Lost in (unnecessary) BBC translation

Here is a paragraph from a story titled “‘No notification’ of Saudi Arabia snub – UN chief Ban” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page on October 18th 2013. Note the position of the quotation marks. 

BBC SA UN story

“As well as accusing the council of “double-standards” and demanding reform, the Saudi foreign ministry pointed to its failure “to find a solution to the Palestinian cause for 65 years”, which had led to “numerous wars that have threatened world peace“.” [emphasis added]

Here is the relevant part of the actual statement issued by the Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry as it appears on the official Saudi Press Agency English language website: 

“With the current continuation of the Palestinian cause without a just and lasting solution for 65 years, which resulted in several wars threatened international peace and security is irrefutable evidence and proof of the Security Council’s inability to carry out its duties and assume its responsibilities.”

Here is the relevant part of the statement as it was reported by Asharq al Awsat:

“The continuation of the Palestinian Cause without a just and lasting solution for 65 years, resulting in several wars that threatened international peace and security, is irrefutable evidence and proof of the Security Council’s inability to carry out its duties,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.”

And here it is again, as reported on the Council on Foreign Relations website:

“With the current continuation of the Palestinian cause without a just and lasting solution for 65 years, which resulted in several wars threatened international peace and security is irrefutable evidence and proof of the Security Council’s inability to carry out its duties and assume its responsibilities.” 

[all emphasis added]

The definition of ‘numerous’ is: “Amounting to a large number; many”.

The definition of ‘several’ is: “Being of a number more than two or three but not many“.

As we already know, the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee does not consider it necessary to translate word for word in order to meet audience expectations of due  accuracy, but in this case there was no need at all for translation, paraphrasing – or embellishment – as the Saudi Foreign Ministry had issued a version of its statement in English. 

3 comments on “Lost in (unnecessary) BBC translation

  1. Ludicrous. The very core of the “Palestinian cause’… has been the Arab League’s policy of keeping Palestinian refugees and their descendants, stateless, landless and unable to maintain meaningful employment ANYWHERE within the Arab League member states, which has guaranteed there will be no end to the “Palestinian cause’.

    The remedy, answer, solution is entirely in their own grasp, not that of the UN, Israel, or anyone else.

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