Calderón's Communication Breakdown

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Vol 46 Issue 21

Work Friend Accidentally Becomes Real Friend

ATLANTA—"It's like everything had shifted," Eric Phipps said. "All of a sudden, I was stopping by his cubicle to ask about his woodworking project, and he was at mine giving me the name of a good chiropractor my sister should try for her back spasms. Then somehow I suddenly had his personal e-mail address."

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI—Three months after a 7.0 earthquake rocked the impoverished island nation of Haiti, 36-year-old Brad Halder visited its demolished capital to see firsthand how his $10 donation to a relief fund was being spent.
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Calderón's Communication Breakdown

When Mexican president Felipe Calderón spoke at the White House last week, the translation his office provided was grammatically incorrect and riddled with errors that sometimes changed his message altogether. Here are a few of the mistakes:

  • He Said: "Increased free trade will lead to greater economic freedom for all."
    Translated As: "The selling of things will be good for everybody who likes to buy things with money."
  • He Said: "I strongly disagree with the recently adopted law in Arizona."
    Translated As: "As a strong, recent man, I disagree with Arizona adoption law."
  • He Said: "Mexico pledges all its efforts to curb narcotics trafficking."
    Translated As: "Mexico will continue to feed America's voracious appetite for drugs, regardless of what our government does."
  • He Said: "If you work with me, I will tell you where the buried gold is."
    Translated As: "Let us work together for the prosperity of our great nations."
  • He Said: "Let us not allow our children to grow up in a world where the U.S. and Mexico are enemies."
    Translated As: "We are at war. Your children will all die."
  • He Said: "Our people risk their lives to come here and work hard in your fields and orchards."
    Translated As: "We come here like crazy people to grab your apples."
  • He Said: "Let's work to craft a legacy inspiring joy and vision."
    Translated As: "Kraftwerk's legacy inspired Joy Division."
  • He Said: "We're taking back Texas, fuckos!"
    Translated As: "Our two nations have never been closer."
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