Suppose you are giving a talk and in your audience there is a person who does not speak your mother tongue. Let's call them John.

Neither your mother tongue nor John's mother tongue is English. However, you can say some words in English and John can understand them.

As you are not comfortable speaking English, you are giving your talk in your mother tongue.

What should you say to John in order to apologize for not speaking English? I'd like examples of some possible sentences because I'm not sure I can construct a grammatically correct one. I'd also like the sentence to explain the reason given in last paragraph.

  • I think this woud fit more in Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange rather than here...
    – TK-421
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 5:55
  • Translating your notes/slides into the relevant language(s) may be helpful.
    – Owain
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


"I'm afraid [that]" is an apologetic way of introducing a problem that does not have a convenient solution. For example:

"Thank you for coming. I'm afraid my English is not very good, so I will give this talk in {Language}."

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