FEMA just fired the California group that translated its indigenous-language paperwork for Alaskan natives because it was gibberish

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) just fired the Berkley, California group responsible for translating aid documents into indigenous languages for native Alaskans because their translations were nonsensical.

As of this writing, it's unknown if President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris were involved in any way with the wording of said gibberish.


When the remnants from Typhoon Merbok hit Alaska with a significant storm surge in September 2022, infrastructure in 35 coastal communities needed federal aid to be repaired, but when the indigenous leaders received copies of the paperwork in their native language, they found it was nonsense:

"Your husband is a polar bear, skinny," read one helpful step.

Another was particularly brutal considering most of the affected communities make their living fishing and lost their means to make an income:

Tomorrow he will go hunting very early, and will (bring) nothing.


Unable to get their "Bering Strait," an investigation was launched.

It appears the words and phrases seem to be lifted wholesale from a 2011 edition of "Yupik Eskimo Texts from the 1940s," which is a record of field notes on Russia's Chukotka Peninsula by Ekaterina Rubtsova and was recently made available on the Alaska Native Language Center.

John DiCandeloro, the language centers archivist said,

"They clearly just grabbed the words from the document and then just put them in some random order and gave something that looked like Yup'ik but made no sense," he said, calling the final product a "word salad."

Accent on Languages, the company that made the errors said that they won't leave FEMA out in the cold and will refund the $5,116 it received for the work.

Typhoons hit Alaska so rarely, I imagine the translators thought no one would ever be the wiser.

Read full article here.

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