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Translating the French election…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 play somewhere you can't fail to notice the real that's blown up over the government's proposed privatisation of Channel 4 we're going to get the latest on where we are up to with any change of ownership and we're looking across the the French election and how the moon is launching an English language Edition and now we're committed to achieve healthier.

Just a quick one.

What's French for party gate party game.

We will come back to that later now, but first let's start the show with the story of Channel 4 last week the culture secretary Nadine dorries announced that government ownership is holding Channel 4 back.

I put forward plans to sell the broadcaster q and outcry from some public figures and even some of the government own backbenchers with me is Chris Curtis editor-in-chief of broadcast who's been following the story of Chris Watts

Latest well, we're moving Now comments made.

It's my da.

It seems this is a decision coming from the pretend coming from gcms.

They want to sell off Channel 4 what we don't yet know and what hopefully will soon become clearer is the restrictions the remit the licence obligations that channel 4 is going to be subject to is until those things are cleared up any would-be bidders.

Don't really understand exactly what it is that they are buying and that's the phase that's going to be interesting phase that we move into what is the channel for Lowestoft for sale allowed to do with regards to in-house production for example one of its requirements with regards to producing and spending money outside of London in the regions all those kind of things need to be cleared up and a white papers expected towards the end of the month and the end.

Waiting with bated breath and see whether those sorts of issues are going to be cleared up when that's ok and regions as well as the content of not owning contents of the issue of news.

I suppose it will be safeguarded loses one of its flagship programs, but this is all up for debate.

Is it that that that's where we get to at some point.

Yes, I mean there's an expectation when comcast Sports Sky for example that they effectively safeguarded sky News for an extended period of time and certainly given indications hinted that there be some sort of similar provision so that the new owner would be committed to continuing to broadcast Channel 4 news in prime time but that doesn't editorial tone of the programme would necessarily change or it's Focus you know it has got an international broad international Channel 4 News all that could change and all of these things.

To be discussed and decided and it's not clear whether the government's going to take a consultation on there and invite the industry and interested stakeholders to share their views are simply going to tell the sector.

This is what these the rules that Govern Channel 4 and this is this is the shape of the organisation is up for sale straight.

You know he cannot overstate for the Independent production community in the UK how important it is the issue around in-house production at Channel 4 and if that is allowed what level of in-house production is is acceptable to the government is crucial in terms of the runners and riders talking through your who is interested in buying Channel 4.

I take your point that it depends it may depend on you know what they're getting but who's in The Running have a look at this before.

To take ownership of a channel with such a strong ground and such a strong history, so the obvious source of domestic players that will will will look will be ITV and Channel 5 zona paramount both of those organisations will be making the case that they could be great stewards of Channel 4 they'll be saying that we already commercial PSV licence holders how to play that game and their stuff with exact who have worked at Channel 4 so you know those guys were making a case.

I'm certain sky will have a look.

I'll be made if the recently merged Warner Brothers Discovery organisation which is has been increasingly Discovery for the last 5 or 10 years has been really getting free-to-air television and team up with BT Sport in the not too distant future as well.

There's quite a powerful potential player emerging there.

I'm sure lots of American Studios will will take a look.

Not the streamers no, it doesn't quite time with her with a stream of strategy A linear broadcast about Channel 4 invalid anything between 500 million and 8 billion depending on you know around the forecasting is but but you know terms of you now you mention you and you said you know potentially could change it's very early days, but is there any of it likely to affect what view is actually see on Channel 4 yeah definitely having Channel 4 historic Lee has had a innate remit Ethos has been to order programs that are just giving different and that its peers and rivals wouldn't order that you can do bay the extent to which that Ethos is carried out and you know you can look for the schedule and Channel 4 shows which are pretty similar but ultimately it is a broadcast at over the Decades for 40 years now as all the different types of shows there's no certainty that a private.

Channel 4 would continue in that way because ultimately if profit is driving your decision-making process you're going to view ideas to a different and what happens next just briefly you know is there a chance that this privatisation won't go ahead or is it you know all guns blazing? It'll definitely happen events can stop it right.

You know if something is that I left you know there is a scandal around at the moment if you need to get a change of government of change of leader.

You know a different culture secretary of course those things could change it there is likely to be a some sort of rebellion in The Commons I would suggest but again still want to put numbers.

It's about 10 and 10 backbench.

MPs have said anything publicly that is probably more close to 20 pretty disgruntled about the whole thing whether you might get half way towards a decent sort of rebellion and that.

But it's hard to see this stopping if number 10 and the dcms today goes ok, we'll stay with us Chris because I want to transfer another of this week's big store the French elections as we talked about the beginning on Monday it was announced the president Emmanuel macron had nearly won the first round of voting but polls suggest that the runoff between him and marine le pen on the 24th of April close lamone the famous newspaper has chosen this month to launch a new digital version in English and I'll via comunale you had at the front is is editor-in-chief of le monde in English now, it is almost 80 years old.

Why is it only just decided to launch an English language Edition and it does feel quite natural to must have been used to do we have been translating quite a few of our story is now and again into English

But it's been for a like major investigation Springsteen starting 2013 with translate one investigation.

We did about to witness to chemical attack in Syria we translated editorial about what we called the dangers of brexit and 2019 and so we've we've always been willing to sort of broaden our audience and to make our journalism accessible to more people so you've been going down your fully going there.

Who's the target audience for the modern English English speaking obviously but yeah, it's main geographical zones, but our first subscriber was Japanese so it's everyone who speaks English and everyone has been French

Suppose people you know could if they're interested.

Just go to them on and get Google to translate your articles.

How are you doing? Are you doing it differently from that is not just a case of Google Translate presumably now we're doing very differently that's one of the main objective of the project is to bring our quality journalism to Quality English because it would be a shame to do otherwise the process of translation is quite a heavy one using a different levels the first one being that translate articles through an artificial intelligence which is equivalent to Google Translate and translate or text into into English then translation agencies post this text to roughly translated and turn it into something that you don't understand that makes sense.

They get rid of all the literal translations.

They make it in English get rid of orgasms.

They send it back to Wells and in.

Newsrooms journalist whose mother tongue is English go through the text there and add necessary contact when needed to adapt the the articles too much, but you need to add a few details about the presidential election we talk about about that means which is an alliance of parties or borders to prevent from winning the election that the few words we we had in Paris and then we publish their pieces and administrator.


I mean I suppose I'd ask

Being an English critical to turn in the morning to a global news brand like the New York Times for example.

It's become that thanks to digital subscriptions.

Is that where your heading or hoping to head?

We bring more people and English language is go to make them we have we have to go through there and we're happy to and I hope it up subscriptions.

Are you do have a target? Yeah, right we have 520000 subscribers right now in the target is to reach 1002025 in English and Sociology of Media at the University of Gaza as well as being and Dominic what do you make of Le Mans pans? Is there a gap in the market there for them?

New York Times has been incredibly successful over the past decade is an expanding is brand internationally when I was young nobody in the UK weather New York Times you had to go to a special needs to get a copy as you did le monde actually where is now the MIT is something which everybody will click on you know I like me to bring a subscriber.

I find it very useful.

You know you wouldn't be doing this now having crunching numbers.

I imagine they know there are people out there and what brexit is shown as well.

Is that there is a demand for news about Europe in English from a non British perspective and if they can tap into that it could be very very successful, but there is people tried this over the years with mixed success been tried before what what happened.

I mean for example.

We go which has had a online English language edition from Germany for a number of years now and speak of Germany's leading News magazine is incredibly well regarded in Germany

English language edition has had some great successes also been hamstrung by poor translation misunderstand of the candy editorial line that we need to take cultivating subscribers all things that you need to do to really make it viable as anything other than a status symbol.

I'm sure you don't plan to make any of those mistakes but any reaction to what Dominic

I think Webster most important thing as you said Dominic at the end of bed.

We need to be really careful to so have a good English level 2 to try and have a place up there with next to the New York Times the Washington Post the Guardian Nando's the newspapers we need to be able to compare ourselves to them and so we need to be able to publish stories that an English speaking person can read easily and not stumble and the second word and close the tab and go somewhere else.

So this is where we're really concentrating on making something readable and good in English as well.

I mean because we already have the good news.

We have amazing journalist so that I'm gonna complain about and so quality English the other thing I want to come back in a bit.

Get up the perspective from which we get our news which is something we talk about but let's just bring in Benedict patio first you work for another major French news organisation that broadcast to an English-speaking audience your the UK correspondent France 24 which is a state-owned TV network Benedict I just want to have been some hesitancy by French news outlets about moving into the anglosphere wallets care at let's be clear of horse then get was launched in 2006 and initially musically broadcast in French and English 24-hours a day 7-days a week to global news channel, so it's breaking news international news, but we ordered Arabic and Spanish 24-hours a day as well.

I do French and English orphan with an s of each other.

It's the joy of having a French parent and a British parent having a French and British education of having a very strict mother because the dangers of being.

As you can become not one or the other so my understanding.

I think is that when you get lost in translation apologies for the baddest hesitancy what I think you talk about France bank account opening in 2006 there was I think some criticism from the hospices in France about the idea that a French channel will be broadcasting in English I write the traditional idea of the French language language of was that it must be preserved.

It must be looked after it must not had to learn English words surprise to us being somebody who's half French half British having been sleeping that from the word go in my life.

I actually think I know I'm in work for the BBC World Service BBC world and reaching out to across the planet that the more we can communicate between each other's cultures.

Politics in those countries that have free speech because of course that isn't true and free news and free reporting that is not true and ever the internet is shown that when did real-time reporting on Ukraine or whether it's party guests as I was again this morning.

Yes, there was a hesitancy because some people thought that they should be custodians and the best way of keeping the culture and the language was that way when president she had decided to have the French a lazy website not just in French but also an English quite a lot of people will not happy with at the moment or elsewhere the Academy forces possibly well, swear he pushed for there to be a global news channel he understood but the country like France that has a un Security Council permanent seat it was essential that that voice be heard so Ted Turner when he created CNN that cable News Network if we can't someone back that far we thought to be.

Then BBC world then decide same thing in the 90s and we can see that as the word world has become more globalised.

It is as one of the other guests was saying I think it was Dominic with her.

It's about brexit or partygate.

There is huge interest a change of prime minister in the UK for example would be a relationship with France with the EU what would it mean pregnant? What would it mean for the Northern Ireland protocol and in terms of France broadcasting in English all you know reporting an English there's a soft power and that's what you and that is in my experience undervalued whether it's by the UK itself or the time when the UK is shrinking it's embassies the BBC world service and BBC World in off that has a very tight budget.

I would argue that we need more and then actually leaders do not understand.

Important it is for that culture it attracts people in tracks investment to trick people to come and study to come and have tourism in your countries.

It is absolutely richest the world and I think it promotes understanding and I think that is absolutely essential Dominic just to bring you back and you've reported from around the world.

I guess it's a sort of philosophical question that you raise a little earlier in what do we miss out on you in the UK are news is relayed from anybody by the likes of BBC and then what do we miss out on by not getting a Europe your interview in your opinion writer on the vents when something happens in Europe or elsewhere for this language audience.

We we don't know why it's happening would understand the context because we haven't been following it the best example.

I can think of at the moment is actually the conversations in Sweden and Finland about joining NATO now.

You know a lot of the reporting.

Did the UK in the US about that over the last week has failed to really grasp in explain the context of of what the nature debate has been in Sweden for the last 4050 years the anti nuclear movement Sweden's position is a diplomatic superpower due to its neutrality ordered is really important elements which have just been completely swept aside in some of the reporting and if you have a more kind of decentralised reporting network and you have more constant coverage from these places, then you don't meet the same challenges when something very big comes along so you are essentially saying that journalism has an anglophone by us is that we have you frozen? I'm so sorry Dominic frozen Benedict would you think the Anglo-Saxon world was a head I mean CNN you know that it was BBC world.

It is clear that the Anglo-Saxon offer across the

Was was bigger yes radio France international in the same way as the BBC World Service what used to be called I think the Empire Service when Britain had an impact on those pre-existing door that you need to be there you need to be present you need to have a voice and Alva just to ring you back in you said Le Monde in English will feature a broad range of Le Mans articles except.

Is it seems to French she would talk about that a little earlier? I think but I've been treated like what would you be taking out to do with your personal finances or French taxes and everything and also not going to be translating anything.

Why are sorry that we provisionally French website because of the time sensitive Factor obviously winning the time it takes to translate a wire we've already.

And a few times on the French website, so there's no logic in writing and it was 24.

We can do it live Dominic just to bring you back in because you froze unfortunately at a crucial moment when you were talking about not just France Finland and Sweden the anglophone buyer survey.

I think it's part of because of the way for in journalism has grown up over the years and they would never intended to be for a global audience but also I think that if you spend any time work as a foreign correspondent for the us all the British Media you get constipated again and again that you need to speak to an American or British audience in that's very true but we seeing now and this is why the experiment is so interesting is a transnational English speaking public that is very very curious to hear and different lines from other usually word and is really interested in quality journalism.

Utopian but I like to believe that's actually a growth market there a website a little earlier and you translate it's called the French test and The Economist DuBarry is pretty funny.

I mean particularly about the difficulties of translating a comment president macron made earlier on and the election campaign about people who aren't vaccinated.

I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about that.


It's a few months ago and I wanted to which means as explained in his very first he wants to cover and vaccinated people with shit very difficult when it means essentially is he wants.

So yeah, we weekend to say that he wants to cover people wish it cos that's exactly to hear that imagine imagine ok, so you'll Be There You'll Be be careful with your translations.

I guess in a Dominic we started the program by talking about Channel 4 and there's an equivalent issue in the French and she becomes president macron has said he would do away with their equivalent of the licence fee just tell us a bit more about that because that's very interesting in trouble for us here to have said and not alone in saying it's all across Europe politicians are playing with this idea because the licence fee is seen as an unfair tax by load of people and actually nowadays.

It's on enforceable under the moment due to problems in forcing.

It's licence fee and as a result is probably broadcasters really strapped for cash.

You know this is also a policy that was taken from the National Rally as well today this was.

This was something was put out there in macarons decided.

This is something that you can do which he thinks will be popular perhaps.

I think of years ago the government moved from a licence for model 2 and attacks from the model where some of that money wasn't going to the National public broadcaster.

It was going to other other places that was widely seen as an attack on the broadcaster actually by making it more relying on tax money which can be easily cut and less able to guarantee its funding into carry independent journalist until you know macrame be doing this as a but actually whenever politicians say we need to replace the licence fee with something else.

We can be very wary about what they're intentions actually are afternoon that one of the big French TV boxes is claimed that the pen victory would mean French state tv.

As it's being sold to a billionaire.

Dominic something quite well, there is a period of reckoning coming for public service broadcasters around the world and it's going to be challenging but I suspect that one of the things that those organisations need to do is Connor grasp the nettle and start to have proper progressive conversations about the natives the BBC traditionally has been very defensive and understandably so about the licence fee and independence from government is absolutely crucial to future, but if it becomes so wedded licence fee that it isn't prepared to engage in conversations about alternative funding measures, then there's a danger that it becomes a binary argument to get seriously wall up as and when the licence fee is ultimately replaced.

I think what's happening now is potentially a shift why these organisations need to start grappling.

A more progressive method of payments and one that isn't going to necessarily leave them seriously short changed but one which keeps them at arm's length from government because you get a close relationship between government and national broadcaster.

I can start to feel like a very uneasy relationship really quickly and Benedict we don't have much but it is just fascinating you how this debate around public funding of TV channels is being played at the best countries including including France have you been reporting on it? I haven't been reporting on it, but I'm sure that it is a theme in the presidential campaign and by the way it is wrong to say that that comment wasn't prevalent isolate on arrival channel on TV where the president was asked again about this and you said it was actually an affectionate but it was a shocking thing for him to say it surprised a lot of people but it appeal to the audience that he wanted to.

I'm going to have a timer phrase it is crucial that we all continue broadcasting but unfortunately it's all we've got time for today with our broadcast.

Thank you to all to Chris Curtis 2lv, English Dominic Hinde a janitor lecturer in media and communication at Glasgow university Benedict Aveo the UK correspondent at France 24.

Thank you so much all of you for joining us.

Don't forget you can catch up past editions of The Show on the BBC Sounds app, but that is all from us.

Thank you so much listen to the media show goodbye.

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