Translator as imperialist conspirator

From the Lonely Planet Ethiopian Amharic Phrasebook:

“Colonial powers were shameless in their efforts to conquer Ethiopia, even resorting to a tactic of mistranslating state documents.

In 1889, Ethiopia’s Emperor Menelik II signed the Treaty of Wechale with the Italian government. The treaty allowed for an Italian protectorate to be established over Ethiopia. At least, that’s what the Italian version said–the Amharic version mentioned no such thing! Menelik only discovered the deception when Britain and Germany refused invitations to his coronation on the grounds that he was meant to communicate with them ‘via the Italian government’. Menelik stopped the Italian expansion into the country by famously defeating them at the Battle of Adwa (northern Ethiopia) in 1896.”

About Verla

Wordfreak. Retired private investigator and Spanish court interpreter. Erstwhile librarian. Texan by birth, cheesehead by upbringing, latina by soul, in New Mexico by choice. Lover of things purple. Passionate participant in the Librivox audiobook recording project. We record books that are in the public domain in the U.S. The recordings are then placed in the public domain themselves.
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