BBC branches out with global sites

Languages25 July 20142.7k

The BBC's College of Journalism recently launched websites in French, Hindi, Indonesian and Turkish.

It is part of the corporation's global policy as it seeks to make the resource available to as many people as possible. These means there are now 15 international languages sites, with Arabic, Burmese, Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional) among the other languages covered.

Eventually, it wants to create portals to support 28 languages, which represents how many different languages it broadcasts in.  

Each of the sites cover the "essential editorial skills that journalists working in the BBC World Service language departments use on a daily basis," the broadcaster stated. Specific reference was made to the importance of "accuracy in language".

In order to make the portals as accessible as possible, tailor-made content is being produced for each one, with journalists that are fluent and experts producing materials for their respective target audiences. 

Language issues

A number of specific language issues are covered, including grammatical learning points, the development and expansion of language, new terminologies, taboo wording, the golden rules of newsroom translation, online language and mastering the use of impartial language.

For example, how should you write the word tweet in French? The BBC advises people to stick with tweet, but the French equivalent 'gazoville' is another alternative. In the Hindi site, the BBC emphasizes the importance of the use of impartial language in news production. 

The Turkish site offers guidance on the impartial use of language, grammar, spelling, as well as the influence foreign words and social media has had on the Turkish language. This highlights the types of challenges these sites will aim to provide assistance with. 

Speaking about the development, editor of the BBC College of Journalism website Matthew Eltringham said initially the portal had been "designed for and aimed at a purely internal BBC audience". 

"The college wanted to support its programme of formal training by encouraging some of the best journalists in the newsroom to share their knowledge and experience with as many colleagues as possible," he added.

Public service broadcasting

At the heart of the decision to develop these sites is the BBC's desire to showcase its public service ethos. All of the sites will continually be developed with exciting new content as the BBC tries to share its knowledge and experience of the digital, mobile and social world. 

The sites have also been designed to be relevant, practical and useful at every stage of the way, regardless of which language they are being viewed in. 

It also underlines the BBC's ability to recognize the need to speak to people in their own language. By doing so, there is a much bigger chance of them engaging with the content, which in turn increases its reach.


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