As someone who can read and speak Hebrew, I’ve always found certain translations of the (Hebrew) Bible to be odd. Leaving aside versions that aren’t really in modern English such as the King James Bible, there’s usually something lost. Not the straightforward meaning (“so-and-so went to place X”), but there is a tone, a way the words are used for literary effect that often goes missing (the best English translation I’ve ever read is the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Second Edition; the more recent edition isn’t as good in my opinion).
Recently, the Chinese government has clamped down on foreign news sources (boldface mine):
Marking the first visit since taking office three years ago, Mr. Xi urged editors and reporters to pledge absolute loyalty to the party and closely follow its leadership in “thought, politics, and action.”
“The media run by the party and the government are the propaganda fronts and must have the party as their family name,” Xi told the propaganda workers, according to the AP.
“All the work by the party’s media must reflect the party’s will, safeguard the party’s authority, and safeguard the party’s unity,” Xi said. “They must love the party, protect the party, and closely align themselves with the party leadership in thought, politics and action.”
On the one hand, the meaning is absolutely clear. But to me, this sounds really clunky; it’s definitely not good-sounding propaganda. So is this a translation problem? Are there cultural references that are just going over my Western head? Or is this just really bad propaganda?