watching america
February 14, 2005 9:52 PM   Subscribe

watching america reflects global opinion about the United States, helping Americans and non-Americans alike understand what the world thinks of current issues that involve the U.S.. This is done by providing [translated] news and views about the United States published in other countries.
posted by crunchland (10 comments total)
Couldn't find anything on the muslim world's view of America's push for gay marriages.
posted by HTuttle at 12:51 AM on February 15, 2005

(Nice post though, thanks)
posted by HTuttle at 1:07 AM on February 15, 2005

Less glossy, far too well-hidden, but possibly more useful: the weekly 'Foreign Media Reaction' digest from the US Department of State. I find it fascinating, because it's a kind of official metafilter (as 'twere) of the raw stuff linked in 'Watching America', as the current edition proves:
New wine in an old bottle?--  While mostly agreeing that Washington is "obviously...serious about its plan to repair the alliance," editorialists remained cautious and counseled against "euphoria over the future of transatlantic relations."  Many, like the Netherlands' left-of-center Trouw, noted that "one swallow doesn't make a summer" and wanted assurances that Rice's "charm offensive" marked a "real change" in U.S. policies towards greater multilateralism and not merely a rhetorical, "tactical adjustment" by Washington.  Some outlets expressed concern that Rice's "nice words" disguised a still-hawkish, "moralizing" U.S. foreign policy; after the Iraq war, "European suspicion runs deep."
Not the official opinion, but certainly one that comes from people in government who read all those foreign reports.
posted by riviera at 1:42 AM on February 15, 2005

Headline from Japan on Michael Jackson's case:

"Dead Man Moonwalking"

I'm dyin' here ... heheh-he-hee
posted by RavinDave at 3:12 AM on February 15, 2005

That's interesting, but what is the point of having machine-translated texts (that are largely useless) and then edited ones?

Also, the problem with direct translations from foreign sources is that they are presented without context. Opinions about outside events are often shaped by local ones. There's a text by a French columnist that is doing the rounds in the right-wing US blogosphere, with a rather bizarre interpretation attached to it, not because the translation is bad - it's technically correct - but because the subtext and allusions are lost to anyone not familiar with French politics. Good translations are a necessary step towards mutual understanding, but you need some people to explain the fine points.
posted by elgilito at 4:11 AM on February 15, 2005

HTuttle: Couldn't find anything on the muslim world's view of America's push for gay marriages.

I'm sure that it's remarkably similar--probably exactly like--the (compassionate conservative) Republican view in this country, which, you know, is odd, considering that we're supposed to be the country that champions individual rights.

(Nice snark though, thanks!)
posted by John of Michigan at 4:58 AM on February 15, 2005

I believe they provide a link to the machine edited ones, as well as to the original unedited, untranslated texts, so that you can judge for yourself how accurate their interpretation is. And their approach at this point is far from perfect ... I heard about this site on an NPR radio interview, where one of the founders explained that the site was started a little over a month ago, and they only have, at most, a staff of 4. I think, in time, when (if) they amass a loyal following, they might also attract fluent volunteers interested in helping to illuminate the nuance.
posted by crunchland at 5:02 AM on February 15, 2005

It's also fascinating to learn that Castro is preparing for a US invasion, and would rather the US send 50 nukes to obliterate Cuba instead. link
posted by crunchland at 5:10 AM on February 15, 2005

An Arab source I like to read once in a while is the Khaleej Times Online published in the United Arab Emirates, especially the Editorial section.
posted by Doohickie at 5:19 AM on February 15, 2005

Why is the Toronto Sun the only Canadian newspaper? For those who don't know it, it really is just like the British Sun, only the page 3 girl keeps her top on. Bad writing, and primarily local news (fires, occasional mugging) with weak international coverage. They would have been much better off with the Globe and Mail.
posted by jb at 7:57 AM on February 15, 2005

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