HC Deb 11 April 1872 vol 210 cc1087-8

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with reference to the Correspondence respecting the Treaty of Commerce between Great Britain and Prance just presented to Parliament, Whether his notice has been drawn to the many serious mis-translations from the French contained in the volume in question, of which there may be cited as a minor instance the new French Law on the Duties on Merchant Shipping, where certain exemptions granted to vessels in ballast (sur lest) are translated as being accorded to vessels coming from the East (page 155, line 6)? He wished to explain that his reason for asking the Question was, that two years ago the Foreign Office undertook to lay before the House English translations of all the French documents placed upon the Table, and it was of course understood that those translations would be reasonably accurate for the purposes of reference. But in an important document relating to the Navigation Laws there were nine mistakes—["Order, order!"]


said, that the hon. Gentleman was only entitled to state what was absolutely necessary to explain his Question.


said, that 12 important mistakes had been made in the translation of only two despatches. Some of these mistakes were very serious, so as to entirely alter the whole meaning of the passages in which they occurred.


said, he must admit that there had been some inaccuracies in the translation referred to by the hon. Gentleman; but he had caused representations to be made in the proper quarter, and he trusted that no such inaccuracies would occur in future translations.