My wife is a translator. She refused recently a court interpreting job. Interpreting is a tough burn-out kind of way to make a living. Interpreting the deranged munterings of the world’s favourite dictatorTM must be hell on earth…
Colonel Gaddafi’s bizarre rant at the UN was met with yawns and disbelief by delegates.
But it was too much for the eccentric Libyan leader’s translator who is said to have collapsed with exhaustion during the lengthy diatribe.
The beleaguered interpreter cried ‘I just can’t take it any more,’ into a live microphone in Arabic after 75 minutes of Gaddafi’s ramblings.
He was replaced by the UN’s Arabic section chief, Rasha Ajalyaqeen, who translated the final 20 minutes of the speech.
I have also heard it described as a “tirade”. Or we could just stick with plain Olde English and call it, “A load of old bollocks”.
In his rant Gaddafi - who has not visited the UN since he took power in 1969 - read from a yellow folder of handwritten notes and spoke about Israel, the Taliban, swine flu and the US invasion of Grenada.
Grenada? That was 1983!
He also suggested the Security Council be renamed the ‘terror council’ castigating it for failing to stop 65 wars since 1945.
Oddly consistent in an Orwellian sense because of his Libya getting the human rights chair at the UN.
Another Arabic interpreter emphasised [sic] with the translator’s exasperation.
‘He’s not exactly the most lucid speaker.
‘It’s not just that what he’s saying is illogical, but the way he’s saying it is bizarre. However, I think I could have made him sound a lot better.’
UN speakers are supposed to limit themselves to 15 minutes and the chamber was half empty by the time Gaddafi finished.
Half empty? I wouldn’t have even bothered turning-up. You’d hear more sense from a sports commentator of the, “Well, Brian, you can’t win a match without scoring goals” school.
His speech wasn’t as long as Fidel Castro’s in 1960 which went on for four and a half hours.
That must have been a joy to experience. It might even have been longer if the German delegate hadn’t had to be rushed to ER having gnawed his own foot off.
Indian politician VK Krishna Menon also went on in 1957 when he talked for a nearly eight hours on Kashmir.
That killed several diplomats. The more fortunate lingered for some time in rest homes for the emotionally disturbed though one jumped to his death through a second storey window at the chance sight of a shami kebab.
This lot make Vogon poetry seem like the most mellifluous RSC actor reading a sonnet by Shakespeare.
Gadaffi and Dinner-jacket having a debate would be a weapon of mass destruction in and of itself.
Apparently UN interpreters are well paid. They deserve it.