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Valencia councillor slammed for 'English dubbing' responds: “We still got a €100,000 award”
29 September 2020 @ 13:52

A CITY councillor in Valencia who mimed on video-conference during a Europe-wide presentation whilst an interpreter did the talking has apologised and said this was 'not the most appropriate decision'.

Carlos Galiana, head of innovation in Spain's third-largest metropolis, had been working for months on entering Valencia as a candidate for the title of European Innovation Capital, or iCapital 2020.

Helped by the requirement to wear a mask due to the pandemic, Galiana appeared to be speaking and was gesticulating at the right moments of the script – which it is believed he had written or at least co-authored – but as he does not speak English, the person actually talking was an interpreter on 'playback'.

He had decided the presentation would be given in English as it is more widely-spoken within the European Commission than Spanish, and also gave an impression of Valencia's being a 'global city', able to communicate in several tongues.

Except it was not the Valencia councillor doing the communicating.

Those who recognised him in the TV broadcast of the presentation did a double take when they realised that, although it was Galiana's face, gestures and movements on their screen, the voice - which had a clear British accent - was someone else's.

He was hit by a barrage of criticism on social media – largely from Spanish users, but not so much from native English-speakers.

“I profoundly regret that a one-off action, a decision I took as an individual, is detracting from all the efforts we have spent years making in various departments to place ourselves as a pinnacle of recognisable innovation in Europe,” said Galiana in response.

But he added: “The decision I deliver my presentation via an interpreter was with the sole intention of the message being transmitted as clearly as possible – although, in hindsight, I can see that it was not the most appropriate decision after all.”

“As head of department, my maximum priority has always been that of promoting Valencia as a landmark city in Europe in terms of innovation and entrepreneurial policies.

“For this reason, we've been working hard for months on presenting a serious and thorough project to the European Commision.”

Galiana says he does not believe his being dubbed into English and – deliberately or unwittingly – passing it for his own speech created any disadvantage for Valencia as a candidate.



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