Translation in International Relations: How Hidden Agendas Can Affect Translations

Translation plays a crucial role in many areas of international politics and foreign relations. 

According to TRTWorld, the issue was recently highlighted in the US media with claims that President Trump’s interpreter could be asked to divulge what was discussed in private meetings between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

In this case, Trump met with Putin while no other American was allowed to be present for the meeting except for a State Department interpreter. This interpreter is now faced with an ethical dilemma, as he was asked by the president to not share any information about the meetings.  

The issue is based off of the idea that translation is an unbiased practice, and is only intended to transfer a message from one language into another,  producing translations that are equal to the original message. However, translation is often much more complex than this. Often the translated text goes through several stages of process before the final product is created. It is crucial to understand that the text can be influenced at each of these stages.

A professional translation agency should have no hidden agenda, and should therefore be unbiased when translating content. However there are cases in which translation of political or religious texts has been used to  influence public opinion and push certain ideological agendas. In many cases, translation is the only way to access religious texts, foreign news stories, technological information and political speeches. This leaves lots of room for things to be misinterpreted, driving a political or religious agenda in an entirely different direction. 

It is true that in some cases, translators can impose their own personal influence on the translation which stems from their biases, therefore producing a translation that has a different meaning than the original. At TransTrust, we ensure that our expert translators have zero bias when translating documents. This means that you will not have to worry about your message being manipulated to push an agenda that is not intended. We take pride in our ability to offer professional, unbiased services to our clients. 

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