“Zelensky: We Believe That” Translator’s Notes

Original link: https://sehseh.substack.com/p/866

On September 15, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a speech in Kyiv. (AP)

🔗Official website easy-to-read version: “Zelensky: We Believe That” Translator’s Notes

Editor’s note: After the Ukrainian-Russian war lasted for more than half a year, the Ukrainian army recaptured the strategic town of Izium in Kharkiv Oblast from Russia on September 10. (Donbas) border. Despite the significant progress made by the Ukrainian army, the war is still stalemate, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been on the front line without interruption, continuing to deliver speeches to inspire the people and ask for help. At this moment, translator Wang Yingzhi analyzes how Zelensky, who was an actor, turned his language into a diplomatic weapon and exerted his “soft power” in wartime.

Text / Wang Yingzhi

“Our two capitals are 8,190 kilometers away, but how far is our desire for survival? How far is our hope for peace? On February 24, I did not see any gap.”

──p.161 “Distance Does Not Exist: Speech at the Japanese Diet”

On the eve of the midsummer, taking advantage of a little spare time when I was diagnosed and quarantined, I finished chasing the Ukrainian album “Servant of the People” (Слуга народу). Since then, I have had a lot of admiration for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

I’m not fascinated by the image of wartime heroes in the media, but I’ve found that someone can turn a political idea into a blunt to a little childish video story, facing a difficult situation without being cynical (cynical) or naive (naive). As a communicator and history buff, it is impossible not to be attracted by such sophisticated content.

Therefore, when I received an urgent translation of Zelensky’s lectures in early August, I agreed to do it even though I was busy. After the task is completed, the idea is more certain: whether he likes his character and opinions or not, Zelensky is undoubtedly an outstanding speaker and statesman, and he has a leadership (leadership) that will be the envy of many presidents or presidents.

“Zelensky: We Believe That” is a collection of speeches Zelensky gave to 50 countries or organizations at the beginning of the war. As the president of the invaded country, it means that he “has something to ask for”, but as I read, he has successfully drawn the line between soft and flattering, tragic and tragic, soliciting and begging, maintaining his dignity, It also creates a flesh-and-blood Ukrainian nation for a strange audience.

The five speeches I was in charge of, happened to cover several subjects from close to distant relations with Ukraine: Japan, which has almost nothing to do with it, Israel, which has deep ethnic ties, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), which has been entangled for many years. Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, referred to as “NATO”), is enough to show the degree of the above.

I briefly summarize some of Zelensky’s strengths, and I believe that not only international relations researchers, but also those who are interested in speech, negotiation, writing and team leadership can benefit from it.

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1. Simple and concise, clear rhythm

When listening to a speech, I am most afraid of hearing long sentences. After the sentences with 100% correct grammar are turned into voices, they only have a hypnotic function.

The English version of Zelensky’s speech adopts the simplest sentence structure and phraseology, which can be understood immediately by anyone with a little knowledge of English; in addition, his speech tightly grasps the core purpose, and each paragraph has its climax and appeal; Deepen the impression, occasionally there are ungrammatically repeated sentences, but it effectively regulates the emotional rhythm of the receiver.

2. Full of empathy skills

“Our people are now scattered all over the world, they are looking for safety, they are looking for a way to keep the peace, just as you were looking for.”

–p.150 “You Will Live With This Answer: Addressing the Knesset”

No matter who it is, Zelensky (and his staff?) can quickly find the “softest piece of heart” and connect to what’s going on in Ukraine. In the face of Israel, he played the card of history, cleverly linking the atrocities of the Nazis to the aggression of the Russian army, awakening the intertwined friendship between the two countries.

“Russia has also blocked our waters, our original trade routes. Let the rest of the world and potential aggressors observe how to block shipping to put pressure on free nations.”

──p.163 “Distance Does Not Exist: Speech at the Japanese Diet”

If this is easy (after all, Zelensky was born in a Jewish family), then the mention of Chernobyl in his speech to the Japanese parliament is a powerful medicine, directly poking at the fear of nuclear disasters in Japanese society; he also does not forget the analogy that Japan is The island country also has a “strong enemy”, and the interruption of energy and food will be unimaginable. But he refrained from intimidating words, and only secretly pointed out psychological factors, which could also avoid being taken out of context.

3. Achieving common goals

“You have wonderful families, wonderful children. I see what life means to you, and I want to thank you for helping Ukrainians in this war to find a place to live in Italy.”

──p.159 “The Man Must Be Stopped: Address to the Italian House of Representatives”

The purpose of global speech is to get more aid, but the interests of international affairs are more cruel than the market, why should others help? Zelensky understands that good deeds still require motivation, and that only “common good” can attract “investment.” His speech not only mentioned the practical effects of aid from various countries, but also did not forget to appeal to higher-level values.

Ingeniously, he proposes different values ​​for different regions. For example, for France, he emphasizes freedom and equality; for Italy, he emphasizes passion, family protection, and pride in ancient cities; The same thing is: help Ukraine, and you can realize the values ​​you each value.

4. Regret instead of condemnation, and hope instead of begging

“We’ve proven . , the whole world is waiting, and Ukraine is waiting even more.”

──p.179 “All Possibilities Are on the Table: Speech at NATO Summit”

The last and most difficult part is how not to become “emotional blackmail”. Zelensky is well aware that other countries have no obligation to help Ukraine defend against Russia, but he is likely to resent the reluctance of Europe and NATO, which are also hostile to Russia. But Zelensky controlled his emotions in his speech, replacing condemnation with regret as much as possible, narrating the damage suffered by Ukraine, and finally threw positive expectations instead of pleadings, and also gave the hammer to the reverberation of each speech.

Before the war, Taiwan had shallow friendship with Ukraine and little knowledge of the complex history of its land. After the outbreak of the war, the curiosity of the public was stimulated, and many related books came into being. “Zelensky: We Believe That” is not a narrative non-fiction text, nor is it a historical encyclopedia full of knowledge, but it reflects a deeper history of identity: how Ukrainians think about their own past, and how Think about your relationship with the world.

Most importantly, Zelensky demonstrated how to quickly communicate all this to the world in words. In Taiwan’s various security discourses of “this is from the other”, such speech skills may be the most practical and accessible to all people. Learning diplomatic tools. (Finish)

On September 14, 2022, in the newly reclaimed town of Izium in Ukraine, people line up to receive supplies for people to arrive. (AP)

About the Author| Wang Yingzhi (Master of Arts, Department of International Communication, National Chengchi University, Internet media worker. I believe everyone has their own pursuits.)

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This article is reprinted from: https://sehseh.substack.com/p/866
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