Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What They Say Putin Said

The current year started with a prominent interview of Vladimir Putin to the German Bild. He spoke to German journalists on January 5.

Here goes the "original" German version. Why did I put the word 'original' in the quotation marks? The answer is pretty simple: it is a German text; that means, a translation of the words our president said to the interviewing staff in Russian.

For those of you, who do not speak or even understand German, the title goes: "Why Did Putin Frighten Merkel With His Dog". And the subtitle below: "Vladimir Putin explains his world: the NATO is agressive, Merkel is earnest, and the Russian Crimea is a God's justice".

You like it or not, that's what the Bild wrote in German.

Being a major German paper, they published the English translation of the interview as well. Here it is.

You can see with your own eyes, that the title differs, so deos its very meaning.

Moreover; from the very beginning, even the text of the very first questionlet differs more or less. The German text says: "That's the question of all questions. We did everything wrong".

However, the Bild's English translation reads: "That is the big question. We have done everything wrong".

Yes, both versions sound quite close. But there is a devil in details, you know.

I am absolutely sure you know Russian even worse than German (well, most of you surely so). But the Internet site of our President does quite a nice job; not only did they upload the full transcript of the interview in Russian (part one; part two); they did an official translation of what Putin said in Russian, into English.

And this IS what Putin said, not that the Bild's editors edited from his words (and, consequently, the Bild's translators rendered into English).

And, as the official translators put it, the President of Russia said in response to the first question^
You have started just with the key question. We did everything wrong from the outset.
And as a man with native Russian, decent English and quite a big piece of German (the list is not finished with these!) in one head, I can compare. And, when I have enough time, I do.
Вы начали сразу с ключевого вопроса. Мы всё сделали неправильно
In fact, it isn't the first answer to the first question; it is just a beginning of a big response to the starting, one of the most important questions of the interview; however, that isn't that important for what I am talking about.

I have to admit an evident fact: the best way to know what Putin said in fact, is to read his official translation in the Russian President's official web site. You are welcome to do it yourselves: here goes the part one, immediately followed by the part two.

I have nothing against discussing Putin's words with anyone. The only thing that matters, is that the real words are worth discussing, not their interpretation or selection, even if done by journalists and editors of the Bild... or CNN, or BBC, or whoever and whatever else.

Get to the sources, people, and... just try to think different!

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