Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Watching America

Ah, wad some power the giftie gie us,
to see oorsels as ithers see us. . . .

Robert Burns

I was recently contacted by Robin Koerner, who runs an excellent site called www.WatchingAmerica.com. He asked me to check the site out, I did, and I was impressed enough to add it to my blogroll. Over to Mr. Koerner:

My name is Robin Koerner, a Brit in NYC, and I am cofounder of the unique site, www.WatchingAmerica.com, which translates foreign news about the U.S., to enable Americans (and all English speakers) to read what is being written about them and their country throughout the world. Much of our content is available nowhere else in English. Our attempt to break down the final barrier to understanding – the language barrier – has attracted the attention of mainstream media (such as USA Today, dozens of other US papers, BBC, and various talk radio stations), since we launched about a year ago. We are generally considered now an A-list media site, mentioned and listed along with the NYT, BBC, CNN etc. What is put out in other countries in English for Western consumption often differs markedly from what is being written in the native languages. Accordingly, Watching America offers a unique window into world opinion. We have no political agenda or position.

Although we want to gain a mass readership, and are growing fast, our most exciting visitors include, on the one hand increasing numbers of university students as we appear as required reading for various courses, and on the other, pretty much all of the U.S. government departments, and in particular the CIA and State Department.

The two cofounders and around 30 translators work as volunteers, and we still have a long way to go until the project becomes self-supporting. One of the many great articles about our site can be found here.

I urge readers to check this site out. It's one modest step towards mutual understanding, and a tremendous source of information as well.

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