The Translators - Interpreting Donald Trump

Extended - July 13, 2017 - Ilhan Omar 07/13/2017 Views: 42,440

Desi Lydic sits down with translators from around the world to get their take on the challenges of interpreting the words of President Trump. (6:47)

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President Trump is in Francecelebrating Bastille Day

with French PresidentEmmanuel Macron,

who declared war on Trump

by making him go to a museumwith him.

And President Trump retaliated

by hitting onthe French First Lady

in full view of everyone.

Something happened withPresident Trump,

comments he madethat have now been posted

on the Facebook page, I'm told,of President Macron.

Let's listen.

Donald J. Trumpdoes not give a (bleep).


In front of his own wife.

He's like, "Damn, girl.

You want some of this baguette?"

Like, I spentthe whole afternoon,

I spent the entire afternoon

trying to figure outhow in that moment

Macron didn't punch Trumpright there.

But, then, no, no, but then Irealized, I realized something.

Whenever Trump is overseas,the one advantage he has

is that people aren't hearinghim in his native tongue.

Yeah. No, think about it.Think about it,

because everything he says

has to be interpretedby a translator,

So maybe today when Trump said,

(mimics Trump)'"You're in great shape,"

(normal voice):the translator said,

(with French accent):"He says you look well."

(normal voice):Right? That could happen.

Whereas if I werethe translator,

I would have been like,"Yo, my dude wants to smash."

Which is more accurate.

It's way more accurate.

You see,translating Donald Trump

is a real challenge,

as our very ownDesi Lydic reports.

LYDIC: America hears Trump in English.

I know words,I have the best words.

LYDIC: Well, sort of.

But the rest of the world doesn't hear Trump.

(translators speaking inforeign language)

LYDIC: The rest of the world hears...

The Translators.

We assembled five translators from all over the world

to hear their experiences when it comes to translating Trump.

Of all the peopleyou've had to translate,

where does President Trump fall?

He's probably the worstthat I've ever translated.

Trump is incoherent.

And he changes his mindin the middle of a sentence.

Sometimes his messageis not quite grammatical

and seems a little bituneducated.

I would say it's notparticularly difficult

to translate Trump.

All right, get the (bleep)out of here.

Get this guy out of here.

Russian Kramer aside, how does one translate Trump

with all these obstacles?

Sometimes I lie.

-You lie?-I-I have to.

No, no, no, no, no,but you can't do that,

you can't do that, because,see, we are counting on you

to translatePresident Trump accurately

to the rest of the world.

Okay. I am accurate97% of the time.

-97%, you translate Trumpcorrectly. -Yeah. Yeah.

But the three percent...

Three percentyou have to fake it.

-Three percent of the time youhave to fake it. -To make sense.

Otherwise you're gonnalook like an idiot yourself.

It makes us sound stupid.

Bing, bing, bong, bong,bing, bing, bing.

How would you translate that?

Bing, bing, bong, bong.


Okay, maybe that was a softball.

But how about this memorable quote?

Total and complete shutdown

of Muslimsentering the United States

until our country'srepresentatives

-can figure out...-(crowd cheering, applauding)

-...what the hell is going on.-What the hell's going on.

Uh, there's no equivalentto "what the hell's going on"

in Arabic.

That's unfortunate, 'cause it...

that would be a widely-usedturn of phrase.

That's one of the main issues.

Trump's special vocabulary

doesn't always exist in other languages.

-TRUMP: You can do anything.-BILLY BUSH: Whatever you want.

TRUMP:Grab 'em by the pussy.

How would you translate"grab 'em by the pussy"?

I would say...

(speaks Japanese)

Meaning that "women can...

let me do anything."

That's very, very different,'cause it could mean

"women let me do anything.

Like, treat them like a queen."

As opposed to "I cangrab 'em by the pussy."

-Mm.-You know?

Unfortunately, it does notproject the same way.

Is there a Japanese wordfor "pussy"?

Not in the exact senseof the word.

Is there a Japanese word for...


Sure, that's...(speaks Japanese)

No, that's no gonna work. That'stoo cute, that's too cute.

Okay, how about this?

Tacos. We just say "tacos."

Okay, I'm getting a real senseof a language barrier here.

Is there a Japanese wordfor this?

Roast beef?

Kind of.

-Beef curtains.-Beef curtains. Mm-hmm.

(speaks Japanese)

Try that.

We will build the wall.

And Mexico is goingto pay for the wall.

(speaks Spanish)

Okay, that is... No,there is warmness in your eyes,

you're smiling--that is not the way he said it.

You have to do itlike he does it.

People at home are gonnathink he's joking.

People have a... sensitivity,

so you don't want to offend them

more than he already has,you know?

No, you got to give 'emthe Trump.

Who's gonna pay for the wall?

No Mexico.

Yeah, no, I knowMexico's not gonna pay...

But Trump believes that Mexico'sgonna pay for the wall,

so if you're gonnatranslate him,

you have to believe it, too.

Who's gonna pay for the wall?

Nobody's gonna payfor that wall in Mexico.

No, no, no.

What is wrong with these translators?

No one is capturing the true Trump.

It's not just his words. There's something more.

The poor guy--you got to see this guy.

"Oh, I don't know what I said,

uh, I don't remember!"

He's going like,"I don't remember! I don...

Maybe that's what I said!"

Yeah, that's pretty accurate.

I think youkind of got the gist of that.

I'm Trump for the moment,

while I am interpretinghis words.

This beautiful mime was right.

That's what these translators were missing.

They needed to embody Trump-- his tone,

his mannerisms, his sexism-- the whole package.

And down with the dumb face.


Grab 'em by the pussy!Grab 'em by the pussy!

Sad. Sad.

-(speaks Spanish)-Sad.

After a grueling seven minutes of training,

these translators were ready.

With cojones.

LYDIC: There you go. Muy bien.

LYDIC: Nailed it.

LYDIC: Oh, my God.Oh, my God.

Okay, that's... that's good.

Thank you. Thank you.You can cut.

-Thank you, Desi.-(cheering, applause)

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