Egyptian TV hosts have unfortunately become infamous for their inability to speak foreign languages in general. From the more than notable “what about your first Oscar?” incident, to the Egyptian host attempting to speak English on national television and screwing up, Egyptian TV hosts really do not handle second languages well.
This week, CBC Extra held an interview with the French Ambassador to Egypt, and the host selected to conduct the interview with this important official did not shy away from following the aforementioned steps, when it came to being unable to speak her guest’s language appropriately. Indeed, the two videos – shown below – reveal the host’s genuine inability to speak or ask questions in the French language.
I know this kind of criticism will be generally attacked for being classist, but this has nothing to do with classism. I genuinely do not understand why someone would volunteer or be selected to conduct an interview – especially with someone who is as important as the French Ambassador to Egypt – when they clearly do not possess the basic linguistic skills required for it. It just looks unprofessional, and it can justifiably be interpreted as an act of disrespect towards the guest.
If CBC Extra – or any other media entity for that matter – does not possess TV hosts who can speak proper French (or English or German or any other foreign language for that matter), then it looks much more professional if there is a translator present to mediate the conversation between the host and the guest.