“Heating” the headlines

An Israeli newspaper recently quoted France’s Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, as saying that Israel might “eat” Iran! It transpired that the word Mr Kouchner, speaking in English, actually used was “hit”. But the letter “h” is often silent in French, and to the ears of at least one listener the sound corresponded phonetically to the word “eat”.

Fortunately, the error was quickly corrected. But there is another worrying aspect to this incident: According to a BBC report, the newspaper stated, when apologising for the misunderstanding, that the transcription had been cleared by the Foreign Minister’s office before it was published.

If you’ve got something important to communicate in writing, remember you can never be too careful. Don’t overlook the importance of proofreading and verification of even the “simplest” details.

Otherwise, you might find yourself having to eat your words.

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