Miss Universe 2017 winner controversy: Twitter users say Iris Mittenaere's answer was mistranslated


The possible mistranslation of Miss France's answer to the final Miss Universe question has spurred controversy on Twitter, where some users are saying Iris Mittenaere — who was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday — was misquoted.

When many people think of Miss Universe, they picture sexy swimsuits and sparkly evening gowns fit for royalty. Yet the pageant also includes a personality interview, a segment that gives viewers a chance to learn more about the contestants as people. In a pageant previously co-owned by Donald Trump and one criticized for sexism, racism and body-shaming, the competition's personality interview matters.

This moment ... thank you @piawurtzbach ❤️ You are an amazing woman ... thank you for everything ❤️

A post shared by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on

Still, as important as it is to remind viewers the contestants are worth more than their looks, the interview segment poses a challenge for pageant producers. After all, the contestants come from all over the world and not all speak fluent English. This language gap requires the use of live interpreters.

See photos from the pageant:

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Miss Universe 2017 kicks off
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Miss Universe 2017 kicks off
Miss France Iris Mittenaere poses after being declared winner in the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena, in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss France Iris Mittenaere poses after being declared winner in the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena, in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss France Iris Mittenaere reacts after being declared winner in the Miss Universe beauty pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena, in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss France Iris Mittenaere waves after being declared winner in the Miss Universe beauty pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena, in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Pia Wurtzbach places the Miss Universe crown on Miss France Iris Mittenaere after the latter was declared winner in the Miss Universe beauty pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena, in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Miss France Iris Mittenaere waves after being declared winner in the Miss Universe beauty pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena, in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Contestants congratulate Miss France Iris Mittenaere after she was declared winner in the Miss Universe beauty pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena, in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidates gestures for a picture during a red carpet inside a SMX convention in metro Manila, Philippines January 29, 2017. In Photo from L-R: Miss Portugal Flavia Brito, Miss Spain Noelia Freire, Miss Uruguay Magdalena Cohendet, Miss South Africa Ntandoyenkosi Kunene, Miss Nigeria Unoaku Anyadike and Miss Paraguay Andrea Melgarejo. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Miss Universe candidate from Siera Leone Hawa Kamara competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Iris Mittenaere (C-back to camera) of France looks back at other candidates after being crowned Miss Universe in the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017. France was crowed Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year's dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iris Mittenaere (C) of France reacts after being crowned Miss Universe in the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017. France was crowed Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year's dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iris Mittenaere (C) of France walks on stage after being crowned Miss Universe in the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017. France was crowed Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year's dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Iris Mittenaere of France walks the stage after being crowned the winner of the 2017 Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017. France was crowed Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year's dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Mariam Habach of Venezuela presents during the national costume and preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Miss Universe candidate from Panama Keity Drennan competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Sweden Ida Ovmar competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Colombia Andrea Tovar competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Puerto Rico Brenda Jimenez competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Dominican Republic Sal Garcia competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from France Iris Mittenaere competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from France Iris Mittenaere competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Guyana Soyini Fraser competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Vietnam Le Hang competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Portugal Flavia Brito competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Dominican Republic Sal Garcia competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Germany Johanna Acs competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidates pose for photographers while onboard a yacht before going to a beach resort in Manila, Philippines January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Philippine Tourism secretary Wanda Teo (5th R) pose with Miss Universe candidates at the presidential palace in Manila, Philippines January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidates parade in their evening gowns during a preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidates pose for photographers while onboard a yacht before going to a beach resort in Manila, Philippines January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Nicaragua Marina Jacoby competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidates parade in their swim suits during a preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidates parade in their evening gowns during a preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Myanmar Htet Htet Htun wears a costume depicting "Burmese Puppetry" as she competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidates listen to an instructor as they take part in a rehearsal for the upcoming beauty pageant on January 30 in Manila, Philippines January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from China Li Zhen Ying competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from Venezuela Mariam Habach competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Miss Universe candidate from U.S. Virgin Islands Carolyn Carter competes during a national costume preliminary competition in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Andrea Tovar of Colombia presents during the national costume and preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Mariam Habach of Venezuela in her long gown during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Mariam Habach of Venezuela in her long gown during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Magdalina Cohendent of Uruguay in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Andrea Tovar of Colombia in her long gown during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Le Hang of Vietnam presents during the national costume and preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Le Hang (R) of Vietnam in her long gown along with other candidates during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
SMX, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/29: Miss Canada smiles to the press at the SMX in Pasay City. Miss Universe candidates walked the red carpet at the SMX in Pasay City a day before the coronation. (Photo by J Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Andrea Tovar of Colombia in her siwmsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Andrea Tovar of Colombia presents during the national costume and preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Marina Jacoby of Nicaragua in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Camila Barraza of kosovo in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Andrea Melgarejo of Paraguay in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Jenny Kim of South Korea in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Darina Kulsitova of Kazakhstan in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Jayathi De Silva of Sri Lanka in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Valeria Piazza of Peru in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Hildur Maria of Iceland in Her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Flavia Brito of Portugal in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Christina Waage of Norway in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Unoaku Anyadike of Nigeria in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Le Hang of Vietnam in her swimsuit during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss Canada shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss China shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss British Virgin Islands shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss Nigeria shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss Uruguay shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss Singapore shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss Philippines shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss Switzerland shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss Sweden shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss Austria shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss Bahamas shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Sal Garcia of Dominican Republic during the national costume presentation in the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. The Miss Universe beauty pageant coronation will take place on January 30. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
MOA ARENA, PASAY, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2017/01/26: Miss USA shows off her national costume at the Arena in Pasay City. Candidates from different countries showed off their national costumes during the Miss Universe pageant preliminary competition at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. (Photo by Joseph Gerard Seguia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestants in their swimsuits during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. The Miss Universe beauty pageant coronation will take place on January 30. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Stefania Bernal of Argentina during the national costume presentation in the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. The Miss Universe beauty pageant coronation will take place on January 30. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Rebecca Rath of Beliz presents during the national costume presentation in the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. The Miss Universe beauty pageant coronation will take place on January 30. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Dajana Dzinic of Austria during the national costume presentation in the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. The Miss Universe beauty pageant coronation will take place on January 30. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestants in their swimsuits during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. The Miss Universe beauty pageant coronation will take place on January 30. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestant Luisa Baptista of Angola during the national costume presentation in the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. The Miss Universe beauty pageant coronation will take place on January 30. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on January 26, 2017 shows Miss Universe contestants in their swimsuits during the preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila. The Miss Universe beauty pageant coronation will take place on January 30. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
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But did Mittenaere's interpreter correctly translate her answers?

What Twitter users are saying

Some Twitter users are complaining Mittenaere's words were not properly interpreted during her final interview question.

Mittenaere was asked to "name something over the course of your life that you failed at and tell us what you learned from that experience."

Here's how her answer was interpreted onstage, according to Angelopedia:

I've failed several times in my life, so I thought that I failed the first time that I went out on a casting, because my name wasn't on the list. The very next day, I found that I was in a new book. So I think that when you fail, you have to be elevated, you have to try again, and keep going. If tonight, I'm not one of the winners, I will still have the great honor of being one of the three finalists, so I think that I have failed before, but I think this is a great first opportunity.

One of Twitter's most notable translation critics was Filipino actress Solenne Heussaff:

Heussaff's brother, Erwan Heussaff, took it one step further, tweeting his own translation of Mittenaere's answer:

Here's what he wrote:

At her first press conference as Miss Universe, Mittenaere defended her interpreter. However, she did clarify that she said medical school, not casting, in her interview answer.

RELATED: Miss Universe pageant winners by country

The challenges of interpretation

Interpretation, while critical to a multilingual world, is an imperfect art. Language is complex, context is crucial and cultures have different ways of capturing certain concepts. In hospitals, a mistranslation can cost a life. The same goes for court interpretation. And if you ever thought robots could eliminate human error, you should know auto-translation software still has miles to go.

Now take all the normal challenges of interpretation and add the pressure of live television. It's easy to see why Miss Universe's live interpreters would get nervous and possibly even make mistakes.

Why contestants' words matter

Technically, the only requirements for Miss Universe involve age and pregnancy. Contestants must be between the ages of 18 and 28. They also cannot be married, pregnant or have given birth to a child.

Still, even if there are no restrictions regarding height or weight, the contestants generally fit certain standards. Otherwise, Miss Japan's complexion or Miss Canada's size would not have been worth noting in mainstream and social media. For the pageant to really be more than a display of female objectification and an exercise in body-shaming, it needs to evidence diversity — not just a diversity of looks, but a diversity of talents and opinions.

Sublime shooting 😍 @hotelraphaelparis #missfrance #picoftheday #hoanghai

A post shared by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on

When Miss Universe contestants speak, viewers owe them the respect of listening — just as they listen to co-host Steve Harvey, who was surprisingly invited back for Sunday's competition despite his previous crowning flub. The woman who wins the crown spends an entire year making public appearances, including countless speaking engagements. Thus, it matters how a non-English-speaking Miss Universe is interpreted for the general public.

After all, a big part of Miss Universe's job involves choosing and advocating for a social cause. Mittenaere, for instance, has chosen to focus on oral hygiene for her awareness campaign. Who knows what the student of dental surgery could do to change public health? Hopefully, accurate interpretation will facilitate that end.

Mic has ongoing Miss Universe coverage. Please follow our main Miss Universe hub here.

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