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BBC's Pronunciation Unit tackles Asian names

"There was a special pronunciation unit at the BBC," Gerald Priestland once recalled, "consisting of two Scottish ladies whose job it was not only to maintain a card index of difficult foreign names, but to sit beside the news reader, advising him whether to say controversy or controversy. One of their most difficult tasks came when the Koreans threw up a politician with the unfortunate name of Lee Bum Suk. The ladies, who were not without a sense of humour, suggested Boom Sook, an example I followed many years later when I had to interview a Vietnamese called Captain Phuc."

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