CanWest newspapers now downloadable in 12 more languages, audible in seven

Responding to Canada's multicultural reality big time, Canwest has launched electronic versions of all 11 of its chain's newspapers in a dozen languages as well as English. And not only can subscribers read stories in their preferred language - plus see the day's ads - some can also hear the news read aloud in their native tongue.

Now that downloadable digital editions of major newspapers are becoming the norm, Canwest has upped the ante. On December 1, the company’s print arm launched digital editions of all 11 of its newspapers translated into 12 languages other than English. And the cyber contents of each title – including advertising – are identical to those published in hard copy. Among the languages included in this initiative are: German, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Russian.

Something else that’s new for Canwest is a radio service that enables news buffs who speak the above languages to hear the day’s stories read aloud in their native tongue, and/or in English. Vancouver-based NewspaperDirect is handling this radio service as well as the day-to-day preparation of the multiple-language digital editions.

In addition to the ‘host’ edition customers subscribe to, they also have free access to all 10 other Canwest newspapers. And the initiative’s back-end technology allows downloading to all three of the most popular digital devices – laptop, PDA and desktop computer.

Canwest tells MiC that its advertising sales strategy for the multiple-language digital editions is still in such an early stage of development that no info is yet available about whether advertisers will be able to prepare messages in English and have them deployed in the additional languages, or any other details, such as numbers of potential subscribers by ethnicity in different locations. What is known is that advertisers can include URLs in their ads to provide direct online links for interested readers.

Free seven-day trials are available to subscribers who sign up at