Here’s how Chinese media in the region translated Trump’s ‘shithole countries’ quote
The struggle for accuracy is real.
US President Donald Trump is not someone who takes a lot of care about what he says and how he says it.
You may recall the controversy when he was caught uttering the P-word when he was a presidential nominee back in Oct 2016.
He’s recently making headlines for using crass language again when he referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting on Jan. 11 with Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the Oval Office focusing on immigration.
US media reported that Trump said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
Lost in translation
The remark was picked up by media around the world, but for non-English media, it proved to be a challenge for many to translate the crude term he used.
Here’s how the Chinese media in the region chose to translate “shithole countries”
- China’s state newspaper People’s Daily foreign edition, usedlan guo, or 烂国, which means “countries that suck.”
- Government media Central News Agency used niao bu sheng dan de guo jia, or 鳥不生蛋的國家, meaning “countries where birds don’t lay eggs.”
- United Daily News is the media that has stuck most closely to the English text by using shi keng guo jia or 屎坑國家, which literally means “shitpit countries”.
In Hong Kong:
- Hong Kong Economic Journal came up with gai si de guo jia or 該死的國家, which translates to “countries that deserve death”.
- HK01 went with la ji guo jia or 垃圾國家, meaning “trashy countries”.
- Local broadsheet Lianhe Zaobao opted for xia san lan guo jia or 下三滥国家, meaning “lowlife countries”
- The Bloomberg Chinese version translated it as gui di fang or 鬼地方, meaning “god-forsaken place”.
From the different variations in translation, the struggle for accuracy is clear.
Given Trump’s track record of telling it like it is, one can be quite sure that this will not be the last time non-English media outlets will have to scramble to find the most appropriate way to translate his colourful quotes.
Cover photo from Getty Images.