First Published: 2017-09-20

Iran TV translator mocked for watering down Trump speech
Nima Chitsaz said he had decided in heat of the moment to spare Persian-speaking viewers from verbal attacks by US president Donald Trump.
Middle East Online

Trump's statements on Iran were undiplomatic even by his own standards.

TEHRAN - An Iranian television translator defended himself Wednesday after being widely criticised for soft-balling US President Donald Trump's attacks on Iran in his maiden speech to the UN General Assembly.

Nima Chitsaz, a translator for state broadcaster IRIB, said he had decided in the heat of the moment to spare his Persian-speaking viewers from the verbal attacks by the US president.

"I don't think it would be nice for me to speak on national TV against my own country," he later told IRINN television.

As a result, when Trump accused Iran of being a "depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos", Chitsaz's Persian translation was simply: "Iran speaks of destroying Israel."

Trump later told the UN assembly: "Other than the vast military power of the United States... Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most."

Which was translated for Iranian viewers as: "The US Army is a very strong army and the Iranian nation is a very strong nation."

"This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters, and imprison political reformers" was relayed as: "Many incidents happen in Iran which are unacceptable to us."

Chitsaz was slammed on social media, with one reformist politician accusing him of "censoring and distorting" the speech.

Even the semi-official ISNA news agency said it would further erode trust in the Iranian media, and push viewers to use exiled Persian channels instead.

"Are you paid to translate or to translate whenever you see fit?" wrote one of many mocking Twitter users.

"You should have translated Trump's nonsense so that people could better judge this stupid person," argued another.

Chitsaz responded by saying that the English had been left loud enough for people to translate for themselves.

"I think anybody else in my place would not have translated it," he said.

 

Moscow seeks to boost its influence in Kurdistan through oil

Tillerson does not expect Gulf crisis to be resolved soon

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Ancient Turkish town set to vanish forever under floodwaters

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike

Yemen rebel youth minister urges children to join war

Iran's Guards show no intention of curbing activities in Mideast

EU will cut some money for Turkey as ties sour

Iraqi workers return to oil fields retaken from Kurds

Kurdish disarray shows resurgence of Iraq's army

Iranian military chief visits frontline near Syria's Aleppo

Iraq army takes last Kurd-held area of Kirkuk province

Turkey issues arrest warrants for 110 people over Gulen links

Lebanon approves first budget since 2005

Hamas calls US unity comments ‘blatant interference’

OPEC chief pleased with oil market rebalancing

Turkish police detain leading civil society figure

G7, tech giants meet to tackle terror online

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government open to Baghdad talks

Tensions flare among Yemen's rebels

Baghdad court issues arrest warrant for Iraqi Kurd VP

Erdogan, Nigerian counterpart to ramp up cooperation

Russian medics operate on Yemen's Saleh despite embargo

Baghdad condemns oil deal between Russia’s Rosneft, Kurds

Power shifts again in Iraq's multi-ethnic Kirkuk

Syrian general accused of journalist deaths killed in Deir Ezzor

Raqa liberators ready for civilian handover, on to next battle

Revolutionary Guards say Iranian missile program will continue

Erdogan calls on three major mayors to resign

ICC investigating several war crimes in Mali

Erdogan says may shut Iraqi border at any moment

Tunisian couple jailed for 'public indecency' over car kiss

Next round of Syria talks at end October

Gazans hope Palestinian reconciliation ends their woes

PSG's Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe