[Politech] Iraq, Japanese hostages, and manipulation through translation [fs]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Tue Apr 13 2004 - 08:39:29 PDT

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    -------- Original Message --------
    Subject: Manipulated as Lost in Translation -- news on Japanese hostage 
    in Iraq
    Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2004 01:23:03 -0700
    From: Gohsuke Takama <gt@private>
    To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>
    Hi Declan,
    I thought some Politech reader might be interested. here's how subtle
    censorship is put in the media through language barriers. and imagine that
    how translations of treaties like CyberCrime Convention could be processed.
    is the one Japanese is talking about is the same as European's?
    Gohsuke Takama
    Manipulated as Lost in Translation
    How can you trust TV news media's accuracy if it is from the source with
    foreign languages? Or, how do you know your countries news media is
    providing news in other languages as same as you watch or read?
    Especially for live TV news reports, interpretation voice over often fails.
    There's something always lost in translation and usually there are two
    types of reason:
    1. Live interpreters' skill insufficient in the available time period.
    2. Scripts provided for them had modifications by some reason.
    But when the topics are critical, suspicion for the reason 2. often rise.
    When the TV news on the incident of three Japanese hostage captured in Iraq
    by Saraya al-Mujahdeen militant group, Japan's TV didn't show shocking
    footage how hostage treated in the video. Not only that, live English
    interpretation in the footage on NHK TV news aired on Apr 9 night that
    family and relatives of the hostage meeting with Japan's Foreign Minister
    had suspicious words drop off.
    It was noticed when the camera focussed at the brother of humanitarian aid
    worker Nahoko Takato. He had sharply criticized Japanese government not
    putting immediate withdrawal of SDF from Iraq as an option. The words
    "immediate withdrawal of SDF from Iraq" was not translated in the English
    voice over. He also said as "it doesn't mean that the government
    considering everything set in full" (caution: this is my translation) and
    it was dropped off too.
    Reuters caught that and later written in the news article as:
    No Word on Kidnapped Japanese as Cheney Visit Nears
    "To be honest, I want the government to accept the withdrawal (of the
    troops) as an option," said Shuichi Takato, the brother of hostage Nahoko
    Takato, a 34-year-old aid worker.
    The other drop off was in the footage of petition on the street. The
    petition was started by the friends of other hostage Noriaki Imai who
    wanted to research on effects of US military used weapons that had Depleted
    Uranium in the shells. Of course the petition is asking immediate
    withdrawal of SDF from Iraq. But again, the English voice over didn't
    explain the purpose of the petition.
    Since 9/11 many people in the US learned to check other countries news
    while US news media were not carrying the details of the subjects. Here, it
    is becoming similar in Japan.
    Now some of Japanese are seeking info on these Japanese hostage in other
    countries media such as Euronews or Al-Jazeerah.
    Maybe some of Japanese hope the US troops for the rescue. However, it is
    interesting that DARPA hosted web site TIDES Iraq Reconstruction Report has
    almost nothing on Japanese hostage related news collection. Maybe such hope
    has nowhere to go.
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