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June 30, 2016

After Mother of Terrorist Says Son "Hero" and "Martyr," NY Times Mistranslates to Hide Her Words (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Following communication with CAMERA staff, the New York Times has corrected its subtitles. They now accurately show the woman using the word "hero" to describe terrorists like her son, and no longer claim she called the killing a "crime."

A New York Times video segment entitled "Reactions to West Bank Stabbing" includes an interview with the mother of a Palestinian terrorist who murdered a 13-year-old girl today. But a series of mistranslations downplayed the mother's words, which showed her proud support for her son's deed.

A twitter user named Akiva Cohen flagged one error, noting that although the audio clearly captured the mother calling her son a shahid, or "martyr," the subtitle showed her saying only "son."

The mistranslation was quickly corrected.

But other mistranslations, which also soften the mother's extreme rhetoric, remain. Where the mother says that of course anyone who would commit such an act is a "hero," the subtitle shows her saying the word "bold" instead of hero.

nyt mistranslate hero vs bold.jpg

Likewise, the subtitle translates her referring to the murder as a "crime," though she does not actually use that word.

nyt mistranslate crime.jpg

CAMERA has called on the newspaper to correct the remaining mistranslations. It should also figure out who mistranslated the segment in this way, what went wrong, and how to ensure that future translations — even of inflammatory statements by Palestinians — are rendered accurately.

Posted by GI at June 30, 2016 04:29 PM


I can't comprehend how any mother would applaud her son committing such an atrocity. Where are her ethics and morals. Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace. She is NOT a true Muslim.

Posted by: Pat at June 30, 2016 07:35 PM

To be fair to the NY Times, if you were anti Israel like the Times is, you too would be lying to avoid talking how Palestinians love slaughtering Israeli teenagers in their sleep.

Posted by: Barry Rosen at June 30, 2016 08:15 PM

This may be one more example of the translator knowing better than the speaker what their words really meant and to spare the sensibilities of the anti-Israel crowd from dealing with reality. Recall the time "Yahud" was incorrectly translated as "Zionist" rather than "Jew" when their murder was called for by a baying crowd in Gaza. Thus does the media fail in its most important self-imposed responsibility: to inform as accurately as humanly possible.

Posted by: Charlie in NY at July 1, 2016 07:34 AM

The NY Times has long been revered as a bastion for honest and articulate journalism...and a lot of other things, too.

It is extremely disquieting to consider that the Times intentionally mistranslated.

Posted by: Dorothy sklaroff at July 1, 2016 10:03 PM

Sneaking into the bedroom of a 13 year old girl and murdering her as she slept was the act of a coward. She was absolutely no threat to anyone. He murdered an innocent person. He died a coward.

Posted by: Grace at July 2, 2016 01:42 PM

The NY Times is a liberal newspaper which will always take the side of the real murderers which they always slant as the victim. What civilized person would be proud of their son killing a little girl, yes she was a LITTLE GIRL no harm to anyone. They are barbaric and they are made out to do something noble?. Sad that people still pay for the alleged journalism, it's really liberal rhetoric.

Posted by: Tia at July 3, 2016 02:10 PM

Standard operating procedure for NYT.

Posted by: ThatSkepticGuy at July 4, 2016 11:47 AM

"Islam is supposed to be a religion of peace. She is NOT a true Muslim."

It seems as though you've never read the Quran, the Haddith or any history of Islam.

Posted by: ThatSkepticGuy at July 4, 2016 11:53 AM

It is absolutely unacceptable to commit "typos" in translating these matters, and make mother appear more human, show her for what she is, do the "honors" and translate her accurately for the monster she is and for the beast she has raised.

Posted by: Judy Escayo at July 5, 2016 01:59 AM

This shows how the word we choose to use is so important. I cringe every time I read or hear the term Palestenian used to describe Arabs and Muslims who claim to be indignous to Israel. Suha Daoud Tawil Arafat, the Mrs. Yasser Arafat, admitted a couple of years ago on BBC radio, via, that her husband made this 'people' up in the 1960s as a political move against Israel.

Posted by: Yosef ben Avraham at July 8, 2016 08:25 PM

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