BBC Arabic’s mistranslations of an English language BBC article

By CAMERA Arabic.

On June 27th the BBC Arabic website published a translated version of an article by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman that had appeared two days earlier in English and which was previously discussed here. 

The Arabic version included several statements that were poorly and misleadingly translated from English. CAMERA Arabic submitted a complaint to the BBC but over a month later, has still not received a response.

All translations, emphases and in-bracket remarks are by CAMERA Arabic.

Translation error 1:

In the legend of the West Bank map, the labels “West Bank barrier” and “Projected/Under construction” are mistranslated as “حدود الضفة الغربية” and “مستوطنات تحت الإنشاء أو قيد الإنشاء”, i.e. “West Bank borders” and “Projected/Under construction settlements” respectively. The solid and broken red lines on the map refer to the barrier, neither to borders nor to settlements.

Translation error 2:

The section reading “But President Trump’s plan potentially awards American recognition to Israel for all the settlements and the strategically vital Jordan Valley – before any negotiations with the Palestinians” is mistranslated in the past tense and without the word “potentially”: “لكن خطة الرئيس ترامب منحت اعترافا أمريكيا لإسرائيل بجميع المستوطنات ووادي الأردن الحيوي الاستراتيجي “قبل أي مفاوضات مع الفلسطينيين, i.e. “But President Trump’s plan has awarded American recognition to Israel for all the settlements” etc. The Trump plan, being a plan, has so far not “awarded” to Israel anything.

Translation error 3:

The remark concerning the NGO “Navot’s Vineyard”, “named after a Biblical figure murdered for his land”, is mistranslated as “سميت على اسم شخصية إنجيلية قتلت من أجل أرضها”, i.e. “named after a New Testament figure murdered for his land”. In fact, Navot is a figure from the Old Testament (Kings I, 21).


On August 28th the BBC made corrections to the article following a complaint from CAMERA Arabic.

  1. The mistranslated map was removed from the item.
  2. The phrase: “But President Trump’s plan has awarded American recognition to Israel for all the settlements” now reads “But President Trump’s plan may lead to granting American recognition for Israel’s sovereignty over all the settlements”.
  3. The reference to the “New Testament” was amended to “Old Testament”. 

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رصد أخطاء في ترجمة أحد مقالات “بي بي سي” من الإنجليزية إلى العربية لموقع قناة “بي بي سي” العربية



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