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Key Greek Referendum Debt Document Mistranslated



Here’s one ‘no’ the Greek government should have looked after

Greek voters faced with whether to approve or reject two documents from creditors, in a referendum to be held on July 5, face an additional challenge: the translation from English.

One of the documents, titled “preliminary debt sustainability analysis for Greece,” lays out the views on the subject by European institutions and the International Monetary Fund. They’ve been involved in five months of talks with the Greek government.

There are three scenarios, and the document’s conclusion is that under the first two there are “no sustainability issues” when the country’s financing needs are taken into account. The official translation provided by the Foreign Ministry and sent to reporters on Monday, though, was missing the word “no.” So the Greek text reads that there is a sustainability issue.

In addition, Greek parliament minutes show that a separate draft translation provided to lawmakers before they were asked to approve the referendum also dropped this crucial “no.” Spokespersons from the interior and foreign ministries declined to comment on the error.

Greeks have just five days before a referendum on whether to side with their government and reject more austerity, in a vote that could decide the country’s place in the euro area. As well as needing a crash course in finance to understand the highly technical offer, Greeks would do well to brush up on their English.

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