Watching Watching America (Updated)
Are you aware of Watching America? It’s a site that provides a wonderful service, publishing translations of articles on the U. S. from newspapers, magazines, and online sources all over the world. They are mostly articles about the U. S. written by foreign authors for a foreign audience and provide an interesting counterpoint to what you might read in our own media.
The editors of Watching America strive neither for favorable nor unfavorable content, attempting instead to portray as accurately as possible how we’re portrayed in the overseas press.
Their above-the-fold front page articles right now are
America Gets Ready to Turn the Bush Page, an article about the American presidential election from France’s Le Figaro. I’ve commented extensively on this article here.
Change and Barack, America’s First Leftist President? from Mexico’s La Jornada, a somewhat swooning article which I think exhibits a lamentable lack of understanding of the American political spectrum.
You might also find this article interesting:
Tomorrow’s America and Us from France’s Le Monde, an article on the prospects for American policy regardless of who is elected in November.
After finding one blooper in one of their translations from German I’ve been checking their translations from the languages with which I’m familiar (mostly German and French) and have found them to be mostly decent, workmanlike translations.
By the way, they’re looking for translators. I’m entertaining the idea of doing an occasional translation for them from Russian, since they don’t seem to have a great deal of coverage of the Russian press. John Burgess, are you listening? They could use your help!
I see that Ed Morrissey has posted a commentary on the La Jornada article.
First of all, I don’t know where you get that headline. The title of the original editorial is “Barack Obama y el cambio”–Barack Obama and Change.
In the actual editorial–missing in the crappy translation–Linares Zapata says that Obama would be “leftist” president “dentro de ese contexto ideolÃ³gico que se define”–meaning, WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF U.S. POLITICAL IDEOLOGY.
It is also wrong to call Linares Zapata’s piece an “article”–on La Jordana’s website it is correctly labeled as “OpiniÃ³n”—meaning, it is an editorial.
Of course anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of contemporary Mexican politics would know this right away.
Linares Zapata is a well-known party activist in the PRD and currently serves as the “Secretary of Economy and Ecology” for the “Legitimate Government of Mexico”–the shadow government set up by Lopez Obrador after he lost the election to Calderon in ’06.
This “Watching America Website” may be useful, but it is pretty limited–particularly since it relies on hackneyed “google translations”. It allows misinformed bloggers like that Morissey character sound like an idiot when he uses an op-ed piece by a socialist politician as example of the “foreign press.”
I do not speak or read Spanish so was unable to verify the translation. I do read French and did a quick check of the linked piece. I thought the translation of that was adequate.
If you don’t like a translation, address your observations to the folks running the web site. I’ve found them very accommodating.