Asian media has apparently had a rough time trying to figure out exactly how to translate President Donald Trump’s recent comment about “shithole countries.”
“Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” Trump reportedly asked lawmakers at the White House Thursday.
Translators worldwide have long struggled to make the president’s often unusual rhetoric accessible in other languages, with some Japanese translators expressing frustration with the “nightmarish” task of turning “Trumpese” into something their readers can understand.
With the president’s supposed “shithole” comment, translators at Asian media outlets have once again found themselves facing a challenge, specifically translating Trump’s alleged statements without unintentionally offending their readers.
The Japanese media outlet NHK decided to go with “filthy countries, but the newswire Jiji Press went with “countries like toilets,” according to Channel News Asia. The Sankei Shimbun took a similar approach and translated the president’s comment as “countries as dirty as outdoor toilets.”
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency ended up calling the countries “beggar’s dens.” Another South Korean outlet followed suit but decided to write the English word out.
— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) January 12, 2018
Taiwan’s CNA reportedly translated it as “countries where birds don’t lay eggs,” and mainland China thought “rotten countries” was better than the colloquial “places where not even the birds will poop.”
Vietnam did the same, going with “rotten countries,” as well as “dirty” and “rubbish countries.”
The Philippines, which has a president famous for his bombastic and foul-mouthed rhetoric characterized by the use of a variety of curse words, appeared to have no problem translating Trump’s language, translating it directly as “shithole.”
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