Translation Guy Blog
Remember Secretary Clinton’s gag gift to the Russians? The reset button mistranslated into “overcharge?” Well, some newshound pressed “reset” on the internet news cycle, so now the story is back, and just at the gets to the best part of every “Translation Gone Bad” story, the part when the editor gets thrown under the bus.
State wasn’t involved, according to Ben Smith at Politico http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20404.html. The whole idea was done by Secretary Clinton’s personal staff under the leadership of Phillippe Reines, a trusted, long-time advisor. At the beginning of the week, fingers were pointed at a guy named “McFaul.,” which is a great name for a fall guy, but despite that, they couldn’t make it stick.
“The day of the event.” people involved said, “Reines showed the finished product to officials who spoke Russian, but who weren’t native, or up-to-date enough to catch the error in a word out of computer terminology.”
One of those was the senior director for Russia at the National Security Council, Michael McFaul, a well-known Russia scholar. Three people familiar with the incident said that, in its aftermath, Reines sought to place public blame on McFaul, a former Stanford professor.
Pressed Monday on the button incident, Reines denied that he’d ever blamed McFaul, and sent over a joking statement taking responsibility for the gaffe.
“Ultimotely [sic], this was my soul [sic] risponsibility [sic], nobody else’s in or out of the building. While the Russians laughed off the error and accepted the gift in the spirit of cooperation that it was meant, I’ve been sic [sic] about the mistake since, especially that I let down the Secretary and the fine professionals at the State Department,” he e-mailed.
Pretty funny, huh? How do you say “Doh!” in Russian? I’m getting these buttons made…