Mistranslation: Turkish president says economic independence detrimental to women

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Mistranslation: Turkish president says economic independence detrimental to women

2016-06-07 08:35 BST
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Al Jazeera’s video broadcasting platform AJ+ mistranslates Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

On 1 June 2016, Al Jazeera’s video broadcasting platform AJ+ released a clip mocking Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his statements on family planning, but mistranslated some of them.

In the video, the subtitles read “In my opinion, the idea that women should have economic independence is the most detrimental thing for them.”

Erdogan, however, did not say that women’s economic independence is detrimental to them. In fact, he said that what is detrimental to women is the understanding that sees life as consisting of nothing but economic independence.

His original words in Turkish were “Bana göre kadına en büyük zararı, hayatı ekonomik özgürlük parantezine mahkûm eden anlayış vermiştir.”

Therefore, the true translation is as follows: “In my opinion, the understanding that confines life to the parentheses of economic independence has caused women the most damage.”

In contrast to the impression the mistranslation makes, President Erdogan, during his speech from which the mistranslated sentence was taken, said (between 4:26-4:30 and 4:47-5:16) “Women and men are each halves of humanity ... I call out from here to both Turkey and the world and say that women expect justice, not favor. Women expect a fair competition, not quotas.”