Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Speaking good English

(January 17, 2014)

Yesterday, the Syrian opposition was having a big meeting in Istanbul, and afterwards, their spokesman came out to answer press questions:

The BBC Arabic carried this live. It was perfect, because it's a big story, and naturally the spokesman was speaking Arabic. Everything was going well.

Then I guess one of the reporters must have asked for a translation, because the spokesman repeated everything in English. Then it was not so good for the BBC Arabic anymore! First, they continued playing the conference without interference; then finally, the BBC presenter back at the studio cut in, explaining again that this was the press conference for the Syrian opposition meeting. Until a few minutes later when they were able to track down their trusty translator, who was probably summoned in the middle of his coffee break, and he took over from there.

I want to tell you that the spokesman spoke exceedingly good English. Hardly even an accent. You don't hear that often from high-level Arabs fulfilling a public role.

One of the reporters asked something like: if a fair cease-fire is called, will you honor it?

And the spokesman said: yes, we certainly well! It is the government that won't honor the cease-fires. And we have honored cease-fires in the past, for example, we honored the cease-fire when the international monitors were here.

I just wanted to share his quote, so that all of the rest of us can also remember the international monitors!

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