Thank you for stopping by to read about La Peste Negra. The series is no longer available to view for free, but we have decided to leave this article up for posterity.
Over 41 million Americans speak Spanish at home—more than 13% of the U.S. population. In other words, one in every eight people in the United States is a native Spanish speaker. Now, to reach a wider audience of lifelong learners, Wondrium has released its first course dubbed in Spanish for free.
The United States is home to the fifth-largest Spanish-speaking population of any nation on Earth, surpassing Venezuela and falling just behind Spain. For the first time, one of Wondrium’s popular lecture series has received a full Spanish-language overdub. The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague was taught by Dr. Dorsey Armstrong, Associate Professor of English and Medieval Literature at Purdue University. Now, it’s also known as La Peste Negra: La Plaga Mas Devastadora Del Mundo—a full Spanish-spoken translation for free on Wondrium’s YouTube channel and digital platforms.
Joseph Peckl, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Wondrium, provided more information on the journey to make Dr. Armstrong’s insights into the Black Death accessible to a wider audience.
An Appealing Project for Unprecedented Times
According to Peckl, adding other language options to the company’s lecture series has been a long time coming for Wondrium.
“Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, after Chinese, so we thought that would be a great place to start,” Peckl said. “The United States has over 41 million native Spanish speakers as well, so we thought that would be a great way to start with that audience and then obviously Mexico, Spain, Colombia, and Argentina are all places where we feel like the courses would do well.”
As for the selected course, The Black Death has become one of Wondrium’s most popular series. For example, when it was made available for free on Amazon for a month in English, The Black Death netted more than 1.2 million views. Additionally, the subject matter is relevant during a global pandemic without hitting too close to home, making it an obvious choice.
Getting the Word Out
With over 25-years producing lecture series—and promotional materials—in English, how does Wondrium break a language barrier?
“To make sure we get as broad a reach for this [project], we’re actually going out and finding some Spanish influencers, so they will be promoting this to their audiences, and also we’ll be doing some Spanish-language Facebook advertising to also drive some people to The Black Death,” Peckl said.
Working with both influencers and more traditional social media advertising ensures reaching a broader audience than either campaign would by itself.
Members will have access to La Peste Negra on Wondrium.com. The series will also be available free for a limited time on Wondrium’s YouTube channel, as well as for anyone that orders products through www.TheGreatCourses.com. For a limited time, those purchasers will find the Spanish language course added to their digital libraries for no additional charge.
Overall, bringing The Black Death into its second language is an even bigger endeavor than it sounds. When discussing the scope of the project, Peckl listed a half dozen different teams who proudly worked on it.
“It cuts across pretty much every department,” he said. “It’s touching every piece of the organization to get this done.”
“We’ve always felt that our courses are timeless and a lot of people are interested in them, and we feel like they’d be really great to translate because we think they’d hold up across any language that they’re translated into,” Peckl said. “Learning is a universal thing; everybody across the world are learners and being able to bring it to them in their native language is just a great thing.”