Günther Oettinger is Germany’s new European Commissioner and he thinks we should all understand English. He doesn’t seem able to pronounce the English speech someone has written for him, though: video.
While I’m at it, for those who speak German, here is the interpreter for La Toya Jackson at the Semper Opernball (rumour has it that the organizers advertised on a website for someone speaking English who had to live in Saxony).
LATER NOTE: I was asked whether I thought people like Oettinger and Westerwelle ought to have interpreters. On reflection, I think the little I have seen of Westerwelle indicated that he was using his own words (such as they were) and was comprehensible. On the basis of one excerpt, a borderline case but possibly OK. Not all listeners notice language mistakes as long as they can follow the content. Oettinger’s now famous video, however, is incomprehensible in large parts, because the intonation is all wrong – incomprehensible to both native and non-native speakers, I think. It was also embarrassing to see him looking at his text so often. There is another video of him first being presented at the EU, where he speaks much better, and then fields questions in German. I think on the evidence of the incomprehensible speech, he definitely needs an interpreter.
(Via Im Namen des Volkers)