That French Language

Rather giggle inducing here.

Bernard Kouchner told a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the weekend that the ceasefire agreement was written in French before being translated into English and then Russian. Asked what problems surrounded the buffer zones, Mr Kouchner replied: "The translation, as always."…..One reason for the continuation of the conflict now appears to be a passage in the Russian translation of the agreement that speaks of security "for" South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The English version speaks of security "in" the two areas……

The farce is a huge blow to the French belief that theirs is a lingua franca, spoken and understood the world over.

In fact French has long been replaced by English as the language of diplomacy, and is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the international community.

There\’s a larger point to be made as well. When you sign a dual language contract (as I have, many a time) you always specify that one language is the reference language, the one that the contract is really in. The translation is there as an aid, certainly, but isn\’t the actual contract. That way you don\’t get people arguing over such subtleties of the translation.

For of course there are many concepts which don\’t translate directly from language to language.

This is something which our darling EU doesn\’t really understand. Laws, directives, treaties, are considered to be in all the available languages. There is no reference language, there is no one certain version of a treaty for example. Everything is subject to the vagaries of translation.

Not a good idea as the above shows.

5 thoughts on “That French Language”

  1. “This is something which are darling EU doesn’t really understand”

    Couldn’t that be said about pretty much fucking anything??? Utter useless dribbling cunts.

  2. The classic example of this in recent history is the Dayton Peace Accords that Clinton brokered to end the war in the Balkans. There are three versions, English, French and Serbo-Croat. Each of them deliberately says slightly different things and also deliberately, no version has the final say. Classic fudge.

  3. Also, any agreement should specify the national jurisdiction which underwrites the contract. Otherwise it is just a load of bolleaux, as our French friends would say.

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