UNAIDS launches global web sites in French, Spanish and Russian

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UNAIDS launches global web sites in French, Spanish and Russian

20 March 2008

New UNAIDS global web sites in French, Russian and Spanish.

UNAIDS has launched the first phase of the new editions of its global web site in French, Spanish and Russian. For the first time parts of the web site are now available in each of the 4 official languages of the organization.

In a transparent process UNAIDS will continue to translate more of the content so where the Russian, Spanish and French versions are not yet available, the default language will be English. By later this year our aim is that 95% of the global web site will be in all four official languages.

We hope this step will enable us to reach a much wider audience across the globe giving many more internet users access to the data on the AIDS epidemic, key resources and the latest HIV news.

Increasing numbers of people have access to online communication technologies and can participate in vital information exchange. However a digital divide remains and UNAIDS recognizes that access inequality also includes a linguistic inequality as many policy, technical and scientific resources on the web are currently only available in English.

“Language is a critical tool for communication and fundamental to knowledge access,” said Chief of Communications and Knowledge Sharing, Annemarie Hou.

“By making our resources available in languages other than English we hope to reach across cultural and linguistic differences helping UNAIDS to deliver on its goal of supporting an expanded response to AIDS.”

The transmission of HIV is not limited by any social, cultural or linguistic boundary and as UNAIDS' response to HIV must reflect the diversity of the epidemic, our communication tools must also mirror the plurality that exists globally. The launch of our global web site in multiple languages is a further step in that direction, ensuring broader dissemination of our information tools and resources.

As a part of this strategy UNAIDS has partnered with the Faculty of Translation and Documentation of the University of Salamanca in Spain, to design new ways of developing communication on AIDS in Spanish.

The Spanish web content has been translated by the University students and this process, in addition to providing UNAIDS with high-quality translations, offers the opportunity to students to contribute to the work of the United Nations and gain increased awareness on AIDS issues at the same time.

UNAIDS looks forward to continuing this partnership with the University which also involves a terminology research project.

“Words may have different meanings in specific situations so it is very important to put them in context. We also need to make sure that the ideas behind terms and the meaning relations between them are clearly understandable by all the Spanish speakers worldwide,” said Vice Dean of the Faculty of Translation and Documentation, University of Salamanca, Dr Jesús Torres del Rey who coordinates the partnership project.

2008 International Year of Languages

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 to be the International Year of Languages and has recognized that the United Nations should pursue multilingualism as a means of promoting, protecting and preserving diversity of languages and cultures globally and emphasized the paramount importance of the equality of the Organization’s official languages.


French is spoken by about 350 million people around the world as either a native or a second language, with significant populations in 54 countries. A majority of the world's French-speaking population lives in Africa where an estimated 115 million African people across 31 countries, can speak French either as a first or second language.


Spanish is used by 370 million people across the globe and is the third most spoken language worldwide. In addition to Spain, Spanish is the official language of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. In addition, it is widely spoken in Canada, Morocco, the Philippines, and the United States.


Russian is spoken as a first language by an estimated 167 million people and by an estimated 270 million in total. It is the official language of the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It is spoken in 31 countries around the world including many of the former Soviet republics.

Please visit the global web sites in the following languages:

UNAIDS French-language global website at www.unaids.org/fr

UNAIDS Spanish-language global website at www.unaids.org/es

UNAIDS Russian-language global website at www.unaids.org/ru

We very much welcome your feedback. You can contact us with your ideas and suggestions by email: webmaster@unaids.org