Last updated: 30 april, 2009 - 16:51 GMT

BBC launches new language sites

The BBC College of Journalism and the BBC World Service have today launched five new language learning micro-sites, with one more to come soon.

The launches mean the number of language sites from the College of Journalism now totals at 30.

We have launched external language sites for our last group: Spanish, Portuguese for Brazil, Albanian, Macedonian and Serbian, which will be shortly followed by Turkish. Today's launches will bring up the number of the language sites created for America and Europe to seven. The language sites for Ukraninan were launched last month.

Sixteen months ago it seemed an almost impossible task to create an external language micro-site for all the language services in the World Service, but today it is a reality.

This has been a unique opportunity presented to the language services by the College of Journalism, enabling every service to concentrate on its own language for the first time.

Language experts, senior colleagues and specialists from outside BBC were asked to find consensus for terminologies, style, wording, translation techniques, writing styles for a multimedia platform and much more.

The aim was to create bespoke, unique sites for every language which will serve the need of that particular language. The use of impartial language was the main point for some languages; others concentrated on grammar, spelling, style, pronunciation, translation and original writing.

Portugese for Brazil

Man interview on the street with camera

The College of Journalism helps promote BBC standards across the world

The College of Journalism site in Portugese for Brazil mainly concentrates on the use of impartial language, accuracy and storytelling. Rogerio Simoes, head of Brazilian Service, believes that: "The College of Journalism site can be a very important tool in our relationship with our audience, as it shows to the user of our site what are the main concerns and principles behind the journalism produced by the BBC. We hope to gradually make it a larger and even more effective reference for members of our audience who want to understand more about BBC's aims and what BBC journalism stands for."


For many languages this has been an opportunity to share the BBC editorial values with the audience, the College of Journalism site in Spanish carries the BBC editorial guideline highlighted by an interview with expert. Hernando Alvarez, current affairs editor, says: "Through the Spanish College of Journalism site we have an opportunity to show everyone how and why we are taking the editorial decisions."


Language is a living organism which is constantly changing and developing. The language expert on the Albanian site explains the dilemma of foreign words in the media, where is it necessary and when it is destroying the language. The head of Albanian Service, Diana Kola, believes that the unique selling point the BBC output has is its ability to analyze and go under the skin of the story, while at the same time use simple, unpolluted language that is understood by all.


The BBC is delighted to be able to develop this knowledge and share it with journalists across the world.

The head of the BBC Macedonain Service, Zaneta Skerlev, says: "School of Journalism in Macedonian will enrich our online offer with something completely different - how we do what we do best - writing for radio. It is good that we are not selfishly keeping the knowledge, experience and talent - we are sharing that with our listeners and colleagues."


The College of Journalism language sites also carry some expert advice from the main College of Journalism English site. We have been able to translate a film by the BBC correspondent Allan Little on how to write for radio in many languages.

Creating College of Journalism language micro-sites is a first step and a firm recognition of the fact that journalists broadcasting in languages other than English need a mechanism of support which can also be a reference point for the BBC and non-BBC journalists across the world.

Aleksej Zoric, head Of Serbian Service, believes that the BBC School of Journalism presentation on the BBC Serbian internet pages have the potential of becoming a very useful and instructive tool for the users. For those working in journalism it will clarify the usage of language in radio.

This is the beginning of a very important task: to gather and develop the great knowledge and experience that exist in the language services, an important part of our broadcast life, the knowledge which is linked to the language in which we broadcast.

To unify and share the information that we can call the BBC style in Arabic, our way of writing in Farsi, or the in-house style of BBC in Chinese.

Please contact for further information.

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