arteFrom mid-November 2015, the Franco-German cultural channel Arte will be quadrilingual. Besides broadcasting programmes in French and German, it will provide a selection of programmes with English and Spanish subtitles on the web. The broadcaster hopes to add Polish and Italian in the next few years.

Arte in English and Arte en español will be available online. They will feature subtitled versions – in English and Spanish respectively – of a selection of 600 hours of fact-based European programmes, excluding the channel’s newscasts, drama and films. This selection of programmes will encompass Arte’s flagship magazine shows, including web programmes, a large number of documentaries embodying the channel’s editorial line, and live recordings of performances.
An average of 11 to 12 hours of new programmes will go online each week, for 7 to 90 days. With these two new versions, the selected programmes will be available in four European languages (French, German, English and Spanish) simultaneously throughout Europe (in the 28 European Union member states, and in European Free Trade Association Member States, namely Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland) and, insofar as possible, around the world.

The adding of English and Spanish subtitled programming was made possible by the launch of a European Parliament pilot project rolled out by the European Commission, entitled “Fostering European integration through culture by providing new subtitled versions of selected TV programmes across Europe”.

The European Commission decided to call for proposals in order to “test the added value of subtitling on the on-line circulation and outreach of European cultural broadcast programming in the European Union“. Arte submitted a proposal, Arte Europe, the first experiment on a European scale involving the multilingual distribution of fact-based, added-cultural-value broadcast content.

The European Commission approved Arte’s proposal and will be financing 60% of the project. This will enable a quadrilingual offering to be available online for one year starting from November 2015. The European Parliament has approved funding for this pilot project’s second phase in the European Union’s 2015 budget. The European Commission published its call for proposals in July 2015 and Arte has submitted its application. Arte’s goal if its proposal is approved is to expand its choice of languages from four to six, by adding Polish and Italian, from November to 2016 to October 2017.

The Arte Europe project aims to add two language versions to a selection of Arte programmes already available in French and German. English and Spanish were the two obvious choices to make this experiment meaningful. Arte’s existing bilingual content puts it in touch with around 160 million French-speaking and German-speaking Europeans, i.e. 31.5% of Europe’s 505 million citizens. Adding versions subtitled in English and Spanish could make these programmes available to 275 million European citizens, i.e. 55% of the total, in their mother tongue. Plus the many other Europeans who understand and speak at least one of these languages.

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By Expat