The normal point man for the President of Indonesia is Dino Patti Djalal, particularly when it comes to foreign affairs and press conferences related to foreign affairs issues. However, unfortunately for the President, Dino is down and out with Dengue Fever. Nevertheless, life goes on and with the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in town a press conference needed to be conducted with or without Dino present.
So, one of Dino's staff members stepped in and seems to have made a bit of an error in translating the President's response to a question regarding Australia's reluctance to lift its travel warning to Indonesia. The US have already lifted theirs and many think that Australia should do the same. Although, Australia is not one of those thinking that whatever the US does is good for Australia.
Well, it seems that the President speaking in Bahasa said something along the lines of, "Indonesia understood the Australian policy and the desire to protect its citizens from threats". The President also added that the security situation in Indonesia had already returned to normal and Australians were welcome to return to Indonesia. He then further added that the conditions in Bali had returned to normal as evidenced in the 37% increase in tourist arrivals during 2007.
Unfortunately for the interpreter this was translated as Indonesia requesting (perhaps demanding) that the travel warning be revoked!
The mistake is not one that is going to be fatal to the Indonesian and Australian relationship going forward. However, when it was pointed out that the translation had been a little different in the English version to that of the Indonesian version then the President felt the need to send in another of his spokespersons, Andi Mallarangeng, to provide a clarification to the earlier statements.
If there is a need for an Interpreter and Translator, then I am more than happy to offer my services for a mutually agreeable fee!