Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Liberals Translate Grewal Tapes

Amid concerns over the validity of the tapes released, the Liberal Party has released their own translation of the tapes today. Their version is quick to point out the errors in the Conservative translation. For example, on Grewal's web site, one part of the tape reads as follows:

TM - Absolutely, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to preclude that if obviously you have to feel where you are comfortable doing and where your personal stake is and what holds you and your wife, let me make it absolutely clear that we are a welcoming party we will do everything we can, obviously for us continuing to expend our base in BC and in prominent communities in this country is a political priority for us. It is a welcoming mat that has a lot of nice Comfy fur on it. Laughs.

UD - I think what Tim is saying about trust is that most of these things do have our trust and you have to feel comfortable with that and at the end, of course if Chief of Staff say that certain conduct ought to be rewarded in due time that trust is kept 99.9% of the times. Sometimes you can’t do it circumstances will kill you. I told him about my conversation with the PM.

TM - Let me put one more fact that we can keep this one fact in this room. As I understand from my perspective, you know, I have two things I’m going to say One of which is, David Peterson, in terms of Belinda Stronach, David Peterson was the conduit. DP called me on Friday. And obviously we had a conversation to meet him and Belinda on the basis of trust and not surprisingly, if it did not work out then Stronach didn’t wanted to be in a position of being burnt by the discussion and so we did it on the basis of trust. Between us it didn’t happen but it was on the basis of trust. Ujjal Dosanjh is a crucially important minister in the govt and yet I could not tell him because I had given a promise, until today. Right? So, that I think is lesson about two things. One of which is, we live up to our commitments. Secondly, this conversation no matter what happens, something that happened to us that Saturday. And in fact, no one knew that we were doing it and this is the proof that we can do it. No matter what happens. So I want you to know that and that level of comfort.

However, once the proper translation is administered, taking into account small changes in tone and certain words missed on the Tory transcript, a much more accurate picture emerges:

TM: I'm sorry Gurmant, although I have not spoken to Paul about this, he
has made it clear that no deal is to be offered.

GG: I'm sorry Tim. But I won't take no for an answer.

Hopefully this will help to clear up the confusion and controversy.


  • You are on the money. That pretty much is the summary of the whole thing.

    Project Management Software

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:13 p.m.  

  • funny man :)

    By Blogger KevinG, at 4:23 p.m.  

  • Being a translator myself, I can confirm that capturing every nuance, and thus the whole message, can be very tricky - especially when it involves translation from a non-European language into a Western language such as English.

    Translation is a professional activity, just like law, accounting, medicine, etc., and is best left to accredited and trained professionals (which I am sure the CPC does not have).

    Only too often, documents are translated by "wannabe translators" (people who claim to be bilingual), and the resulting "translation" is anything but a faithful rendition of the original message.

    On CBC's "Au Courant" last week, they talked about a French-language sports magazine that had translated an English article into French (most likely using some machine-translation program - FYI: these programs don't work and never will!). In it, the expression "football fans" was translated into French as "ventilateurs de football" ("ventilateur" is the kind of fan you use to cool yourself on a hot day).

    Every province has an association of certified and professional translators (e.g., ATIA in Alberta or STIBC in British Columbia). I know they have a few licensed Punjabi translators. Let them do a proper and professional translation of the tapes.

    By Anonymous Calgary Observer, at 4:42 p.m.  

  • You're probably correct but I think the Conservatives had a Punjabi Lawyer from BC do the translation. Of course, he might be a "wannabe" translator but lawyers are keen on detail. It's probably one of the reasons - among other legal considerations - the tape took so long to come out. Having said that, don't the most damning details on the tape come out when both Tim Murphy and Ujal are in the room? I presume they were all speaking english at that point so there would be no need for translation.

    By Anonymous Scott, at 5:19 p.m.  

  • I have seen plenty of lawyers dabbling in "translation", and trust me, that's not something they do well.

    Translation requires special training. Just as a translator could not go to court and act as my lawyer, a lawyer cannot translate.

    Paying attention to details is not what translation is all about. You need to have specialized training (usually four years or longer), and you must be perfectly and fully bilingual in both the source and target languages.

    By Anonymous Calgary Observer, at 5:30 p.m.  

  • What I found interesting about the transcripts was how choppy the language seemed. I know it's a spoken conversation but even the English conversations involving Murphy come across looking like they came out of Babelfish. I'd be interested to see who did the transcribing.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:37 p.m.  

  • I don't think there is any question that the translation is lousy. Whether it is tendacious, too, remains to be seen.

    By Blogger buckets, at 8:35 p.m.  

  • As someone who has acted in the past as an interpreter for the Prime Minister from an Asian language to English, I agree that translations are tricky.

    However, I do not think it should have been that difficult to translate Tim Murphy's comments into English.

    ...something about him having spoken in English in the first place.

    Let's face it. The spin doctors are grasping at straws.

    Rather than debating how to translate Tim Murphy's English into English, a better question might be to ask when are we going to see a pool started on when he will resign?

    By Anonymous Brian Smith, at 9:30 p.m.  

  • Calgary Observer....

    I hvae seen plently of errors in professional translate documents that even I can pick out with my limited knowledge of French.

    By Blogger eastern capitalist, at 10:17 p.m.  

  • If we're going to slide past the humour in the original post and discuss the english transcription (in addition to the translation), would it be so difficult to reference the minute-mark in the released tapes?

    After all, the G&M transcription of the original 8-minute segment was pretty poor; much more useful to me was listening to what was said while having the transcription in front of me.

    By Blogger Paul, at 12:10 a.m.  

  • Is not the obvious of value here.. that LPC officials were even entertaining this guy?

    Seems like the best scenario that you can spin out of this is that they were approached by Grewal and considered him but maybe his price was too high.

    That is the best I can give liberals on this. Either way why were LPC people talking to him them especially when they knew the vote was coming up?

    If this is not the case and I'm not convinced by this blog that you have proven your assertion, then the truth can only implicate Liberals more.

    Either way, the government is not innocent in this situation as you want to present it. This kind of transaction while not uncommon in Canadian politics only works when this kind of thing doesn't happen - the taping of the conversation.

    By Blogger Walsh Writes, at 12:19 a.m.  

  • It's a good thing that the Calgary Observer has confirmed the tricky methodology about translation. I think you need to post the joke in Punjabi. May be he can translate it, and may be will get it then.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:11 a.m.  

  • @ "eastern":

    If you found mistakes in translations, then they were not done by professionals.

    Did that person have at least a BA in translation from an accredited school? Was the translation done by a native speaker of the target language?

    These are just two of many questions you have to ask first before hiring a translator.

    By Anonymous Calgary Observer, at 2:29 a.m.  

  • Translation does not necessarily require a degree.

    It requires certain knowledge and a professional ethic about the work. The knowledge includes the nuances of meaning in a language.

    Most of all it takes experience.

    In the Grewal instance, I would suggest that the translation needed to be done by someone without a vested interest in the matter or ebing open to influence.

    I have gone through some of the tapes and compared them to the transcriptions. Even the English to English transcriptions have words and entire phrases in them that are quite obviously NOT on the tape. The omitted words and phrases make it clear, in one instance that there was no offer and none would be contemplated.

    Other huge chunks of intelligible conversation are not transcribed at all.

    Then there are the sections where the thing slips back and forth between Punjabi and English, with even the Punjabi containing a lot of English words.

    At least the thing is being sent to the police who can:

    a. recover as much of the tapes as possible;
    b. employ a professional translator; and,
    c. charge anyone who may have been breaking the law.

    How ironic that Grewal who obviously from the tapes was trying to forestall an ethics investigation on one set of allegations has now stuck his own Iron Neck in the noose.

    By Blogger Ed Hollett, at 7:21 a.m.  

  • The problem with Tim's is that you have to translate "politician" to english. Translators snap under this demand so you have to go through a lot of translator ... that's what took so long!

    By Anonymous pale, at 7:32 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Maritime Liberal, at 8:39 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Maritime Liberal, at 8:39 a.m.  

  • I was wondering where you found the Liberal translation. I have been searching for them but haven't come upon them yet.

    I will post a comment from my blog in which I touched upon the translation:

    "First comes from Stephen Harper's communications director Geoff Norquay who stated that parts of the tapes were translated by a professional company and other parts by Tories. He refused to comment on who did any of the translating and ducked questions about their quality. The fact that only parts were translated by a professional company while others were translated by Tories certainly sends off some alarms in my head"

    By Blogger Maritime Liberal, at 8:40 a.m.  

  • My apologies, I had some trouble with posting, I accidentally triple posted.

    By Blogger Maritime Liberal, at 8:42 a.m.  

  • Ed Hollett: The omitted words and phrases make it clear, in one instance that there was no offer and none would be contemplated.

    Would you care to post for us the time index in the MP3 and the page number in the transcript where this took place?

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 8:52 a.m.  

  • What's wrong with saying "we can't promise you anything, but you know that good deeds will be rewarded". Are you seriously suggesting that this is immoral? It's just stating the obvious - a Tory who abstained on the vote would likely be welcomed into the Liberal Party.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 12:12 p.m.  

  • Awesome post, CG.


    By Blogger daveberta, at 1:17 p.m.  

  • Actually, this translation is also incorrect.

    After carefully listening to the tapes the correct English version is

    I am Liberal. If my lips are moving, I am lying.

    I do this so I can confuse the citizens and the mainstream press (they are so frikkin lazy they just re-publish our press releases for us ) while we steal Canadians money, pay off our friends, get the RCMP to ruin the lives of people who call our bluff - like that BDC guy the Mr. Cretin slammed upside the head (unil he sued back :) )

    This is all so amusing, because we, the Liberal Party of Canada, understand that Canadians are like sheep, ready to be fleeced by our big lie and bigger criminal acts.

    That's what we mean when we say Liberal values are Canadian values. We rock man !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:09 p.m.  

  • that was so clever

    By Blogger daveberta, at 3:30 p.m.  

  • Actually, I speak punjabi and Grewal's translation is a crock. Here's what I heard:

    UD - Mr. Grewal, we think Tories are a threat to the rights and freedoms of Canadians. The big guy said so in the last election. So, the last thing we would do is bring evil Tories into our party.

    GG - But what about Belinda?

    UD - She terrifies me. Thank god we gave her a useless portfolio that serves as a Liberal bank account to pummel Tories.

    GG - What about Scottie from Kings-Hants?

    UD - In cabinet, he's like Linda Blair from the exorcist. Sends chills up my spine.

    GG - So, do we have a deal?

    UD - Most certainly. But I'm not a good negotiator. (I'm also bad with numbers).

    By Blogger harpermaniac, at 3:35 p.m.  

  • Just a question: Its painfully obvious the Liberal party of Canada is embroiled in corruption, possible criminal activity in the Gomery Inquiry, and have been bribing parties for support in the HofC. What would they have to do to lose your support if lying, theft, and criminal activity isnt enough?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:54 p.m.  

  • Anonymous:

    The rumour in Quebec is that the Liberals are going to run Karla Homolka in a West Island riding. They promised her Minister of Justice.

    This should guarantee them a majority.

    By Blogger harpermaniac, at 4:07 p.m.  

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