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Confessions Of An Arabic Interpreter: The Odyssey Of An Arabist 1959-2009

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"Have you ever wondered, what is so special about Arabic that most people believe it to be uniquely difficult? Can foreigners ever master Arabic? What is it like to interpret at No. 10 Downing St.? What is it like to interpret at Buckingham Palace? Could a foreigner ever pass for an Arab? How good was Lawrence of Arabia's Arabic? Where is the best Arabic spoken? How long d "Have you ever wondered, what is so special about Arabic that most people believe it to be uniquely difficult? Can foreigners ever master Arabic? What is it like to interpret at No. 10 Downing St.? What is it like to interpret at Buckingham Palace? Could a foreigner ever pass for an Arab? How good was Lawrence of Arabia's Arabic? Where is the best Arabic spoken? How long does it take to be able to speak Arabic well? Why was interpreting such a big problem in the Lockerbie Trial? This book tells the story of how the writer first came across Arabic in Lancashire in 1941, studied the language at university in 1960 and interpreted for a British minister in 1964; visited every Arab country but Algeria, and interpreted for Mrs. Thatcher in 1983 before ending his career in 2009, interpreting at Downing St. for Gordon Brown"--Publisher's description, p. [4] of dust jacket.


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"Have you ever wondered, what is so special about Arabic that most people believe it to be uniquely difficult? Can foreigners ever master Arabic? What is it like to interpret at No. 10 Downing St.? What is it like to interpret at Buckingham Palace? Could a foreigner ever pass for an Arab? How good was Lawrence of Arabia's Arabic? Where is the best Arabic spoken? How long d "Have you ever wondered, what is so special about Arabic that most people believe it to be uniquely difficult? Can foreigners ever master Arabic? What is it like to interpret at No. 10 Downing St.? What is it like to interpret at Buckingham Palace? Could a foreigner ever pass for an Arab? How good was Lawrence of Arabia's Arabic? Where is the best Arabic spoken? How long does it take to be able to speak Arabic well? Why was interpreting such a big problem in the Lockerbie Trial? This book tells the story of how the writer first came across Arabic in Lancashire in 1941, studied the language at university in 1960 and interpreted for a British minister in 1964; visited every Arab country but Algeria, and interpreted for Mrs. Thatcher in 1983 before ending his career in 2009, interpreting at Downing St. for Gordon Brown"--Publisher's description, p. [4] of dust jacket.

34 review for Confessions Of An Arabic Interpreter: The Odyssey Of An Arabist 1959-2009

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adam Balshan

    1.5 stars [Memoir] Of 32 Memoirs I have read, this is the worst one. Writing: 1.5 stars Poorly written. Horrendous comma omission, segues, and linearity. As if he vomited 50 years of diary notes double-lined upon legal pad, and then added narrative syntax. Use: 1.5 stars Specialized usage. McLoughlin cunningly places a "Frequently Asked Questions" as the very first element of the book, on pp.8-9, before the Introduction. He gives short answers to several questions dealing with the Arabic language and 1.5 stars [Memoir] Of 32 Memoirs I have read, this is the worst one. Writing: 1.5 stars Poorly written. Horrendous comma omission, segues, and linearity. As if he vomited 50 years of diary notes double-lined upon legal pad, and then added narrative syntax. Use: 1.5 stars Specialized usage. McLoughlin cunningly places a "Frequently Asked Questions" as the very first element of the book, on pp.8-9, before the Introduction. He gives short answers to several questions dealing with the Arabic language and Arabic interpreting. They constitute almost his entire coverage of actual commentary upon Arabic or the teaching of it, a topic which a peruser of the book title might expect to be the main content of the book. Sure, he talks about his school, MECAS, in every fourth paragaph, and how he was a Principal Instructor, and how he interpreted for this person or that person. But anecdotes about actual Arabic numbered perhaps half a dozen tidbits in 267 pages. Truth: 1 star Since linguistic material was so scant, it cannot even factor into the truth rating. If he had expounded upon it, I imagine that would have moderated this rating. Instead, McLoughlin regales the reader with unnuanced, seemingly unexamined tripe about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Early in the book, he called a terrorist assassin an "activist." He also called Israel's response to the unification of Arab command over massing Arab forces of 1967 a "pretext." Even if one agreed with every word McLoughlin said about it, that reader would gain no real data (save one numbered UN resolution taken out of context), or knowledge of a single viewpoint from the other side of the issue. Plot: 2 stars Basically, this is an auto-hagiography. "Me, me, me, me, me." A 'name-drop-a-palooza.' Droll self-promotion, staggering even for a memoir. It is as if he were gunning for some sort of Lifetime Achievement Award, and figured he'd do the promotion himself. The plot might have been interesting if McLoughlin had expanded on his reminiscences. Rarely is more than one sentence related on any particular detail. For five whole pages (as he covered Princess Diana's funeral, the First Gulf War, and the founding of Al Jazeera), he began writing like a competent author. Five pages. Takeaway This book is only worth a read if someone is planning a long-term career in a Middle Eastern diplomatic quarter.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Skander

    Didn't really finish it, very dull- which is a pity considering the subject matter. Just a short of British gentleman's ramblings about his life. Didn't really finish it, very dull- which is a pity considering the subject matter. Just a short of British gentleman's ramblings about his life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Belal

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sean Galland

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marla Griffith

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lulu

  7. 4 out of 5

    Luisa نور

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adrianna Jaworska

  9. 4 out of 5

    Onood Al Qassimi

  10. 4 out of 5

    Khawla Abdullah

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marieke

  12. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carla Mirza

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ghaliya

  15. 4 out of 5

    Najla

  16. 5 out of 5

    Einas

  17. 5 out of 5

    Muhammad Aula

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rafa

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Gillies

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eryr

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shaikha Al-jassasi

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tia

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aladdin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Layla

  25. 5 out of 5

    Viqar

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Al Mulla

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jess

  30. 5 out of 5

    S Brown

  31. 5 out of 5

    Shahin

  32. 5 out of 5

    Tiago Cunha

  33. 5 out of 5

    Tyloria

  34. 4 out of 5

    安娜

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