Thursday, May 12, 2005

Lost in Mistranslation or The Lost Attribution

Simon's World has some observations on the story of "How a News Story, Translated Badly, Caused Trading Panic."

I can understand the financial markets not having fully accounted for the appreciation of the yuan as of the time the story came out and currency markets are more 'last minute' sensitive than other markets. And I'm not so sure it's right to say the market isn't efficient, when it didn't waste any time making corrections based on this information, and, if the story published by People's Daily was true, then I would think market disparaties would have been accounted for and everything would be pretty much back to normal today. That, it seems to me, is efficient.

Simon does put his finger on the key problem -- attribution, or better, the lack of it. We call it linking. Even if the People's Daily story was mistranslated, if they had clearly attributed (re: linked) the story to a China News Service story, it's likely Bloomberg would not have run the story. Bloomberg would have, at least, had the story for comparison before running theirs.

People's Daily expressed regret for "our mistake" of mistranslation. We in the blogosphere know the worse mistake is that they did not link.

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