July 14, 2010

By Ofer Tirosh

CNC World News Launches Soon, But Not in Mandarin Language or Mandarin Translation

In an effort to compete with world news channels like CNN and the BBC, China has announced the launch of a new English language news channel from their Xinhua broadcast station, officially named the CNC World Channel. The intention of China's new journalistic venture, without the use of Chinese to English news and journalism translation, is to present world news and pertinent current affairs with a Chinese perspective, rather than with the western perspectives of most world news reports. China also hopes to overturn a lot of the negative media attention, which tends to focus on government censorship ever since the Tibetan riots in 2008.

China does have a Chinese to English translation service for news reporting, with their national CCTV news broadcast, as well as recently added Arabic news translation and Russian news translation of their homeland CCTV. CCTV news broadcast for English is broadcast within, and for, mainland China. So even CCTV broadcasts with Chinese news report translation for English audiences pertains to news about primarily just China. But, an effort for competition, as well as an effort to establish an international Chinese world news channel, is being created with the launch of CNC World Channel. It is also widely believed that the anticipated CNC World News launch is part of China's effort to advance in international soft power. Other examples of these efforts are the huge sums of money invested in the Beijing Olympics, as well as the Confucius Institutes, which promote Chinese language and culture.

There are other non-English speaking international news channels and broadcasts, such as Al-Jazeera News, which is widely regarded and appreciated journalism, with an Arabic translation of non-western perspective for English audiences. China hopes to not only become much more influential than Al-Jazeera English, but also compete alongside the BBC and CNN, as well as set up its New York City headquarters right in Times Square.

However, various reports and interviews with experts and professional journalists show a good bit of skepticism about the long-term success of this new effort to create a Chinese journalistic translation of world news perspective for English audiences. Several journalism experts have noted that because of the lack of current competition for something like CNC World Channel, advertisers and marketers will not be interested. That, on top of the fact that no one living in China will be interested in the CNC World Channel. They will keep on watching CCTV as they always have. Why would regular Chinese viewers at home tune into English language world news? This is not another Chinese to English translation of news reports like CCTV English, but rather, broadcast with reporters and anchorman speaking English. Most Chinese will prefer to stick to their regular Chinese language news broadcasts. Because of this, experts are doubtful that neither investors nor advertisers will contribute funding and resources, or at least not enough to keep it alive long term.

Chinese World News for English Audience w/out Subtitling or Chinese Translation?

It would be interesting to see China's version of the world news, broadcast in English, with a contemporary Chinese perspective and outlook. Hopefully, there will be a way to incite competition and enough mainland viewers to keep investors and advertising partners interested enough to support CNC World News, the same way that broadcast channels are, when using Chinese to English translation of news reporting. After all, when China comprises a tenth of the world's population, and Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world, it is only fitting that they should have a part in presenting world news and journalism broadcasts for the rest of us to take in. Perhaps everyone would, in the process, gain a better understanding of Chinese culture, perspective and values in the process.

While the CNC World Channel may be an ambitious effort on the part of Xinhua as a television broadcasting network, it is also an effort that is creating a lot of doubt for journalism experts that do not expect it to succeed – but it is one that could also be seen as a forerunner for many other world news channels in other languages to come. Imagine turning on the t.v. and being able to choose your 6 o'clock news and world report, broadcast from any number of foreign world channels - without the typical subtitle translation, or Arabic to English audio translation recordings, dubbed over Arabic journalist voices. Not to say that Arabic or Chinese subtitles and audio translation for news reports or any other t.v. broadcast isn't welcome. However, for an actual live broadcast news channel, it is a bit impractical.


CNC World Channel is a fantastic effort toward cultures being able to share their objective perspectives on international affairs, and for western world news reports to start seeing some formidable additions in the area of international news and investigative reporting. Though CNC will be broadcast in English, there will no doubt be professional Chinese translation services used for off-air material, as well as other foreign language news reports that need journalism translation. This new effort by China is only possible with professional translation service like Tomedes. Without it, none of these news broadcasts could happen. It's refreshing to see professional human translation continue to be an integral, crucial part of international communication and cultural exchange.



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