Humans have a very natural way of communicating with one another, which is one of the major reasons that we’ve become such a successful species.

What happens when communication becomes limited to the point that the meaning behind the spoken word and text becomes far different from what is actually intended? These misinterpreted or mistranslated texts are easily found on signs, the internet, etc. Usually, the findings are comical, however sometimes it can lead to almost destroying a person’s life.

One example of this was caused by misinterpretations of a translator during the trial of Than Soe. According to the Associated Press, Soe is being charged with first and third degree rape as well as first degree sexual abuse after a November 2013 assault. Due to the inadequate translation, the case was declared a mistrial, postponing justice for the assaulted until at least September.

Another example of misinterpretation was at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. According to World News, a sign interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, made several errors throughout his interpretation at the service. Many are calling him a fraud with his gibberish words, but he blames it on a schizophrenic episode.

His misinterpretations have angered many in the South African community, and Jantjie isn’t likely to be welcomed back into the interpretation field any time soon.

Even though comical misinterpretations seem to be more prevalent, these negative misinterpretations happen just as frequently. Bringing them to light is the best way to help prevent them from happening in the future, creating a more careful and cautious world.




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