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  • A fight for the last word: Japanese interpreters caught in the middle of US presidential debate

A fight for the last word: Japanese interpreters caught in the middle of US presidential debate

Donald Trump and Joe Biden went head-to-head in Cleveland for the first US Presidential Debate. (AFP)
Donald Trump and Joe Biden went head-to-head in Cleveland for the first US Presidential Debate. (AFP)
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01 Oct 2020 04:10:14 GMT9
01 Oct 2020 04:10:14 GMT9
  • Trump and Biden arrived in Cleveland hoping debate would energize their bases of support
  • Exchanges were marked by angry interruptions and bitter accusations

Arab News Japan

Marked by angry interruptions and bitter accusations, the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden erupted in contentious exchanges Tuesday night over the coronavirus pandemic, city violence, job losses and how the Supreme Court will shape the future of the nation’s health care.

In Japan, this debate was more made chaotic by the introduction of three additional translators attempting to successfully translate what was said by Trump, Biden and moderator Chris Wallace.

In what was the most chaotic presidential debate in recent years, somehow fitting for what has been an extraordinarily ugly campaign, the two men frequently talked over each other with Trump interrupting, nearly shouting, so often that Biden eventually snapped at him, “Will you shut up, man?”

Nikkei offered a more decipherable translation of the debate by including Japanese subtitles. 

Networks worldwide struggled to translate the happenings with clarity, with the most notable being Japanese public broadcaster NHK’s coverage of it.

Over and over, Trump tried to control the conversation, interrupting Biden and repeatedly talking over the moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News. The president tried to deflect tough lines of questioning — whether on his taxes or the pandemic — to deliver broadsides against Biden.

*with AP

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