Trump’s vul­gar in­sult cre­ates trans­la­tion chal­lenge

San Francisco Chronicle - - WORLD - By Tom Odula Tom Odula is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Pres­i­dent Trump’s vul­gar in­sult of Africa was a puz­zle for many for­eign me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions, which didn’t have a ready trans­la­tion of his ep­i­thet for their read­ers or lis­ten­ers.

Their an­swers ranged from “dirty” to, well, dirt­ier.

While meet­ing with sen­a­tors on im­mi­gra­tion, Trump ques­tioned why the U.S. would ac­cept more im­mi­grants from Haiti and “shit­hole coun­tries” in Africa, ac­cord­ing to one par­tic­i­pant and peo­ple briefed on the con­ver­sa­tion.

His com­ments Thurs­day re­vived racism ac­cu­sa­tions, roiled im­mi­gra­tion talks and set off in­ter­na­tional out­rage that left some for­eign jour­nal­ists won­der­ing how to ex­press the of­fend­ing word.

“We have dozens of lan­guage ser­vices at the BBC, which today are all dis­cussing the right way to trans­late into their own lan­guage the word ‘shit­hole’ for their mil­lions of lis­ten­ers,” tweeted Paul Dana­har, the editor of the BBC’s North Amer­ica bureau.

Ja­pan’s Ky­odo News wire ser­vice chose “ku­sottare,” which means “drip­ping with ex­cre­ment.” The coun­try’s no-non­sense na­tional broad­caster NHK set­tled for “filthy,” while the Asahi Shimbun news­pa­per de­cided that a word mean­ing “out­door toi­lets” con­veyed the gist of Trump’s term.

In Africa, the con­ti­nent that was the ob­ject of Trump’s in­sult, Tan­za­nia’s Mwananchi news­pa­per trans­lated his com­ment as “mataifa chafu” — sim­ply, “dirty coun­tries.”

Taifa Leo, a sis­ter Swahili pub­li­ca­tion to Kenya’s lead­ing Daily Na­tion, chose “nchi za

kinyesi,” a more or less di­rect trans­la­tion that has a gen­tler word for ex­cre­ment.

There is a more di­rect trans­la­tion for Trump’s term in Swahili, editor Gil­bert Mo­gire said. But, he ex­plained, that would be “un­print­able.”

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