Israeli trip may be cancelled
6 November 2007, TEL AVIV - A planned trip by Israeli journalists to the Netherlands is in danger of being cancelled, after questions submitted in advance did not so much get lost in translation as vanish totally and re-emerge as a diplomatic incident, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
6 November 2007
TEL AVIV - A planned trip by Israeli journalists to the Netherlands is in danger of being cancelled, after questions submitted in advance did not so much get lost in translation as vanish totally and re-emerge as a diplomatic incident, the Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
The journalists slated to arrive in Amsterdam next week to attend a seminar on the Dutch education system had been asked to submit questions in advance.
The Netherlands Foreign Ministry had been expecting questions on European involvement in the Middle East, or the Netherlands' commitment to economic sanctions against Iran.
What the ministry was not expecting - but what it received - was an email which began "Hello Bud" and then pointed out that "the mother your visit in Israel is a sleep to the favour or to the bed your mind on the conflict are Israel Palestinian, and on relational Israel Holland."
The email continued with what the Post said were "five nearly incomprehensible questions" complete with more references to "mother".
The Israeli Foreign Ministry, at a loss to understand not only the questions but also the obsession with "mother", contacted the journalist who sent the email and discovered that the "culprit" was an online translation tool.
When the Dutch Consulate requested the questions in advance, the journalist who had arranged the trip was away and another reporter took it upon himself to send in the questions, totally undeterred by the fact the he did not speak workable English.
He put his Hebrew questions through the online translation tool, and copied the results in an email he blithely sent to the Dutch Foreign Ministry.
Which explains why, for example, a question asking "what, in your opinion needs to be done regarding the Iranian threat to Israel" reached the Dutch Foreign Ministry as "what in your opinion needs to do opposite the awful the Iranian of Israel."
The frequent references to mother were explained by the fact that the translation tool had confused the Hebrew word for "if" - "ha'im" with the Hebrew word for "mother," which is "ima".
The Post reported that the Dutch Foreign Ministry is considering cancelling the entire trip and even filing a formal complaint over the incident.
The journalists themselves are said to be too embarrassed to continue with the proposed junket.
[Copyright dpa 2007]
Subject: Dutch news