If you are familiar with the method of capital punishment for which Saudi Arabia is famous/notorious for, the BBC Somali Service headline Sacuudiga oo gabar lagu daldalay ( A girl hanged in Saudi Arabia) may leave you wondering if lynching is a new, macabre trend in the Middle East country.
The subject of the verb daldal ( to hang) is an impersonal one. If BBC Somali Service had made Saudi Arabia the subject of the headline ( e.g. Sacuudiga oo gabar daldalay), it would be clear to you that the Saudi government ‘hanged’ the Indonesian maid two days ago. The suggested headline is more factual than the original headline until you ask: Does the Saudi State behead or hang some criminals?
BBC Somali Service has quoted Saudi Arabia media as source for the story about “hanging Siti Zaenab Duhri in Medina”. According to the BBC Somali Service another person was “hanged in Al Jouf for trading in drugs.”
The headline of the BBC News story on the beheading of the Indonesia maid reads “Indonesia protests at execution of maid in Saudi Arabia”. “Siti Zainab was beheaded on Tuesday in Medina after being convicted of stabbing and beating to death her employer, Noura al-Morobei, in 1999,” BBC News reported. Was the factual error in the BBC Somali Service headline caused by mistranslation or lack of proofreading or both?