Reporters on the Job

RUGS AND MULTILINGUAL REPORTING: Generally, reporters in South Asia require at least one good translator, says the Monitor's Scott Baldauf. But for today's story at a Khurasan camp in Pakistan (page 7), he needed three. "To interview a Turkoman-speaking carpet weaver from the Kharkand region, I asked my questions in English to my interpreter, Behroz Khan, a Pakistani journalist. Behroz doesn't speak Turkoman, so he asked the question in Pashtun to a Persian translator, who asked the question in Persian to a bilingual carpet weaver named Nazar, who translated the question into Turkoman." Got it? The answer then ricocheted back from Turkoman to Persian to Pashtun to English. It was like a cross-cultural game of telephone, with answers becoming more elaborate with each translation. "Fortunately, the carpet weaver was a man of few words; otherwise, I might still be in that refugee camp," says Scott.

RABID DOGS IN PARIS? The Monitor's Paris-based Peter Ford couldn't substantiate the claims made by an article in China's People's Daily about the French capital being overrun by stray pups (page 1). But a Chinese editor's footnote to the article rang true. It said that Parisian dog owners weren't conscientious about cleaning up the droppings left by their pets. "Every Parisian will confirm that," says Peter. "It was a campaign issue in this month's mayoral election, and it's a public awareness issue," he says. It's also why the Paris sanitation department now employs green motorcycles, known as motocrottes, with vacuum pumps to suction-clean the city streets and sidewalks.


IT'S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME: At $14, it's not cheap. But the first 1,000 copies of Impeachment, a Philippine board game, sold out quickly this week, Reuters reports. The game allows Filipinos to re-enact the impeachment trial of ousted President Joseph Estrada and decide if he is guilty or not. In real life, the trial collapsed before it was concluded. Mr. Estrada is currently being investigated on other charges including economic plunder, which carries the death penalty. He has repeatedly said he is innocent of all charges.

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