LONDON: The BBC has come under fire for mistranslating the words of a Palestinian prisoner following the her exchange as part of a hostage release deal between Isreal and Hamas on Friday.
Respond Crisis Translation stated that the former detainee criticized her Israeli captors in her initial statement, condemning them for their inhumane treatment of prisoners.
“They imprisoned us for a month. As winter came, they cut off the electricity. We almost died from the cold weather,” was translated to English subtitles as “and no one helped us. Only Hamas cared. Those who felt our suffering, I thank them very much.”
The former detainee proceeded to mention, “they (the Israelis) sprayed us with pepper spray and left us to die inside the prison,” but the English subtitles were interpreted as “and we love them very much,” potentially implying that her emotions were aimed at Hamas.
“The shortened video clip we posted included English subtitles, but due to an editing error did not include the full comments themselves. We have since uploaded the original video clip, so that it includes the full comments with corresponding translation, and added a note of clarification,” a BBC spokesperson told Arab News.
The incorrect translation caused uproar online, exacerbated by the fact the BBC has an Arabic language service.
“She never mentioned Hamas or a word like it,” Respond Crisis Translation posted on X.
“This egregious mistranslation is not just a language error; it is a racist fabrication that fans the flames of the war. Mistranslations such as these —intentional or not — are exacerbating the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.”
Social media users also took to Meta and X to slam the BBC for falsifying what was said in the interview, with one Instagram user stating: “This is the BBC literally inciting violence this is horrific,” and many other users stating: “Shame on you @bbc.”
The BBC has temporarily removed the video of the interview due to “an error in the editing process.”
Arab News contacted the BBC for comment.