NewsHour gets CPB grant to caption and translate its election coverage

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The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is giving PBS NewsHour a $420,000 grant to enable volunteers to translate its 2012 election coverage into dozens of languages, as well as caption it for viewers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. NewsHour Open Election 2012 will use crowd-sourcing technologies developed by the nonprofit Participatory Culture Foundation and open-source Web tools creator Mozilla. “These technologies will make election news, speeches and debates more accessible for diverse audiences, helping to increase their understanding of, and engagement in, the political process,” CPB said in a press release Thursday (Jan. 19).

NewsHour has used the technology twice before. The first was a translation of the president’s 2011 State of the Union Address, which was converted via open-sourced captions into seven languages and partially translated into 16 more. The other followed the death of Osama bin Laden; that coverage was interpreted in 15 languages.

NewsHour will launch the election-year translation and captioning project during President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union on Jan. 24.