Quality of Inuktitut radio spot is unacceptable


There are a couple of public service announcements about alcohol and pregnancy that air on the local radio that I wish to comment on.

Every time I hear these announcements I shake my head and ask “how did this ever make it to air?”

These PSAs are aired in English and Inuktitut. The English ones are fine and convey the message clearly. The Inuktitut ones are pitiful and I feel embarrassed to listen to them.

Anyone who understands Inuktitut and has listened to the radio in Iqaluit recently knows exactly what I am talking about. Everyone knows them as the “piarachara” commercials.

One lady in the PSA speaks very well but the other voice has extremely bad pronunciation and hearing the words is as enjoyable as listening to scratches on a chalkboard.

In Inuktitut we would say “kutaktuk,” which means the pronunciation is deficient or not refined, similar to that of a child who is learning to speak in full sentences, but cannot pronounce words correctly.

Not only is the Inuktitut horrid but the content in the message makes little sense. When you hear the English PSA and then you hear the Inuktitut one it is apparent that it was translated line by line. In doing this the meaning of the message, tone, and even the dry humor is all lost in translation.

The “I’m all ears” joke in the commercial makes no sense in Inuktitut, is not funny and should not be used. Combined with the atrocious Inuktitut it makes for a very poor message. Any public communication in any language should be done by a well-spoken person.

It doesn’t need to be conveyed by someone with a doctoral degree but the Inuktitut-speaking equivalent of Elmer Fudd is just not acceptable. Inuktitut is a beautiful, precise, and articulate language and needs more respect.

I hope that this PSA is pulled soon and replaced with something of a higher quality because I, along with many other people cringe and shut off the radio every time it goes on.

(Name withheld by request)

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