NewsNet to broadcast video, audio of conference in 14 languages

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Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all over the world will be able to see live video broadcasts of general conference for the first time over the Internet and hear it in 14 languages.

BYU NewsNet will broadcast this service to people who otherwise would have to wait weeks or months to see and hear the prophet’s voice.

“Here in American Samoa we sometimes have to wait for months before our local TV stations get the video tapes,” said Carl Filiaga of Pago Pago, American Samoa. “It’s great to be able to hear conference live.”

Scott Johnson, editorial director for BYU NewsNet, is heading up the live Internet broadcast.

“The real work is being done by the speakers and interpreters,” Johnson said. “We just take what they give us and put it on the Web.”

Though Johnson makes the process sound simple, getting the general conference address broadcast over the Internet is a complicated procedure.

The speakers prepare their talks and give them at conference. While they are speaking, translators are converting them into a different language, Johnson said.

During conference, over 300 volunteers translate general conference into at least 35 languages.

“It’s not so much translating as it is interpreting,” Johnson said.

Often the phrases or words do not directly translate into the other language, so the volunteers must interpret what the speaker is communicating, Johnson said.

These audio interpretations are broadcast live with the video via satellite by Bonneville Communications, Johnson said.

The transmissions are then pulled off the satellite broadcast through BYU campus cable channels. BYU NewsNet digitizes the signals and streams them over the Internet, Johnson said.

This year, there will be 14 languages broadcast live over the NewsNet site. It is the fifth time live audio has been transmitted, but this is the first time the audio will be accompanied by video, Johnson said.

The addition of live video broadcast is largely due to the numerous requests for it from church members worldwide.

Alfred Escher from Vira Gambarogno, Switzerland was one of the many who requested the live video broadcast.

“Our whole family was able to enjoy the messages of the authorities of the church…Would it be possible to use RealVideo for the broadcast next time?” said Escher in an e-mail after the April conference netcast.

The Web address to watch the live video broadcast of general conference accompanied by audio in various languages is newsnet.byu.edu.

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