Skip to comments.“I Really Want You To Do My Vice-America President.” (Ambassador Doofus Huntsman)
Posted on 11/01/2011 9:16:18 AM PDT by PghBaldy
When asked on the Colbert Report to speak Chinese, Huntsman spoke one sentence and then translated his words as I just said you ought to consider being my running mate for vice president. The studio audience roared in approval. Yet in reality, Huntsmans mangled Chinese would translate as: I really want you to do my vice-America president.
In this brief and simple sentence, Huntsman managed to (incorrectly) insert the word America in the middle of the Chinese word for vice president (fu-zong-tong); made a less-than-ideal choice of verbs; and combined my and American vice president in a way that implies (in Chinese) that Huntsman possesses his own personal vice president of the United States.
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Can you imagine the Chinese laughing at this dufus? And us? I hope he brings his Chinese experience up at the next debate.
Huntsman’s extent of the Chinese language might only be: “No ticky, no laundry”.
Here ya go, "John" Huntsman!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I thought Bill Clinton held that position. ;)
That reminds me of the time Jimmy Carter visited Poland back in 1977.
Carter was speaking through a $150-a-day freelance translator. The guy’s mistakes started early on and never let up.
When Carter opened with “I left the United States this morning,” it got translated to, “I left the United States, never to return.”
When Carter said, “I have come to learn your opinions and understand your desires for the future,” it was translated into, “I desire the Poles sexually.”
Which led to this joke:
Question: How many Jimmy Carters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Answer: Two. One to leave it forever, and one to desire it sexually.
Once upon a time I answered a foreign language question with (in that language): “It is cold inside the librarian.”
After all these years, I -still- remember that correction!
“I lovee you long time, Joe!”
Reminds of the old National Lampoon True Facts story on Pepsi or Coke (foget which) having a slogan translated into Chinese that came out “bite the wax tadpole.”
Tsai lai eeping pidjio.
Hilarious memories. Thanks.
After reading things at Engrish.com, I really don't think the Chinese have much room to point fingers and laugh.
I speak Mandarin (by result of study, not a native speaker) and have been to China. I have zero love for Huntsman, but in all fairness his Chinese is generally excellent for a gringo. He speaks much better than Americans who think they can speak Spanish actually do.
Chinese word order is flat out alien to people raised on any other language, and it’s very easy to flub it if you haven’t spoken in a while. It’s a totally different mindset you need to be in.
For all the myriad things to lambaste Huntsman over, this is the absolute least relevant. At least he can speak *English* without a teleprompter, unlike the current stuttering cluster@#$% of a miserable failure we have in office.
I learned my lesson many years ago when working in Chile. It was a scorching day and, in my self-taught broken Spanish, I told a particularly pretty young woman that I was very hot (”muy caliente”). The correct usage is actually “I have much heat” (”yo tengo mucho calor”). Luckily she had a great sense of humor.
And yes, after all these years, I still remember that correction, too! Almost like it happened yesterday.
I would often be frustrated because I would have to use the words I knew in order to express myself and sometimes that meant putting them together in a form that native speakers would not use. Most often, my friends and coworkers would then give me a more appropriate term or phrase which after a few occurances I would incorporate into my speech. I would imagine most Chinese people living in China (unlike the writer) who see a dorky white guy speaking mangled Chinese are probably quite happy for his effort. I give Huntsman 0 chance to win and I am no fan of his, but this story is just a hit piece. Maybe Geoffrey is just sad that his parents gave him an Anglicized first name.. whatever.
I say give Huntsman (who I would never vote for in the primary) a break. This kind of thing can happen to anyone trying to speak a foreign language.
I sometimes have to speak to workers in Spanish when it’s clear they don’t understand English. I often wonder if I made a blunder like this one.
Huntsman wants Colbert to do Biden?
Wonder what he was mis-speaking to the Chinese while acting as US Ambassador.
Well, at least he didn’t mispronounce “nuclear”. A guy could never get elected president doing that. /s