Indian Pervez fronts Pakistani’s Pervez’s momentous speech

August 18th, 2008 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 18 (IANS) As Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation to the world Monday, it was another Pervez - an Indian radio producer and playwright - who translated the Pakistan president’s chaste Urdu into English. Pervez Alam, who used to work for All India Radio’s Yuva Vani some three decades ago and has been based in London for some 20 years, was called in at the last moment by BBC producers and asked to rush to its television studios to give a simultaneous Urdu-to-English translation of Musharraf’s momentous speech.

“This was the second time I did Musharraf. You know, just like Saddam Hussein had many frontmen, I seem to have become the preferred frontman for Musharraf,” Alam told IANS.

“The speech was to start at around 8 a.m. (local time) and the producers called me 7.30 and told me to take a taxi. I somehow made it to the studios, grabbing a glass of water as I ran up the stairs,” said Alam, who has worked with the BBC for many years.

Alam, who has also provided simultaneous translation of speeches by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani leaders Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, provided a nonstop translation as BBC broadcast the live speech for its entire duration of over an hour.

“It was hard because Musharraf meandered a lot, moving from his government’s achievements to his resignation and back to achievements. And he always speaks extempore with the help of some notes.

“But it helps to know your subject,” added Alam, whose voice was heard by at least 250 million BBC World viewers and many more radio listeners across the world.

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