Television

BBC World buys broadcast company in Japan; increases translation hours

BBC World has announced the purchase of its broadcast company Satellite News Corporation in Japan and an increase of its Japanese translation service from 60.5 to almost 90 hours a week.

BBC World has been a shareholder, together with ITX (formerly Nissho Iwai), of the Satellite News Corporation (SNC) since 1994. SNC is responsible for the marketing and distribution of BBC World throughout Japan and in March 2002 it became the first company fully registered and licensed to operate under the new Japanese Broadcast Utilization Act.

The announcement that BBC World, under the umbrella of its parent company, BBC Worldwide, has become the sole shareholder of the company makes the channel the first foreign company registered to broadcast in Japan, a company release says.

Commenting on the announcement, Patrick Cross, managing director, BBC World, said: "This is by far the most significant commitment that we have made to the Japanese market to date. We know from audience research in the region that viewers value BBC World and the unique translation service we provide on breaking news so it is a great opportunity to be first in the market with our own company as well."

BBC World has also announced a considerable increase in its Japanese translation service to nearly 90 hours a week. BBC World news in Japanese is translated live and uses more than one voice, unlike many other bilingual transmissions in Japan which are delayed by several hours and use a single voice for all interventions. The total number of translated hours comprises both live news and pre-recorded Japanese versions of BBC World's current affairs, lifestyle and documentary programming. Translation is carried out by a London-based team of 16 regular translators, backed by some 15 others working on a part time basis and produced by a seven-strong production team.

"This is a great endorsement of the work we do here in the Japanese translation unit. Everyone has worked very hard to provide an excellent service on breaking news stories and given the pace of gobal news events in the past year. I think we have proved we can provide the highest quality output which is now being reflected in the increased hours," said Shigeru Tabata, Editor Japanese Translation Unit, BBC World.

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