10 March 08 | Chad W. Post

A few months back I was on a panel about new technologies (mainly the internet) and translation. The panel was fine, but what was most interesting was a discussion afterwards in which a group of us suddenly realized that none of the day’s events were being taped . . . It seems like such a missed opportunity—here we are talking about ways to use technology to reach new readers, yet no one thought to pod- or videocast the discussion . . .

Well, the Cervantes Institute may be setting a precedent for all cultural institutions to follow. As written about in Cafe Babel, the Cervantes Institute just launched an Internet TV channel featuring events from all over the world.

To begin with, the channel will transmit four Flamenco (Foto: tartanna/flickr)hours of its own production, including a daily news bulletin devoted to culture. As José María Martínez says, it will make good use of the synergies ‘with the cultural institutions of the National Library, the Prado Museum, the House de America Museum, and so on. We are producing a course in Spanish with RTVE (Spanish radio and television centre) that will begin broadcasting in September.’ It is estimated that in five years time there will be nearly 2 million people studying their Spanish course.

At the moment, CervantesTv.es is merely the first phase of a much broader project: to create a multimedia platform to spread Spanish culture across the internet. New portals of the Cervantes Institute now exist, offering Spanish classes on the Cervantes Second Life island, and a radio programme will be broadcast shortly.

I think this is pretty cool and hope other cultural organizations will follow suit. It’s not quite the same (they don’t create any daily programs), but PEN already does this with a lot of their events, including all the World Voices panels and discussions. Just seems like a natural extension of what a lot of these organizations are already doing. And another way to reach new audiences.

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