It’s all in the translation: Clinton’s debate comment sparks controversy

CCTV News

Hillary Rodham Clinton points to a supporter after the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) Hillary Rodham Clinton points to a supporter after the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

During Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, former U.S. Secretary of State and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton defended her commitment to climate change by describing how she and President Barack Obama urged China to enter into an agreement to reduce greenhouse gasses. But her choice of words, that they were “hunting for the Chinese” has led to a humorous Internet stir in the U.S. and a less-humorous one in China.

For context, here’s what Clinton said leading up to and after that phrase:

“When we met in Copenhagen in 2009 and, literally, President Obama and I were hunting for the Chinese, going throughout this huge convention center, because we knew we had to get them to agree to something.”

Guancha.cn, a Chinese news commentary site, used the word “bu lie” (捕猎) to describe “hunting” — but that term only means actual hunting and not the definition of the word that can also mean “searching”. That story caused some Chinese Internet users to take offense and let that offense be known in angry Weibo posts.

One Weibo user “Little Zhao in Thailand” explains the misunderstanding:

“I think she’s saying hunting is chasing. [hunting] gives it a more serious meaning. She just wanted to show her concern on climate change. Here the word should not be directly translated into hunting.”

In the U.S., The Daily Show, a comedy show, pounced on her words immediately:

Here are just some of the Internet images created and shared on the topic so far:

Weirdly-worded statements are not uncommon during live events where candidates must speak without prepared remarks.

Former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romeny once said he had “binders full of women” during a 2012 presidential debate:

“…we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our Cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said: “Can you help us find folks?” And they brought us whole binders full of women. I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my Cabinet, and my senior staff, the University of New York in Albany did a survey of all 50 states, and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America.”