September 25, 2009

"I just can’t take it any more" — shouted in Arabic by Gaddafi's translator.

75 minutes into the nonsense.
"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."


Hoosier Daddy said...

You know, I heard Kanye West was trying to get to the podium and wrest the mic away saying that the best speech to come would be from Barrack Hussein Obama but he was wrestled to the floor by UN security and hauled off in the back seat of a Buick LeSabre.

I swear to God.

chuck b. said...

Sister Morphine.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Actually, Hoosier, I heard the real reason the translator had the meltdown was that he heard that Biden would be speaking next.

ricpic said...

Gaddafi, Ahmajinedad and Obama: 3 killer clowns.

Steven said...

Wonder what this guy's life expectancy is after that outburst.

MrBuddwing said...

As a monoglot, I've always envied the ability to do simultaneous interpretation (not translation, that refers to the written word, not spoken). Apparently it's not enough to know the two languages, even fluently; conveying the sense of what's being said from one language to the other is a special talent.

Wonder what's going to happen to that poor interpreter (not translator).

PatHMV said...

Yeah, I'm thinking if I were that translator, I'd be trying to stay in New York for rather a while longer.

MadisonMan said...

I'm sorry, but this makes me laugh.

I'm a bad person. The guy is probably going to die for this.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Oh I think a Biden speech at the UN would be great. I mean I'd pay money for that. You know if you close your eyes you can almost hear the opening lines....

/cue dream sequence

Biden: It is an honor to be here today to address the international community. My brothers and sisters of the world. As I look out among the rainbow of human beings I am humbly reminded how diverse my own country is. I mean I look around and see the guy from my local 7-11, Mr. Chin you look just like the guy who does my laundry, and the President of El Salvador looks just like the guy who cuts my lawn. I feel like I know all of you intimately. I would like to bring you all for tea at my secret Vice Presidential bunker. Its actually located right below Grant's Tomb, In fact, they say you can get there by....what? My time is up already? Well shit...

Lem said...

What is it? Gaddafi or Khadafy.

Its like Prince with the names.

Steven said...

I was once giving a presentation in Italy, with someone doing simultaneous interpretation. I had a cold, and without thinking I started out by saying something like "I'm afraid my voice is a little weak, because I have a cold, as you can probably tell." I immediately realized that they weren't listening to my voice, so I added, "or maybe you can tell from the interpreter's voice." I have no idea what the interpreter did with these comments. For all I know, she was like Honey in the old Doonesbury strips when she was Duke's translator. ("He has told a joke, and will be expecting you to laugh...")

Hoosier Daddy said...

What is it? Gaddafi or Khadafy

And I want to know if he was ever promoted past colonel too. I mean all of our veteran Presidents were generals. Talk about an underachiever.

And what's with the tent anyway? For Mohhamed's sake its not a camp out. There is a perfectly good house there and he's pitching a tent. Probably shitting in the bushes too.

miller said...

loved Hoosier's speech

Rialby said...

Hoosier - loved it. The only thing I would add is some usage of the following phrases:

"I told the President 6 months ago that he needed to..."

"I've been saying for years that..."


"I've know forever that this needed to be done but ... didn't listen"

ricpic said...

Gaddafi was so pissed off by his translator's outburst that he skipped lovemaking with his favorite camel in his tent last night.

madawaskan said...


Thanks for finding this.

I'm telling you-given the fact that you were on perco-it's probably a godsend you had the sound off.

Lem said...

Here is the change of translators around 2:40 into this video.

You can hear somebody in the background having a fit followed by the new translator having a subdued chuckle.

traditionalguy said...

Tribal Kings are a tough breed if they survive this long. You know that lots of their potential successors have not survived. He spoke openly of Obama's chance for survival being slim. Does he understand the Power games better than we do, or does he just remember Ronald Reagan who did not hesitate to use American force on his sorry murdering ass?

madawaskan said...

I thought I heard-three different translators.

Mr. Collapsing Translator,a male who went in right after he folded, and then a female for the wrap up....hmmmm

madawaskan said...

Lem-Oh shoot! this computer that I'm at doesn't have sound-but thanks I'll have to re-find this once I am at another source.

bearbee said...

I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take this anymore

He should join some of the tea party protests.

Shanna said...

I love this story to pieces. I wish it would happen more often.

alan markus said...

You would think by now we would have the technology to make a "Gaddafi Translator", like the baby translator invented by Homer Simpson's half-brother Herb. I loved it when Maggie's line was interpreted as: "I have soiled myself. How embarrassing".

Didn't we have a similar situation with our own President when a teleprompter screen got fed up and went into a suicide dive?

AlgonquinS said...

The best translators for Gaddafi and Ahmajinedad, would be two mimes.

cobaltbob said...

The phrase Quaddafi kept repeating over and over was,

"Let me be perfectly clear."

I can empathize. Brings me to screams and collapse as well.

AlphaLiberal said...

Ha ha. That's funny. Poor translator.

But I do wonder, is Ann Althouse also a Glenn Beck fan, in addition to being a Lush Rimbaugh fan?

Another shining beacon of conservative brilliance.

John said...

I keep thinking of this, and each time I laugh out loud. I've had to explain this to three cube mates, none of whom see the funny as much as I do.

I know they are getting fed up with me, but I can't help it. I've done it twice while writing this.

Roger J. said...

The problem with Khadaffi's name is that it uses several arabic syllables that simply do not translate into English--My understanding that the AP developed an anglicized verson of the name for print puposes.

That tidbit of useless information aside, I thought the Colonel's line about the UN not being able to stop some 65 wars since its inception actually went directly to the impotence of the organization.

PatCA said...

Must have been tense in the tent last night. I recommend he ask for asylum, pronto, and that we grant it.

AJ Lynch said...

You gotta love an honest person!

wv = bumidea = Obama's agenda Heh!

Shanna said...

But I do wonder, is Ann Althouse also a Glenn Beck fan, in addition to being a Lush Rimbaugh fan?

That’s one sad abrupt change of subject, AL. Seriously, can’t you try just a little harder?

Must have been tense in the tent last night. I recommend he ask for asylum, pronto, and that we grant it.

That would be great.

phosphorious said...

Yeah but his clownishness pales before the clownishness of the Clown in Chief, no?

I mean when it comes to clowning that clown can't hols a squeaky nose to the Clown who's in the White House right now. . . or should I say Clown House!

miller said...


You are truly one of the great wits of the internet, if not the universe.

Chip Ahoy said...

A supervisor at the Fed decided her deaf employee could use some how-to-play-well-with-others people skills, which was ridiculous. I knew them both, and the deaf employee possessed greater people-skills than the supervisor could hope to obtain. Nonetheless, Jeff was signed up for a two day seminar which he didn't care to attend, but it did get him out of work. I was asked to interpret, and I must say, two eight hour stints of that was much MUCH more difficult than my regular job.

The thing is, you know what and how whatever you want to say, but you have no idea what and how another person is going to speak. You have to figure out the meaning of what was said and then find words for that idea string in the other language with a whole differnt syntax. Straddling two languages for any length of time can give a person a profound headache.

I will long remember clearly the instructor said,

"… do you know how sometimes you enter new situations with preconceived cognitions, firm and unexamined ideations of your own construction that are based on your personal experience but are too often inappropriately applied to requirements of unknown circumstances, then wonder to yourself later where you might have gone wrong? "

OK, I know what that means. A bit redundant and loquacious but there is a way to clean that up into something similar in sign, but it's not something I would say myself, and it's going to take a moment to figure out how to convey that visually. A blank expression fell over my face as I processed. All eyes in the class fell on me in that moment. The class exploded in laughter. Jeff asked what was going on. The instructor raced across the room, grabbed me in a bear hug and kissed me, right as I landed on the solution, but I got no credit at all for finding the interpretation and at that point it no longer mattered.

[Incidentally, the house newsletter was always on the lookout for employee-related stories. They asked me what happened and then wrote up the story. This got a strong reaction. People sent me notes. Jeff too. One woman said she wept reading the article.]

In this Gaddafi case, I'm fairly certain that was a UN interpreter, and separate from any threat from Gaddafi for making him appear bad. A personal Gaddafi interpreter would be already familiar with his tendency to rage and ramble and have less problem skipping around, whereas an interpreter looking for logic but hearing only disjointed sentences would be quickly frustrated. I'm fairly certain Gaddafi made more sense than his interpreters conveyed, although probably not by much. In sign, at least, I see shoddy interpreting all the time.

Maxine Weiss said...

I'm not going to name names but....if you are going to create a fake Buddy List, try not to make it look obvious.

You know, fake 'friends' on Facebook, whereby they all seem to look like Pam Anderson, with profiles mysteriously blocked from view....

Kind of a dead give-away. At least I'm creative and toss in a few dumpy people, amidst the fabricated hotties that I've collected.

Alex said...

Barack Hussein Obama
He makes nice with dictators
mmm mmm mmm
Muammar Gaddafi
He praises our Messiah
mmm mmm mmm
Barack Hussein Obama
mmm mmm mmm

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

To pick up on what chip says.

If you are interpreting a sermon for example and there is a bible quote you have to try not to interpret the quote but recall the quote from the bible as written in the language you are speaking. (got that wrong b4)

It helps to know the material.

wv - troping - a translator in trouble.

Lem said...

You are also encouraged if you can to mimic the speaker's style of speech.

One of my sisters (the best translator I've ever seen) says that mimic seems to help her.

She's better the closer she mimics the speaker.

David said...

Does anyone know where to find a full text translation?

Chip Ahoy said...

I realize the article says Gaddafi brought his own personal interpreters but that's the part I'm having trouble believing. Personal interpreters are chosen precisely because they're great personally. And the article says a UN official then took over. It was a woman who took over and she stumbled over the Palestinian portion too. The whole report is fumbled. In my view, a personal interpreter would have understood what Gaddafi meant and made all that at least appear logical.

madawaskan said...

Weird-this guy heard three translators-too.

Good lord... Qaddafi now questioning the official record on the Kennedy assassination.


Qaddafi apparently wore out the translator. Got a new voice in my earpiece.


"Perhaps tomorrow we will have a fish flu."


Rejects two-state solution. Calls for democratic state. Era of Sharon and Arafat is over.


Says Arabs will give Jews protection. "Look at what everyone else did to the Jews. Hitler is an exmaple. You are the ones who hate the Jews, not us."


We're on our third translator.


The end.

Michael McNeil said...

As a monoglot, I've always envied the ability to do simultaneous interpretation (not translation, that refers to the written word, not spoken).

Merriam-Webster's dictionary: “translator … 2 a: to turn into one's own or another language”

Nothing about only referring to written speech that I can see.

Ibid.: “interpreter … 1: one that interprets: as a: one who translates orally for parties conversing in different languages”

This wasn't a conversation, this was a speech: one-way communication only (maybe zero-way, given Kaddafy's content).

Joe said...

It would have been funnier if the translator had suddenly kept saying "blah, blah, blah, blah..."

(This is pretty much how you translate anything from a Russian politician who are masters of saying in a thousand words what could be said in ten.)