BBC doubles down on its creative translation of ‘Yahud’

Recent weeks have seen two cases in which the BBC chose to inaccurately translate the Arabic word ‘Yahud’ (Jews) when it was spoken by Palestinian children. In Lyse Doucet’s programme ‘Children of the Gaza War’ the word was translated as ‘Israelis’ and in Adam Wishart’s ‘The Train that Divides Jerusalem’ as ‘soldiers’.  

Members of the public who complained about the former programme received a template response from BBC Complaints.

template response yahud

A reader who contacted the BBC about the same issue in the second programme received a reply which included the following:

Reply complaint Wishart prog

That BBC Trust decision from 2013 – apparently viewed by the BBC complaints department as a one-size-fits-all precedent – can be found here.

Of course the real issue here – and the reason people have made complaints – is that the BBC’s substitution of ‘Yahud’ with its own choice of different words denies audiences understanding of the incitement and indoctrination to which Palestinian children are subjected. That topic has not been addressed in any of the responses we have seen from the BBC complaints department.  

Related Articles:

BBC Trust ESC rules: no requirement to translate accurately

The history – and the BBC Trust decision – behind Lyse Doucet’s mistranslation of ‘yahud’

BBC does know how to translate ‘Yahud’ – when it is said in the UK

BBC’s Panorama Jerusalem train programme takes viewers on a predictable journey

6 comments on “BBC doubles down on its creative translation of ‘Yahud’

  1. A correct translation does not service the BBC’s anti-Israel agenda. Correctly translating “Yahud” would undermine the depiction of Palestinians as the suffering innocent victims of this conflict.

  2. It does not as Michael says, ‘service’ their agenda, and it also introduces the patronising BBC knows best arrogance that implies that ‘they didn’t mean to say that’, which we know is untrue.

  3. Shouldn’t the BBC be interested in why it is that they need to substitute a very different word at all? Perhaps next time, to avoid confusion, the reporter can follow up with a simple query, such as “when you say ‘yahud’ who exactly do you mean?” Not that this would ever happen, but I doubt Israeli Arabs would be included in the answer.

  4. So in the BBC-world it’s fine to translate “Jew” as “Israeli” so as to hide Palestinian racism.
    But the rest of us have to be oh so careful not to say “Muslim” when something bad happens. Instead we have to say “Islamist”.
    Imagine translating “Islamist atrocity” (plenty of them around) as “Muslim atrocity”. The Beeb would probably fire you.

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