Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pronunciation Guides

For NGO security officers doing short-term assessments or starting a longer assignment, if you don't speak the language, getting local names of people and places right is always a challenge. While most colleagues and employers understand if you mangle a few words at first, proper pronunciation of names can definitely add to your credibility by showing you've done your homework. If you're going to be working in an area that's getting a fair amount of media coverage, here are a couple of resources to help you get people and place names that are appearing in the news correct the first time around.

VOA Pronunciation Guide – The Voice of America has an online pronunciation guide where you can find the correct pronunciation of people, places and organizations that are making headlines. You can search by name, list or country association. There are even sound files of individual names you can listen to.

AP Pronunciation Guide – As part of its news subscription service, Associated Press provides a guide so broadcasters can accurately pronounce the names of people and places in the news. Unfortunately, AP doesn't freely publish the alphabetic list on the Internet, but if you do a Google search for "AP News Pronunciation Guide" or "associated press" and "pronunciation guide," you'll find unofficial copies floating around. The guide is updated regularly, so try to find a recent version.


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