Julian Assange Needs Translator Fluent in 'Australian' For Lawsuit Against Ecuador

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is suing Ecuador, the country that has been protecting him ever since he jumped bail in London on sexual misconduct charges in 2012. Assange claims that Ecuador is violating his rights of asylum by limiting his internet access in the London embassy, but the suit is already off to a bumpy start. According to local media in Australia, Assange can’t understand his English language translator and needs someone fluent in “Australian.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Assange is present for the court proceedings via Skye as he sits in Ecuador’s embassy in London. And Assange, who’s originally from Australia, has reportedly called Ecuador’s translation services from Spanish to English “not good enough.” The judge in Ecuador who’s overseeing the case determined that Assange should be appointed a translator who understands “Australian.”

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Judge Karina Martinez said that it was indispensable that Assange testify, and said the court had erred by appointing a translator who only spoke English, apparently under the impression that Australian dialect is unintelligible to other anglophones.


It’s not immediately clear how long this could delay the case.

Assange is free to leave the embassy in London anytime he likes, but will most likely be arrested by British authorities for skipping on bail. Ecuador has explored a number of different ways to get Assange out of the embassy, including by making him a diplomat to Russia, but nothing has worked. Ecuador cut off Assange’s internet access back in March because it said that the white-haired shit-stirrer was meddling in international affairs. Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, has also called Assange’s presence at the embassy “more than a nuisance.”


The WikiLeaks Twitter account, now run by other people who aren’t named Assange, has been uncharacteristically quiet today and hasn’t mentioned this latest speed bump. WikiLeaks did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

Australian-English, much like American-English, has developed plenty of its own nuances that set it apart from the Queen’s English over the past few centuries. But it’s unclear what exactly might be causing Assange and the translator so much difficulty.


Here’s a good video showing some of the many differences between Australian-English and American-English. Some of the differences are identical to the Queen’s English. For instance, a stroller in American-English is called a pram in Australian-English. But others, like calling a gas station a “servo,” are 100 percent Australian.

My personal favorite? American-English calls a main dish the entrée, which literally means “entrance” in French. Australians call a main dish a “main” and an entrée is the dish before the main dish.


We’re all biased toward whatever we happened to grow up with, but when it comes to entrée, I’m afraid the Australians are definitely right on this one.

[Sydney Morning Herald]