Monday, September 7, 2009

A Voice Heard

There has been much speculation and research on how an abridged translation of Yukio Hatoyama's now controversial VOICE article ended up being syndicated to the Tribune Media Services who distributed it to the Christian Science Monitor, the Huffington Post, and the International Herald Tribune, among others. Because the International Herald Tribune (no relation to Tribune Media Services) does not have its own website, the translation appeared on its parent company's website (not print edition) that just so happened to be the New York Times.

Appearing in the Times was an accident of technology not an editorial choice.

There has also been speculation as to whom in Mr. Hatoyama's office authorized the translation and its distribution. This remains unclear. However, the source of the translation has been discovered. It was reportedly done by a Christian missionary group, Frontier Labourers for Christ.

Maybe that explains a lot.

Later: One of my commentators believes that the translation company FLC was actually, GlobalLink FLC. This makes more sense. I will ask again.

Later Later: My source is now frankly not sure if the translation company was GlobalLink FLC or Freud Co., Ltd. Now, it appears that the Frontier Labourers for Christ are off the hook.


  1. Where has the news about FLfC doing the translation shown up? Does this mean the translation on Hatoyama's website?

  2. What is your source for that?

    I mean, how on earth is Hatoyama or the DPJ connected to a Thai missionary group (enough to commission a J-E translation by Thai nationals)?

  3. Yep, I thought it was goofy too. Do you know of another translation company called FLC?

    But the source will have to be unnamed, other than to say a senior DPJ mover and shaker who I am inclined to believe. It is my assumption that the translation on Hatoyama's website was done by them. I suspect what is on the missionary website is not the whole story.

  4. I do not, but a Google search revealed the following:

    If all you got was "FLC", I would be inclined to think that it was this company, and not a group of Thai missionaries. That's because I know my share of missionaries, and they have better things to do than to hack a translation from one foreign language to another, all for some political party that doesn't represent Christian interests.

    Hey, when I was a kid I thought that the "WWF" provided rasslin' entertainment *and* tried to save the pandas...

  5. What you have found makes more sense than what I was told. Either way, the translation was nothing to be proud of, I am told.

  6. I have it on fairly good authority that it was Terashima, without permission from Hatoyama or the DPJ. I also have it on fairly good authority that Hatoyama and the DPJ have been bending over backwards to ensure American officials in Japan that the article was just campaign rhetoric.

  7. My source is not too sure about your Terashima link. The long knives are out. He is also resistant to what American reporters have uncovered, which is the FT and the Tribune Media Services were strong armed by DPJ folks to get the article out.

    He also turned out to be a bit equivocal on the translation company. it could be the one you mentioned, or it could be this one,

    He also suggested reading:

    And most important, he sees the issue as over. The Obama phone call settled it all, he believes. So you are completely correct that the DPJ has been doing its best to downplay the article and other campaign rhetoric.

    Most important, I apologize for all this confusion.

  8. Thanks for the link to the video news article. If the translation company really did use the voice article they completely stuffed it up. I have the op-ed and the original article side by side on my desk right now. There is no way that they are the same piece. This is not simply a matter of translators making strange vocabulary choices. Entire chunks of text have been inserted where they do not exist in the Japanese.

    Curiouser and curiouser...

    Did the DPJ submit a different article to the translator in the hope of looking like it was prepared to take a strong stance vis-a-vis the U.S.?

    I think it does still matter, perhaps not as a concrete issue in the bilateral issue in the U.S.-Japan relationship, but as an interesting puzzle. Who submitted it does matter in terms of how certain figures within the DPJ may act in government.


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