Saturday, September 26, 2009

Followup (LOL) ::: Translator collapsed during Khadafy's rambling diatribe


After struggling to turn Khadafy’s insane ramblings at the UN into English for 75 minutes, the Libyan dictator’s personal interpreter got lost in translation.

"I just can’t take it any more," Khadafy’s interpreter shouted into the live microphone – in Arabic.

At that point, the U.N.’s Arabic section chief, Rasha Ajalyaqeen, took over and translated the final 20 minutes of the speech.

"His interpreter just collapsed – this is the first time I have seen this in 25 years," another U.N. Arabic interpreter told The Post.

Breaking with protocol, Khadafy brought his own interpreters from Tripoli for Wednesday’s speech rather than use one of the 25 Arabic translators supplied by the United Nations, staff interpreters said.

Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi holds a copy of the UN Charter as he speaks during the United Nations General Assembly.
AFP/Getty Images
Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi holds a copy of the UN Charter as he speaks during the United Nations General Assembly.

"This is the best team in the world – most heads of state prefer to use U.N. interpreters because then – no matter what happens – they can blame the interpreter," one staffer said.

Khadafy told the U.N. that he was supplying his own French and English interpreters because he would be speaking a special dialect only they would understand, but staff interpreters said he actually spoke standard Arabic.

Those who have translated for Khadafy in the past said they could empathize with his interpretator’s exasperation.

It’s not just the zany conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination and swine flu that are a challenge, but the loony Libyan’s strange mannerisms.

"He’s not exactly the most lucid speaker," another Arabic interpreter said. "It’s not just that what he’s saying is illogical, but the way he’s saying it is bizarre. However, I think I could have made him sound a lot better."

Khadafy has a habit of repeating the same phrase over and over again, "which is good because if you don’t understand what he says the first time you can get it right the second or third time," the interpreter said.

The Colonel extemporaneous ramblings are a particular challenge, another interpreter said.

"Sometimes he mumbles, sometimes he talks to himself," he said.’

Ajalyaqeen, who had to rescue the bealegured interpreter, was given the day off yesterday.

"Ten minutes with Khadafy earns you a lot of annual leave," one interpreter said.

From the NYPost: Translator collapsed during Khadafy's rambling diatribe

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