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  • Trump and the Ukrainian Translator

    Posted by David Foster on October 2nd, 2019 (All posts by )

    Margaret Ball suggests that the real issue identified by the Trump-Ukraine transcript is the pain that was imposed on the translator who had to translate Trump’s words…which at least appear to be pretty much stream-of-consciousness…into Ukrainian!  Plentiful vodka, she says, was surely required to recover from the experience.

    It strikes me that a profession is kind of like a language, as is a social milieu.  Many of those who find President Trump offensive, I suspect, find it jarring and inappropriate that he doesn’t speak in the forms that they would normally expect from one in his position, and they find that translating his speech to their accustomed verbal frames of reference to be as difficult and disorienting as the Ukrainian translator likely found Trump’s communication in English to be.

    Not only is Trump’s style of speech off-putting to many, so is his mode of thought.  Most national journalists, academics,  and “public intellectuals” are deductive thinkers, who need to put everything into a framework that they have adopted.  Trump, on the other hand, is largely an inductive, intuitive, and pattern-recognizing thinker.  Years ago, I found The Art of the Deal to be a somewhat frustrating read, despite my strong professional interest in the topic.  I am a more deductive thinker and communicator than Trump…but I have enough of the inductive/intuitive/pattern-recognizing mode to be able to understand and appreciate what Trump is doing.  Most of the journalists, academics, and “public intellectuals” do not.

    Some types of people also find it disconcerting when people attain their positions in any manner other than the conventionally-approved course.  Here’s Andy Kessler, writing in the WSJ a few days ago about his time at Morgan Stanley:

    ““What year were you?” a colleague asked me years ago. “Huh? Year?” I replied. “What year at HBS?” H-B-what? “What year did you graduate from Harvard Business School?” Oh, I get it now. “I didn’t go to HBS,” I told him. “Actually, I don’t have an M.B.A.” After a long pause and scrunched-up face, he asked, “Well, then how the hell did you get a job here?” As I walked away, I murmured under my breath, “Maybe I earned it.””

    This also…the negative feeling about somebody who didn’t get there in the way one is supposed to get there…also plays a role in hostile attitudes toward Trump.

     

     

    17 Responses to “Trump and the Ukrainian Translator”

    1. David Foster Says:

      Related post about Trump’s style at The New Neo:

      https://www.thenewneo.com/2019/10/02/designing-the-perfect-donald-trump/

    2. rcocean Says:

      IMO, Trump has suffered from 2 problems in the way he speaks. First, he obviously is bored with spelling things out, and constantly uses conversation jumps, context, and short cuts, which make sense when when you HEAR him. But when you read a transcript, you’re wondering “What does “he” refer to?” “Who are “They”?” His enemies love this, since they can wrench stuff out of context and treat it as a stand-alone sentence.

      Second, he loves to use sarcasm, irony, and humor. Including deliberate hyperbole. Which his lying enemies love, because they present all this as literal, serious minded statements. The most absurd, and latest, accuses Trump of wanting “moats with alligators” at the Border. How stupid do you have to be, to think Trump was seriously (assuming he even said it) about that? Yet, the press is now doing just that.

    3. rcocean Says:

      The other problem with Trump is his critics. So many today deal in “Fake Outrage”. How many of those sniffy at Trump’s “terrible language” actually, truly care about his language. And how many are just using this, hypocritically as another stick to beat him with?

      For example the same newspapers that “tsk tsk” over his language are now printing 4 letter words in their newspapers as a matter of course. Foul-mouthed “comedians” and celebrities are shocked, shocked beyond belief, at Trump’s vulgar tongue. One example that comes to mind, is the Irish Times actually had a Headline from a story:

      Trump came here and Bleeped on the Carpet”.

      And yet this same newspaper has attacked Trump’s “Crude language”!

    4. Brian Says:

      Trump’s the first major US politician in a long time who’s not just reading off a teleprompter all the time. He’s talking like he’s the big man in the room, among friends, controlling the conversation, and there’s a whole huge backstory to everything that doesn’t have to be said aloud. It really doesn’t translate well to the page. And it’s not how the credentialed “elite” think or communicate. And the fact that he’s risen to the top without following their stupid rules has them gone completely insane with bitterness and rage. THEY followed the rules and this guy gets to be president? Their universe is completely upended.

    5. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Long ago, I read something about President Eisenhower giving a deliberately circuitous speech on some sensitive matter to an international body. When he left the podium, he smiled & said to his aide: “I would like to see them translate that into Russian!”.

      For the typical herd journalist, talking about President Trump’s style is a good diversion from having to talk about substance — such as VP Biden being up to his neck in corrupt dealings. Yeah! Let’s talk about Trump’s disappointing oratorical style instead! If Trump had Churchill’s command of the language, the usual suspects would instead complain about his choice of suits or ties instead. Anything rather than focus on issues!

    6. Mike K Says:

      Trump’s the first major US politician in a long time who’s not just reading off a teleprompter all the time.

      Bingo ! Obama got lost off a teleprompter. It was painful to listen to Bush. Bill Clinton was a good extemp speaker but you knew he was lying.

      My concern is that the GOPe is most of the Congress GOP. They don’t get him and don’t really care about solving the problems we want solved.

      I can see Romney, who I donated more to than any other candidate, voting to impeach on his concept of “Appropriateness.”

      This is WWII without the bullets flying yet.

    7. Gringo Says:

      Gavin Longmuir
      Long ago, I read something about President Eisenhower giving a deliberately circuitous speech on some sensitive matter to an international body.

      Following is the Obfuscating Ike quote that I best remember.Eisenhower held first televised news conference in 1955.

      Don’t worry, Jim; if that question comes up I’ll just confuse them.

      — President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s response to presidential press secretary James C. Hagerty regarding the use of atomic weapons against China during the Formosa Strait crisis in 1955

      When he was President. Ike had the reputation among Democrats of being a bumbler. Apparently that was a reputation he deliberately cultivated.

    8. bob sykes Says:

      Trump is the most gifted public speaker I have heard, and I am old enough to remember Eisenhower. His ability to connect to an audience is extraordinary. Only Clinton comes close in both his natural relaxed speaking style and in his empathy with an audience.

      I remember both John and Robert Kennedy, too. Their public speeches were truly excellent, but they were highly crafted and scripted by gifted speech writers.

      Both M. L. King and Obama were poor public speakers, especially Obama, whose inability to think on his feet forced his handlers to isolate him from people. King’s speeches, even the plagiarized ones (almost all of them), were stilted and cliched, but he was given the affirmative action free ride.

    9. David Foster Says:

      Bob S…but there *wasn’t* any affirmative action when King was building his reputation, quite the contrary.

      Here’s an analysis of his most famous speech:

      http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/speech-analysis-dream-martin-luther-king/

    10. Bruce Hayden Says:

      “Margaret Ball suggests that the real issue identified by the Trump-Ukraine transcript is the pain that was imposed on the translator who had to translate Trump’s words…which at least appear to be pretty much stream-of-consciousness…into Ukrainian! Plentiful vodka, she says, was surely required to recover from the experience.”

      And contrast that with LBJ’s Secret Service agents who routinely had to deal with him sitting on the pot, Crooked Hillary’s who spent much of their time with her being screamed at or berated, or her husband, the President , who had to be protected from her rages, or the female agents assigned to Joe Biden who routinely have to watch him swim nude. Yet, this unelected bureaucrats thinks that she is so special that the guy we did elect President should be kowtowing to her specialness. This is snowflake culture meeting reality. Wake up. If you can’t do your job, then get one that you can do. Otherwise, just shut up and do your job, like the adult you pretend to be would do.

    11. David Foster Says:

      Bruce, your humor detector needs to have its threshold reset.

    12. Mike K Says:

      I am more concerned about the Secret Service as we enter a time of real public craziness. We had a female SS agent proclaim that she “would not take a bullet for Trump.” Given the abuses by agents under Obama, cavorting with prostitutes in Columbia and drunken supervisors running into barriers outside the Whit House. For a while after the election, Trump had his own bodyguard with him but that did not last.

      I fully expect a serious assassination attempt as the Democrats pump up the hysteria over the next year. There has to be at least one more Bernie Bro Hodgkinson out there.

    13. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Mike, I agree 100%. We are getting to the point where the only course that remains for the Left is violence and assassination. Democrat controlled cities already refuse to control violence from ANTIFA and their allies, sometimes actively abetting them. They will try to kill Trump and other outspoken opponents of the Left. The question is what the reaction will be.

      I anticipate it will be far stronger than the Left expects.

      Those free people who can, should leave Leftist controlled areas before November 2020 at the latest.

      Subotai Bahadur

    14. Charles R Harris Says:

      Just the other day I was thinking that foreign policy experts are completely undone when trying to understand Trump and his methods. His ways aren’t in the text and the experts find their knowledge of how things work lacking. One might hope that would broaden the field, but I suspect academics will continue pounding the square, Trumpian peg into round holes. Trump will likely be a one off whether he is successful of not.

    15. Paul Says:

      Mike,Subotai,
      I agree on assassination attempt on Trump. I have to go back to the Dallas/Texas hate for Kennedy or the South for Lincoln to match the rhetoric against Trump. You would think he was cause rather than the symptom of these times. The left has no perspective, not notion of their preparing the ground for Trump, or someone like him. Heck, even the GOP, doesn’t g? “get it”.

      I see a FBI/CIA or Secret Service agent as the self appointed hero, or maybe a Brutus officer holder.Does Trump still have his own private security? I hope so. If Trump goes, the ideological politics goes to war means.

    16. Mike K Says:

      Does Trump still have his own private security? I hope so. If Trump goes, the ideological politics goes to war means.

      Yes, after that secret service agent said she “Would not take a bullet for Trump,” I lost what confidence was left after the Obama years.

      The frolicking with whores and drunken escapades.

    17. Bill Brandt Says:

      Trump is the most gifted public speaker I have heard, and I am old enough to remember Eisenhower. His ability to connect to an audience is extraordinary. Only Clinton comes close in both his natural relaxed speaking style and in his empathy with an audience.

      I remember both John and Robert Kennedy, too. Their public speeches were truly excellent, but they were highly crafted and scripted by gifted speech writers.

      Both M. L. King and Obama were poor public speakers, especially Obama, whose inability to think on his feet forced his handlers to isolate him from people.

      Believe me I am not comparing Trump to Reagan other than their public speaking. Both have a way of really connecting with the audience.

      When he was elected I thought it illustrating how so many came to hear him there was usually overflow – and for Hillary the media had to avoid showing all the empty seats or spaces.

      Obama – as long as he had his teleprompter he was good. But take that that away and he was in trouble. He could not think on his feet.

      Trump can.