Fine Fixer/Simultaneous Translator and Freelance Journalist and Linguist in Cairo, Tanta, Sharm El Sheikh, Alexandria, Minya, Aswan, Luxor, Port Said and Egypt
Available to Skype-Translate too.
Ahmed Seddik is around now to report and/or translate and/or produce for the media.
Fine Fixer/Simultaneous Translator for Cairo and Egypt
Arabic <> English
There is a highly recommended fixer/translator in Cairo, Egypt
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ahmed Seddik has worked with BBC, CNN, CBS, FT, Time Magazine, France 2…
I have hired Mr Seddik on two occasions – once in Egypt and once in Libya. On both occasions he was working as a translator and fixer for the BBC team. We were working in a high pressured environment, doing very long hours and I was extremely impressed with him. He has excellent English – better than any other translator I have worked with so far in the region.
He is confident in dealing with journalists and communicated with the people we interviewed in a respectful and friendly manner. He has a vast knowledge of politics and current affairs as well as the history of Egypt and the wider Middle East. This was invaluable both for interviews and in general conversation.
He is also particularly good at turning dry facts into fascinating anecdotes and was often able to entertain and educate us with interesting stories about Egypt’s history. He is obviously passionate about the country, its history and culture.
What most impressed me about Mr Seddik however is his energy and enthusiasm, even after working for extremely long hours. Many other translators I have worked with have been irritable after working for very long hours, but Mr Seddik remained alert, cheerful and hardworking no matter how many hours he had done.
He was always punctual, courteous and is good at taking the initiative when needed.
BBC World Service
I am a producer for The CBS Evening News, a national nightly newsprogram in the United States. In early February, Correspondent Terry McCarthy and I were sent to Egypt to cover the events of Tahrir Square, and we hired Ahmed as our interpreter, our guide, and what we in the news business call a “fixer” – that is, someone who can arrange the interviews we need, sort through the facts we want, and generally make our lives easier in a foreign country.
Ahmed was amazing. He helped us navigate through Cairo at a very difficult time with a combination of street smarts, great attitude, and an uncanny command of the English language. Also, there is no higher-pressure environment than television journalism, and we had Ahmed working for us about 20 hours a day for 3 weeks; he never failed to jump at the assignment and he never complained.
In Ahmed we found not only an amazing producer, but a great resource for all things Egypt. His offhand knowledge of Egyptian history, of pharaohs and antiquities, of hieroglyphics and pyramids is astounding. He can quote ancient Egyptian texts from memory. In many ways he was our tour guide and history professor on top of everything else.
Erin Lyall George
The CBS Evening News
COPPER POT PICTURES hired Ahmed Seddik to be our fixer when we traveled to Egypt in June 2012 to film WE MUST GO, our documentary about the Egyptian Football team. Though we had tried to sort out various rights and permissions prior to traveling to Egypt, it wasn’t until Ahmed came on board that we started to see results. From permissions with the various football associations to permits from the Egyptian government to our daily transportation, Ahmed arranged everything. It was unbelievable. He is a motivated and capable fixer who assured that everything was taken care of prior to our arrival. Ahmed paved the way for a smooth shoot; we didn’t have to worry about anything except doing our jobs. He met each new challenge and wrinkle to the shoot with a positive attitude and a willingness to see that our wishes were carried out. His services were invaluable. We have shot documentaries around the world and much of the success (or failure) for our projects depend on the talents of our local fixers: I am pleased to say that Ahmed is the best we’ve worked with and I look forward to a continued partnership on WE MUST GO and future Copper Pot projects shot throughout Egypt and the Middle East. My only hesitation in writing this glowing review is that I want to make sure no one else hires him when we need him!
Producer/Director | COPPER POT PICTURES
I am a correspondent with BBC News, based in London. I worked alongside Mr Seddik for almost 2 weeks earlier this year when I was on assignment in Egypt. During that time I found him to be an outstanding
individual who would be an excellent asset to any organization.
Specifically he has an acute awareness of how the media works, the
demands that the modern media operates under, and the need to handle
such demands with clarity, consistency and integrity. His language
skills, especially his knowledge of English, are absolutely first
class and he has an ability to express himself in a manner that many
native English speakers would find difficult to improve upon. I have
absolutely no hesitation in recommending Ahmed Seddik.
BBC TV’s ‘Newsnight’ programme employed Ahmed Seddik as a translator,
researcher, fixer and guide for two weeks in Cairo in November 2011 and
found him to be a resourceful, highly-informed, hard-working and
invariably good-humoured colleague.
Ahmed has a vast store of knowledge about Egypt and its history, as well
as a valuable network of well-placed contacts in many walks of life. He
is a constantly engaging and informative companion and is able to work
calmly and effectively in highly pressured circumstances.
Ahmed was unfailingly cheerful and cooperative when required to work the
extremely long hours often required by TV crews. He is not only an
excellent interpreter/translator with an astonishingly rich and accurate
knowledge of English, but also a fixer with the imagination and
resourcefulness to contribute his own ideas.
TIME Magazine’s Cairo Bureau has periodically employed Mr. Ahmed Seddik for translating assignments since 2004. He has performed all his tasks with a high degree of expertise and professionalism. Mr. Seddik is also extremely well educated and informed about all aspects of Egyptian life, including politics, culture and society. In every way, he has greatly assisted TIME correspondents in their work.
I wholeheartedly recommend Mr. Seddik’s services, and would be delighted to receive any requests for further elaboration on my recommendation.
TIME Middle East Correspondent(since 1995)
I had the opportunity to work with Ahmed Seddik last summer in Cairo, where I was temporarily based as a correspondent for Time Magazine. Though he clearly was far too qualified for the task, he cheerfully served as my translator for a couple of stories. I found him to be a precise interpreter, providing me with excellent translations of what was said in interviews, often a rarity where the need for speed overrides the desire for colorful, exact phrasing.
He also demonstrated a willingness to work long hours, and at the last minute. If I have the opportunity to return to Cairo, I will be sure to use his translation services once again.
Time Magazine Asia
Siamo stati al Cairo per un weekend lungo, purtroppo durante i disordini di
piazza di novembre, che ci hanno impedito di visitare il museo egizio a Piazza
Tahrir. Ma anche senza il museo, il viaggio è stato straordinario. Meravigliose
le piramidi e il plateau di Giza, bellissima la visita alle moschee e alle
strade del cairo islamico, entrambi posti che abbiamo visitato con la nostra
guida Ahmed Seddik, la cui mail era indicata sulla Lonely Planet e che abbiamo
contattato dall’Italia subito prima di partire. Ahmed ha fatto una grande
differenza: è affidabile, preparato, pieno di entusiasmo, appassionato di
storia, archeologia, letteratura, geroglifici e conosce i luoghi come le sue
tasche. Alle piramidi ci ha fatto vedere tombe delle quali non avremmo mai
capito neanche la presenza, ci ha portato a vedere un panorama strepitoso da un
posto un pò più lontano ma senza turisti, e ci ha pagato addirittura lui il
ritorno con il cammello come “regalo” di benvenuto. Con lui ci siamo
avventurati in posti dove non saremmo andati da soli, abbiamo capito tanto
della storia dell’egitto e delle piramidi e anche dell’orgoglio degli egiziani
di oggi. Insomma, posti meravigliosi, clima perfetto.. speriamo che la
situazione politica si tranquillizzi presto, perchè non vediamo l’ora di
tornarci e di portarci anche i nostri figli!
“You are a student of the finer point of the English language.”
Hugh Sykes, BBC, the World at One
I have the privilege to recommend to you Ahmed Seddik as an excellent guide and efficient informant. I am fortunate both to have known Ahmed as a fellow student at the American University in Cairo and to have seen how he developed his college interests into his current profession. Although he makes guiding and lecturing his profession, Ahmed is a veritable renaissance man due to his passion for learning. He delights in learning various subjects and can claim expertise in many. Ahmed has a talent for drawing diverse connections from his numerous interests into any talk or tour. In addition to his tours, Ahmed makes good use of his talent in his frequent lectures on diverse topics at the Sawy Culture Wheel, a famous cultural center and academic forum in Zamalek, and elsewhere.
In the tours I have attended, Ahmed was lively, engaging, and spontaneous. Both the tour to the City of the Dead and Islamic Cairo were chock‐full of information, partly due to Ahmed’s vast memory for fact and stories. On his tours each monument has a story and every side street is another step back in time. The tours I attended lasted about five hours each, although he has told me they can stretch longer or take less time depending on the audience. When I took the Islamic Cairo tour, we went the full length of the Fatimid city from gate to gate in four hours. His tour of Islamic Cairo is especially nice because it takes place in the wee hours of the morning. The streets of the Khan el‐Khalili are amazingly serene at that time, which makes for a stark contrast with the market’s usual chaos. If you should take the tour make sure to see the inside of the mosque and madrasa of Barquq; Sultan Plum had an eye for beauty. On these tours, Ahmed is always thinking about ways to improve and innovate. For example, while leading us through the streets of Islamic Cairo, Ahmed thanked the street cleaners and pondered organizing them to keep the roads cleaner. Ahmed says he has never given the same tour twice. I believe it.
Ahmed’s style of guiding and touring is not like that found on any other tour. It has more artistry in it than the others. But the faint of heart beware, he is more than half a poet. Emblazoned on his business card is the Arabic palindrome malik kalim, meaning “king of words.” And certifiably, he can claim to rule his words. Ahmed is a possessor of a veritable treasury of terms and an arsenal of anecdotes. Don’t think it tedious if he recites a list of synonyms or lines of poetry. Listen attentively. It is all part of the tour.
PhD. Candidate Egyptology
University of Chicago
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I am very pleased to recommend Mr. Ahmed Seddik of Ahmed Seddik Tours in his pursuit as an expert guide for ancient and medieval sites in Egypt. Not only does he have an outstanding knowledge of Egyptology and ancient Egyptian monuments (including ongoing excavations), he is similarly conversant in Islamic history, as shown in several tours of Islamic Cairo that we have conducted together. This is also clear in his very numerous, well-researched public lectures in Egypt on a wide range of topics within it—literary, historical and linguistic—many of which I have shared in personally. (An Arabist, my 2008 doctoral dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, on fiction set in ancient Egypt by the late Nobel laureate in literature, Naguib Mahfouz, made broad, closely supervised use of Egyptological sources, and I have also extensively studied Islamic history, both at the University of Michigan and U-Penn.) His considerable acumen and insight extend far beyond these fields to also embrace Arabic literature, science and mathematics too. His masterful familiarity with the vast and intricate oeuvre of Ahmad Shawqi, “the Prince of Poets,” is a great achievement in itself, and could only have been attained with his extremely erudite knowledge of Arabic grammar, syntax and vocabulary. Moreover, he is highly trained in English literature, grammar and lexicography, a most rare combination with such a background in Arabic, let alone Egyptology. Indeed, Ahmed is a genuine polymath in the truest sense of the word, and has educated himself far beyond what his formal studies at the American University in Cairo have taught him. As to his character, Ahmed—a natural showman, with a distinct (and very Egyptian) love of attention—is also extremely thoughtful and helpful to others. Our experience together, in which we have shared in delivering lectures (mainly on Mahfouz)—and even co-produced and performed in short plays (e.g., on the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb)—has been an extremely rich and happy one. I’m quite sure that yours, with this uniquely gifted human being, will be as well.
Raymond Stock, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies
“Egyptology runs in his veins” Dr. Zahi Hawass
My aim was to take a break with a cultural and historic character. And having Egyptologist and tour guide Ahmed Seddik as my companion made my adventure unforgettable.
Amira El-Naqeeb, Travel Writer
A former Egyptology student at the American University in Cairo, the indefatigable and eloquent Ahmed Seddik makes even the history of bilharzia seem fun. Frequently booked as a translator/fixer by foreign correspondents, the 31-year-old freelance guide is also popular with expats and Egyptian parents who love his child-friendly tours of the Pyramids by camel. In addition to walking tours in the Egyptian Museum and Islamic Cairo, Seddik also does a tour of political Cairo, revisiting scenes from the revolution in Tahrir Square
Condé Nast Traveler Senior Correspondent
I think many here know Ahmed Seddik. He is a brilliant Egyptologist, an accomplished translator, and a masterfully gifted tour guide who leads tours year-round throughout Egypt in both English and Arabic.
I went with a group to the Ramsees Wisawasef textile museum near Saqqara. Ahmed Seddik gave our group a short lecture on the meaning of “naseej” in Arabic. He spoke of theology, poetry and history. He impressed us with his knowledge of the Arabic poetic tradition. He knew scores of lines by Ahmed Shawqi. He certainly charmed me and my group. He quoted from dozens of poems that touch on the meaning of “thread” in Arabic literature. Ahmed was a wonderful guide whose love of puns, sharp wit and impressive memory were all qualities which made his lecture unforgettable.
If you are wishing to source an Egyptologist, we would have no hesitation in recommending Ahmed. Our attention was kept by Ahmed the whole day, including our twelve year old! Ahmed is extremely professional, his knowledge and stories are outstanding and entertaining.
Rate Revenue Manager
My guide for the day Ahmed Seddik is quite an original. A very slight, 30 something young Egyptologist who exudes brainy precociousness with a certain crazy charisma and a passion for alliteration and using pretentious vocabulary (though in a good humoured and fun way). He is a student and big fan of the famous Zahi Hawass – and has a personality and exuberance almost as big. He even dons a Zahi-like hat. Evidently he has been a journalist who has covered the revolution, an Egypt commentator called upon by BBC, CBS – and a translator of impressive works. Zahi II met me with three intelligent older Germans, two of whom were there from the German embassy. They were all sophisticated and bright and a pleasure to tour with.
Ahmed gave us a fabulously in-depth experience that lasted ALL DAY, 10:30 to 5 – and no-one even thought about lunch or a coffee break. We made a rare stop en route at the Unas’s valley temple, king of the 5th dynasty, strewn with interesting remains of pillars and stone and the last strip of his long causeway.Few stop there…
The world knows Cairo for its pyramids. But in my opinion Cairo’s biggest jewels are its Islamic buildings. Historic, or Islamic Cairo, contains one of the most important collections of Medieval Islamic architecture in the world and is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. In a way it makes Cairo the Rome of the Middle East. Most of the monuments are mosques, palaces, mausolea, madrasas and private houses.
Since this neighborhood can be trick to navigate, with its winding and un-marked streets we decided to go with a guide—Ahmed Seddik—who would become our friend by the end of our stay in Cairo. His tour would take us from the Al Azhar mosque in the south to the Bab al-Futuh or northern gate of the original Fatimid walls.
The Al Azhar mosque is a quiet refuge from the traffic and horns of the busy neighborhood it sits in. We enter Al Azhar mosque through the Bab al-Muzayyin (Gate of the Barbers) where students came to have their heads shaved, between the truly giant minarets. Built in 970 at the height of the Fatimid period, it has been added on to over the years. The mosque the site of Al Azhar University, probably one of the oldest in the world, which is still in operation today. The inner courtyard is a quiet refuge from the traffic and noise outside. I find visiting mosques in the Middle East to be relaxing and enjoyable. Unlike Western churches which I can find to be sterile and austere—mosques I find to be a place for quiet reflection as well as a gathering place for the community.
We tuck into the Khan al-Khalili market, which sells all kinds of things, from tourist trinket to antiques. “How can we take your money?” ask the rather aggressive merchants. With tourism down in Egypt generally, the already pushy vendors are even keener on making a sale. We ignore them and move right to tea Fishawi’s—a coffee shop/shisha (water pipe) establishment that was frequented by Cairo’s literati, most notable Naguib Mafouz, Egypt’s late Nobel Laureate. This was Mafouz’s neighborhood which he immortalized in his books. It is still a local hangout, only there are more tourists these days.
We are lucky because it was a stormy day in Cairo. This doesn’t mean it was rainy, only that the wind was gusty and blew the dust around. Cairo, despite being on the Nile is a desert city, lest we forget. This meant that what would ordinarily be a neighborhood packed with shoppers was relatively quiet. Many shops were closed. We make our way to Sharia Muiz, or the Palace Walk (also a Mahfouz novel), which will take us between some of the great mosques and palaces of the Fatimid period, eventually delivering us to our final destination—Bab al-Futuh.
Sharia Muiz is kind of magical street. Neighborhood life bubbles all around us. Monuments rise and fall on either side of us. If you use your imagination you can picture yourself in a Mafouz novel. Ahmed tells us about the buildings, architecture and history that we are seeing on either side, but it all begins to blend together into a wonderful tapestry of sights and sounds. The evening call to prayer begins and Ahmed sits us down to listen and experience the moment. I have always found the call to prayer to be beautiful musically—Allah Akbar (god is great) called out from the muezzin—trying to convince believers to drop what they are doing and come to the mosque to pray. In Cairo I experienced some of the most beautiful calls to prayer as any other Muslim city I’ve been, and this call was particularly beautiful…
MARK T. LAMMERS
“Micky and Mark have been the primary organizers for this trip and they found a wonderful tour guide for our time in Cairo. His name is Ahmed Seddik and he is the most delightful, smart and funny person you can imagine. He loves languages and speaks incredible English. He talked continuously without notes of any kind during our tours of the temples at Saqqara, the Pyramids and tombs in Giza, Islamic Cairo, and the City of the Dead—not just providing fascinating and encyclopedic information, both historic and modern, but peppering his monologue with puns and alliteration. The Giza tour culminated with camel rides from the pyramids to the Sphinx at sunset.”
“Ahmed’s pedagogical skills and talents are superb. His sharp wit and warm humor, coupled with his linguistic
brilliance, inspire and promote vast learning to take place in a short time. He seems to carry in his head
all 18 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary and the meaning and derivation of a vast corpus of Arabic
vocabulary. His facility with language, coupled with his powerful oration while lecturing, make him a superior teacher.”
“Ahmed’s expertise in Arabic in particular could be described as nothing short of masterful. He has committed to memory volumes upon volumes of the great Arabic grammarians such as Ibn Malik and his work of one thousand lines “The Alfia”. What’s more, Ahmed is able to distill these complicated rules of grammar into a clear, logical, and easily understood system of mnemonics, enabling any non-native speaker to acquire this difficult language in the shortest time possible."
“Ahmed Seddik is the brightest Egyptian I have met since I came to Egypt. I have found his Egyptological knowledge prodigious.”
Professor Jerry Leach
Ahmed Seddik worked with me as a discussant on the translation of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s monumental mid-nineteenth-century work al-Saq ‘ala l-saq (Leg over Leg) during 2012 and 2013, a workwidely considered among the most linguistically challenging of Arabic texts in view of its use of little-known words, word-play and puns, and complex grammar. I reviewed and discussed in depth with Ahmed most of the cruxes of the text and benefitted enormously from his in-put. His knowledge of Arabic grammar, verse, and the Koran is encyclopedic and his ability to untangle the contortions imposed from time to time on the language of the book by the constraints of verse and rhymed prose proved to be prodigious. Ahmed’s love of language in general and the Arabic language in particular made him the ideal partner in an enterprise of such a daunting nature. I can recommend him unreservedly to anyone involved in scholarly work involving the Arabic language arts.
22 November 2013
2013-12-20 22:25:25 UTC