I started my professional career at the University of Rangoon, in Myanmar as an English Instructor. Burmese is the native language of Myanmar, although it is officially referred to as the Myanmar Language. Coming from a nation where vast majority of population are non-English speakers, I consistently had to utilize the form of a ‘Special English,’ limiting my vocabulary as much as possible to selected simple words. In this manner of communicating, it is easier to get by in everyday interaction with the locals, having considered English as the language of educated and not merely of the masses.Throughout the years, Special English has become very popular in teaching the English Language. Although indirect, I had employed this system in teaching English to undergraduate and graduate students of the University of Rangoon. This had become my powerful and effective tool in instructing English and communicating with students who speak the language but are neither fluent nor proficient in it. They had studied English in school, but they still didn’t speak it in daily usage.
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I never thought that exactly 43 years after this employment, I will be able to utilize Special English again in serving people whose native language is not English. My current public service broadcasting work is an International Broadcaster for Voice of America. Not only do I have to deliver news in a slow manner, I also have to write it down in simplified grammar, with a limited vocabulary. I made use of simple sentences containing just one idea, and have expressed these sentences in an active voice. In this manner, I was able to cater to the needs of listeners all throughout the globe and even to fluent English speakers to easily grasp complex news information.
I also have a solid command of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage. I have the ability to write coherent texts that flow well page after page. I have the knowledge of the accepted forms and conventions for the types of documents with which I intend to work.
2. Knowledge of English grammar and sentence structure sufficient to take complex sentences and abstract ideas and put them in clear, simple English without losing original meaning.
I have exhibited sociolinguistic and communicative competence in terms of conveying written and oral information to concerned individuals. Again, I cater to a wide variety of audience coming from different economic and education backgrounds without causing any breakdown in communication.
By communicative competence, I am referring to my knowledge of using the English Language correctly and appropriately to accomplish communication goal. This goal, in broadcasting sense, is to facilitate the easy conveyance of news and information to individuals. Thus, there is a necessity to transform and process raw information gathered from research before they can be transmitted to the general public.
As an International Radio Broadcaster employed in the British Broadcasting Corporation during the late 60’s, I was in charged of reporting news in Burmese Language. This had given me the background in translating English into a native language. My process of translation starts from studying complex sentences and abstract ideas expressed in English, examining, and then meticulously analyzing them. Then I will be breaking ideas down into simple ones, dissecting multifaceted sentences or phrases. Finally, like an assembler, I will have to put the simplified ‘parts’ altogether in such a manner that the general idea will still be the same, although the structure isn’t.
From here on out, it will be easier to translate the simplified information into Burmese. Translation, as how I’m doing it, isn’t just a two-way process. It involves a three-way process of transforming English to Basic English, then from Basic English to Burmese. It requires a thorough comparison of the processed, simplified version with the unprocessed, sizeable information–an analysis of whether the two are consistent with each other in terms of the general idea they present.
By sociolinguistic competence, I am referring to my knowledge of using language appropriately, given the setting, the topic, and the people I will have to communicate with. I also have the strategic competence of recognizing and repairing communication breakdowns. I have a working knowledge of recognizing when I have misunderstood something, or when someone has misunderstood me. This is knowledge is indeed necessary for broadcaster to have.
3. Knowledge of national and international affairs.
I had spent the almost three decades of gap between my present job here in Voice of America and my broadcasting career in BBC performing diplomatic and political functions, as I served as an officer in various embassies and multilateral agencies such as the United Nations.
Started as an Assistant Officer of Monitoring Section Information, and later as a Deputy Assistant Director of Political Division, I worked my way up to an Assistant Director of Political and Protocol Division to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rangoon. I was directly responsible in analyzing operations to evaluate performance of staff in meeting objectives. I also had determined various areas of program improvement and policy changes. It is here where I had my initial training in facilitating the formation of foreign policies.
After this, I was delegated to the Embassy of Burma in India, then later on to the Embassy of Burma in Bangladesh as the Third Secretary and Vice-Consul for Information and the Second Secretary and Consul of Consular and Administration, respectively. I had managed to establish and maintain constructive and cooperative working relationships with other sectors over time.
Then I was assigned to Rome, Italy as a Deputy Chief of Mission to Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. I facilitated the implementation of FAO’s mandate, which is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations, to generally contribute to the growth of the world economy.
Prior to my job here in Voice of America, I worked for the Bureau of Computing Services of the International Monetary Fund as a Site-in-Charge for security.
I obtained my Master’s Degree in International Public Policy at Johns Hopkins University during 1988, and a certification in Principles and Practice of Diplomacy from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra, Australia during 1979.
All these remarkable background that I had contributed to my accumulative knowledge of international as well as domestic affairs and diplomacy that includes my expertise in the branch of economics, law, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies. I have a deeper understanding of a diverse range of issues, from globalization and its impacts on societies, to state sovereignty, and to economic development and human rights.
4. Proven ability to meet news deadlines and handle pressure.
I have been recognized in every position I handled for efficiently managing multiple complex tasks, and for having the ability to work under pressure, both within teams and individually.I have consistently met tight deadlines, owing to my excellent organizational skills and creative problem-solving skills. I have always laid down the things that I have to do on a specific time frame, ensuring that I will be able to meet the time limit.
5. Professional knowledge of broadcast journalism, including news gathering, writing, re-writing, editing and organizing the elements of a news broadcast or feature program, and the techniques of broadcast production.
For Voice of America and BBC, I handled an array of broadcast journalism tasks that include editing news materials to ensure that they fit within available time or space, and selecting materials most applicable to presentation and organizing these into appropriate formats.
I also gathered information and developed perspectives about news subjects through research, interviews, observation, and experience. I have presented news stories, and introduce in-depth videotaped segments or live transmissions from on-the-scene reporters.
I have utilized my logical and reasoning skills in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
I have continuously analyzed and interpreted news and information received from various sources to be able to broadcast the information. I have examined news items of local, national, and international significance to determine topics to address, or to obtain assignments from editorial staff members. I have also coordinated and served as an anchor on news broadcast programs.
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