

New York Times’ dodgy headline and quotes

First we get the title of the article, “Departing From Country’s Pacifism, Japanese Premier Vows Revenge for Killings“, which to the casual reader may suggest there’s already a squadron of Kamikaze Zeros on their way over.

Next, the body text has the quote that forms the basis of the headline:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reacted with outrage, promising “to make the terrorists pay the price.”

However, reading the official English translation of his comments, the closest I can find is:

I will never forgive these terrorists. I will work with the international community to hold them responsible for their deplorable acts.

It is possible, I admit, to abridge the full quote to get the shorter one offered by the New York Times, but given that the article author is Martin Fackler, I believe he has deliberately twisted the meaning. Note that on Twitter, he acknowledges that the headline (not the quote) is flawed click-bait:

The headline is not exactly what I wanted to say, but it gets attention

Talking of official versus unofficial translations, I saw this interesting look at another hostage-related issue.  His view is:

It is my experience that non-native speakers of the language being translated tend to produce more fluid but less accurate text

A rather more generous opinion that I have given!