• When translating news lands you in prison
    To suppress freedom of the press, some regimes arrest, prosecute and imprison translators
  • When staying incognito is paramount to staying alive
    Interpreters in war zones must wear masks to avoid being kidnapped, tortured and killed
  • When interpreting for journalists puts you in the cross hairs
    Targeted by state and non-state actors, interpreters face the fallout from controversial stories

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Words that don’t travel well

POSTED ON October 16 th, 2018

Thai-American Joe Gordon (Lerpong Wichaicommart) ran afoul of Thailand’s harsh lèse-majesté laws when, while living in Colorado, he translated and posted excerpts of a biography of the King of Thailand banned by Thai authorities. During a visit to Thailand in May 2011, he was detained and received a five-year prison sentence from a Bangkok criminal court, later reduced to 2.5 years because he pleaded guilty. Gordon was granted a royal pardon in July 2012 after a public outcry and intervention by the U.S. State Department.