Just An Opinion Four Eyes See Better Than Two [Archives:2000/18/Focus]

May 1 2000

By: Mohammed Khidher
Foreign TV viewers of Arab satellite channels including Yemen’s Satellite Channel, would watch among other programs, news and reports hour in English mainly to be informed on what is going on in a certain country. This is, of course one of the major objectives of broadcasting in English or in any other foreign language.
The problem lies in the standard of the language used in news, news reports and by the news readers on Arab satellite channels. A viewer would come out of a strong impression of regret and wonder. Most of news readers are lacking the skill of good elocution and pronunciation, let alone the poor quality of translation and editing. One would conclude that news editorial staffers know very little of press translation and editing, especially for television or radio. One of the grave and shameful mistakes of news readers is the inability to differentiate in pronunciation between the letters ‘b’ and ‘p’ when they are voiced one in place or the other. Is this really such an unsurmountable difficulty?
I do not think it a hard task to spot people talented at reading fluent English and good translation. To suppose the contrary is unreal and groundless, especially in countries of the eastern hemisphere of the Arab world. People in these countries are very familiar with the English language owing to many historical factors. They have been in close contacts with the British and Americans, as they are at present. They have strong cultural, economic and political relations with the British and the Americans. Moreover, English is taught as a second language in schools at early stages at the primary and, in some instances, at kindergartens. The problem lies in the mechanism of training and qualification of people for the profession of journalism.
Producing a good quality newscast is a bilateral task. One is the responsibility of the journalist writing and editing the news and the other falls on the newscaster.
News editors in English must, in the first place, have good mastery of English and those working for satellite channels should be well aware of the targeted audience’s ways of thinking to succeed in communicating the ideas behind the program. TV news editors must take into consideration the strategies to write in a style ensuring fluency of reading and in a language as easy as possible to have the meaning grasped by the audience.
As for newscasters, they have to have good mastery of the language and well-trained on fluent reading and rules of intonation and elocution as well as good knowledge of pronunciation rules.
The major task of audio and visual media organizations is that they must be very careful in selecting nominees for both editorial and presentation jobs. Candidates must be subject to strict training courses in theory and practice, whether at home or abroad.
The fact is that we have all components of proficiency in this area and others. What we are in lack of is seriousness in utilizing our skills and cultivating them in a manner for producing the best effects we aspire for. My main aim here is to stress that ”Many heads are better than one.”