Hillary Clinton Gets it Wrong

Another translation fiasco and this one reflects poorly on the entire American government body. You would think that the American government would be able to find at least one qualified, English – Russian, professional translator to handle the one-word translation necessary for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make a statement with a bit of humor while visiting the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov. She was after a laugh and a laugh is what she got, but it probably wasn’t quite what she had in mind.

The gift, a red button on a yellow base, was a play on a statement that Joseph R. Biden made calling on the two countries to “press the reset button” on their relationship. Clinton presented the “reset” button to Lavov with these words: “We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” The word printed on the button read “reset” in English. The Russian word was printed below, “peregruzka.” Lavrov’s could only answer with the truth, “You got it wrong.” He went on to explain that the word “peregruzka” actually means overcharged, which gives the red button a whole new meaning.

To read the entire New York Time’s article click here.


6 responses to “Hillary Clinton Gets it Wrong

  1. Oh, hilarious, thanks for sharing — love those stories. We are adding you to our blog roll; just checked out your nice blog, and we like what we see. Thanks for having us on your blog roll. You might also like our other German-language translation mistakes blog: http://www.uebersetzungsfehler.com.

  2. I totally sympathize with Secretary Clinton; I made a similar mistake due to language and cultural barriers with a new neighbor last summer. . .

  3. The Associated Press would like Americans to believe that our representatives have no clue what they are doing. Judging from comments on the various message forums Americans are gullibly buying the simplistic explanation that our State department supposedly doesn’t know how to translate the word “reset” into Russian. Nonsense! The Russian word peregruzka appears at the top of the button, spelled in latin letters. If this was meant to be a literal translation, why would the letters be in Latin? The english translation for this word is “overload” and anyone that knows how to type a few letters into an online translation website can easily figrue that much out. An english word appears below the button and that word is “reset”. These words do very much make sense together: when something is overloaded (like a circuit), you reset it.

    Continued here:

  4. Rebellion,

    In your grasp for some deeper meaning on the reset button thing, you presume too much machiavellian competence on the part of our government.

    I would fire off some snark and imply that your expert recognition of conspiratorial symbolism is a symptom of prolonged exposure to tinfoil sheeting on the scalp, but on the off chance you are employing some kind of dry humor I am missing, I will hold back. I am a Prole after all, and can only boast of a State School education; we never covered political symbolism at my college, even though it was a pretty decent State University in New England.

    So I will defer to you on the deeper meaning behind the reset button, despite the fact that I just do not see it, and deem it hilarious to presume this was anything beyond an inept gaffe by some State Department flunky in protocol. Despite your impressive theory, I still believe this button thing is a screw-up that will probably get pinned on some new administration political appointee who is simply out of his league, a State University-educated University schlep like me!

    But since you so astutely recognize the symbolism in seemingly inept diplomatic acts most naive Americans miss, can you fill us all in on the sinister motive behind the President’s lame gift of 25 classic movies to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown? I am completely perplexed on that one, I must admit. . .

  5. SV, I agree 100% with your post.

    In my recent comment, I was disagreeing with Rebellion’s comment; if you follow his link he posits a theory that the reset button was not a gaffe at all, and that there is a deeper, somewhat sinister meaning behind it.

    Rebellion then chides us all for being too naive to discern it.

    Like you, I believe that the reset button was a simple gaffe, most likely made by some inexperienced flunky newly appointed to State Department protocol. . .

    • Yes yes, now I understand. Initially I did notice that your comment was addressed to Rebellion. Thanks for clarifying. I feel much better now.

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