The start of the second half of the European club competition season brings further developments in uefa.com's burgeoning multilingual operations.
UEFA's official website will be covering the resumption of the UEFA Champions League campaign in eight languages - English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese - which means that football enthusiasts throughout the world will be able to keep up with the news in a language of their choice.
Strength to strength
Multilingual coverage of European football is the latest step in uefa.com's successful growth since the UEFA website was re-launched in August 2001. Since then, Europe's football website has been going from strength to strength with its lively and informative mixture of news, statistics, live coverage of matches and events, multimedia and much more besides.
"The multilingual offering will bring uefa.com to a wider football audience than ever before," said Alexandre Fourtoy, Chief Executive of UEFA New Media, the independent company set up by European football's governing body to exploit the new communications sector. "Even though uefa.com has provided some multilingual elements over the past two seasons, this is an enormous undertaking, but we feel that the content proposition will be attractive to football fans worldwide."
uefa.com's initial operations were in English only. However, the website's management was already working on plans to expand the site to include other languages. In September 2002, French, German - UEFA's two other official languages - Spanish and Italian versions went online. These have been followed by Japanese, Russian and Portuguese versions at the start of this year. An expert linguistic team is in place at UEFA New Media's headquarters in Nyon, western Switzerland, who are aided by teams of translators and journalists charged with the task of turning the daily flow of articles into the various languages.
"The statistics that uefa.com has generated in multilingual format since September have been promising, and by bringing uefa.com content to a Russian and Portuguese audience, there are great possibilities to extend our audience beyond even Europe's borders," Mr Fourtoy continued. "In addition, UEFA New Media's agreement with NTT Communications to provide a Japanese service [which was launched in Tokyo last Thursday] will give uefa.com the opportunity to promote European football to a new audience in Asia."
"It was important for us to focus on UEFA's core activities to begin with," said editor-in-chief David Farrelly. "For now, the site will revolve around the English site, but with our in-house linguistic specialists and an established pan-European correspondent network, football fans can expect further developments and additional content options in time for the start of next season."