An illuminating interview at the L.A. Review of Books. Bérengère Viennot, who writes and translates for Slate France, talks about the challenges in translating Donald Trump. See also her essay, Pour les traducteurs, Trump est un casse-tête inédit et désolant.

A few quotes from the interview:

Trump is not easy to translate, first of all, because, most of the time, when he speaks he seems not to know quite where he’s going. … He seems to hang onto a word in the question, or to a word that pops into his mind, repeating it over and over again. He shapes his thought around it and, sometimes, succeeds in giving part of an answer — often the same answer: namely, that he won the election. Trump seems to go from point A (the question) to point B (himself, most of the time) with no real logic.

… reading Trump in French, which is a very structured and logical language, reveals the poor quality of his language and, consequently, of his thought.

Quite simply, Jean-Marie Le Pen is a good speaker. He is well educated, and he knows how to address a crowd. Trump, on the other hand, gives the impression of repeating whatever he heard or read on the internet the day before. He is not an ideologue; he’s an opportunist.

… on the other hand, one doesn’t need to translate his discourse in order to feel it, do they? Can’t you feel, when you listen to him, that his words are shallow?