What the Heck Did He Say?

A few weeks ago, I watched the President welcome the President of China Hu Jintao. For once Obama was fairly brief. He knew he was speaking through an interpreter so he kept his phrases short. That gave the interpreter time to convert his words into Chinese for President Hu.

I watched about two minutes of the welcome speech, because most of it became listening to a Chinese interpreter. I couldn’t help but wonder what  he was saying that took so long? I had so many questions like who did this guy work for? If he was on Hu’s payroll, what bull crap was he feeding his president? If he was on Obama’s payroll, what hidden agenda was being transmitted right before our eyes and ears? Is this a new form of hidden transparency?

How do we know what was going on? Is the Chinese language so complex that it requires ten words or noises to utter a simplistic greeting? I smelled a rat and turned it off.

I know from my own experience that speaking with a Chinaman in English is very difficult. Speaking through an interpreter is probably impossible. Both of these guys are smart cookies. Both are smart enough to know that they can look like they are having an intelligent dialogue without the  other knowing what the hell he is talking about. Neither would want to lose face by admitting they don’t understand. How else did a simple ‘hello’ become a two minute dialogue?

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