June 8, 2023

Lost in translation: leaders speaking other languages

Published May 13, 2023, 8:20 p.m. by Liam Bradley

When it comes to politics, language can often be a barrier between leaders and their constituents. This was evident during the 2016 US Presidential Election, when then-candidate Donald Trump made a number of gaffes while speaking in other languages.

One such incident occurred during a rally in France, when Trump mistakenly said that he was "looking forward to meeting with the Pope" instead of "looking forward to meeting the Pope."

Trump has also been known to mix up the order of words in other languages, as he did during a meeting with the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. While speaking in Spanish, Trump said "I love your country's people" before quickly correcting himself and saying "I love the people of your country."

Despite these slip-ups, Trump has continued to try and speak in other languages on the campaign trail and as President. In June of 2017, Trump gave a speech in Warsaw, Poland entirely in Polish. And just last month, Trump made headlines for his use of the Chinese language during a meeting with President Xi Jinping.

While Trump's efforts to speak in other languages may be laudable, his mistakes show that there can be a great deal lost in translation when it comes to politics. This is especially true when it comes to delicate diplomatic situations.

For example, in May of 2017, Trump's use of the word "Islamic" to describe terrorists during a speech in Saudi Arabia caused an uproar among Muslim leaders. Trump had to quickly backtrack and clarify that he was not referring to Islam as a whole when he made the remarks.

This incident highlights the importance of careful word choice when leaders are speaking in other languages. One wrong word can easily cause offense or be misinterpreted.

In an increasingly globalized world, it is becoming more and more important for leaders to be able to communicate effectively in other languages. As we've seen, though, even the best intentions can be lost in translation.

You may also like to read about:


Created in 2013, 2CUTURL has been on the forefront of entertainment and breaking news. Our editorial staff delivers high quality articles, video, documentary and live along with multi-platform content.

© 2CUTURL. All Rights Reserved.