Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Translating can be dangerous

Sometimes translators and interpreters in Geneva and elsewhere too are know to complain about their jobs. It happens, work and life are not always easy.
Then you read this from the Language Log:
Most translators only have to worry about being criticized for errors, but in Afghanistan the mere act of translation can get you twenty years in prison. An appellate court has upheld 20 year prison sentences for Ahmad Ghaws Zalmai, who translated the Qur'an into Dari, one of the two major languages of Afghanistan, and Mushtaq Ahmad, a cleric who endorsed Zalmai's translation. It appears that no errors have been found in Zalmai's translation: the objection of Muslim clerics is that the Dari translation does not appear alongside the original Arabic text. The prosecutor had asked for the death penalty. Although the court did not impose the death penalty, Chief Judge Abdul Salam Azizadah agreed that it might be appropriate.