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May 13, 2012

Ha'aretz, Lost in Translation, XIII

As Ha'aretz today launches its new English-language Web site, publisher Amos Shocken announces:

Haaretz is dedicated to maintaining high journalistic standards in its presentation and interpretation of the riveting and complex reality of modern Israel. Haaretz’s role is vital not only as a trusted provider of information and insight but also as a gatekeeper of the liberal and democratic values on which this country was founded. Now more than ever, Haaretz has an important role to play in ensuring that Israel preserve its proper place among enlightened democracies, in fostering peace and reconciliation in the Middle East and in promoting greater understanding between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. We invite our readers to be our partners in this great endeavor.

In the past few months, Haaretz has laid the groundwork for a significant enhancement of its online content, especially in English. With the introduction of our new, multi-platform digital subscriptions, Haaretz will extend and deepen its world renowned expertise in news gathering and analyses to many new arenas that are of special interest to our English-speaking readers.

But, as we observed earlier today following Ha'aretz's latest corrected "Lost in Translation,"

Ha'aretz can invest in all of the latest high-tech gadgets in the world, and employ some top notch Hebrew reporters, but as long as the English translators have free rein to distort the Hebrew coverage in accordance with their personal agendas, the English readers will be getting neither accurate nor quality content. If Ha'aretz is truly interested in high journalistic standards and accurate news coverage "of special interest to our English-speaking readers" it would put a stop to the "Lost in Translation" epedemic. Correcting errors on a case-by-case basis, after the fact, is simply treating the symptoms, not the underlying problem.

Today, when the ink has barely dried from the last "Lost in Translation" print correction, a new case crops up, underscoring the point. And, to make matters worse, the error is featured on Ha'aretz's newly-minted home page:

Judaism holiest site.jpg

The article itself states:

The result is an almost unbearable experience for worshipers and tourists who congregate at Judaism's holiest site. (Emphasis added.)

Only the Western Wall is not Judaism's holiest site. The Temple Mount is. The BBC, Washington Post and others have all corrected this error in the past.

How exactly is Ha'aretz "promoting greater understanding between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora" by allowing misinformation about Jewish holy sites in Israel to appear on its home page?

Ha'aretz believes that with its new bells and whistles, what it calls "significant enhancement of its online content, especially in English," it is doing its English readers a service. But every time it permits another "Lost in Translation" to slip through, allowing Hebrew readers, but not English readers, to get the correct information, it is doing the most fundamental disservice. Who cares if your Ipad can get Ha'aretz's advanced app if the article can't get the accurate facts?

Here is the (correct) original Hebrew wording, which, once again, Ha'aretz translators mangled:

אין ספק, הכותל המערבי הוא מקום קדוש, אבל רחבת הכותל היא כנראה המקום הבוהק והחם ביותר בירושלים

Meaning (CAMERA's translation):

The Western Wall is undoubtedly a holy site, but the kotel plaza is apparently the brightest and hottest spot in Jerusalem.

Posted by TS at May 13, 2012 06:20 AM


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