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Historical translation mistakes: Is France a “demanding” country?

il y a 4 ans

In 1830, Paris and Washington had a big dispute regarding compensation and it was all caused by a mistranslated false friend.

A message sent by the French government to the White House read as follows: “The French governments “demande” (asks) … “, which was translated as “The French government demands …”. Annoyed, the American President of the time formally replied that if the French government dared to “demand” anything for the United States, it would nothing at all. Fortunately, the misstranslation was quickly spotted and corrected, which prevented further diplomatic conflict.

The word “demand” in English has a very different meaning!