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April 10, 2004

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, who'd been visiting Iraq since last year to help street children also previously worked as humanitarian aid in India. 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 Depleted Uranium in the weapons that US military used. 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.
http://www.euronews.net/
http://www.aljazeera.net/
http://english.aljazeera.net/

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.
TIDES Iraq Reconstruction Report Apr 10, 2004

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Comments

Your articles are amazing. This one about lost in translation is particularly moving to me. I am not surprised at all about details being left out, I just hadn't thought of it before. As a consumer I sit here and listen to what's piped in. I consider myself fairly well read, traveled, and informed, but I am no saint. I am just as vulnerable to anesthatisaztion as the next drone. Your article proves one thing that I often suspect about any news from anywhere...you really don't know unless you're there. And even then it depends on point of view. Your article woke up my brain.

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