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So I'm studying the translation for broadcasting and three terms (well, excluding one, which I'll mention at the end) are given to me by a textbook. They are 播出, 廣播 and 轉播.

For the life of me I cannot figure out the difference between them, but I have a few theories.

I believe that 廣播 is only referencing spoken announcements (broadcast over the radio or a speaker), while 轉播 and 播出 seem a lot more open and interchangeable. The examples the book mentions for these last two words are broadcasting a sports event and a presidential speech (respectively) on TV.

If anyone can further explain to me how these synonyms differentiate from one another, I'd appreciate it.

Also, 播 by itself is the other entry in the book, but it's not really my major concern.

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The key here is to look at the meanings of individual characters to determine the subtle differences.

廣 means wide or broad. It is a commonly used term to denote a radio or television broadcast. Remember, a broadcast is exactly what it says it is: casting out a broad signal that can be picked up by any receiver.

轉 means turn, shift or change. While close in meaning to a broadcast, I think the subtlety here is encapsulated by the English term "relay" -- as in, a Chinese broadcasting service (like CCTV) might buy the rights to rebroadcast (or relay) the English Premier League which is originally broadcast by Sky Sports (for example, I have no idea who actually does the original broadcast). What this means is they essentially take the already-broadcast signal and just repackage it for Chinese television. I believe the difference therefore lies in the origin of the broadcast. 轉播 implies that the source of the broadcast is from elsewhere, merely being relayed on by whoever is doing the action.

In the case of 播出, the character 出 implies some outgoing nature of the signal. It implies a propagation outward, an airing of something, a transmission. Thus you might consider "airing the President's speech." It could easily be called 廣播, but 播出 really carries the weight of directionality with it. It is clearly a message that is being sent FROM the source outwardly TO many receivers, and you would choose this word when you want to emphasize the action that the source of the broadcast is taking. In simpler words: this is a verb, so use it when you want to show action, whereas the other two words could be verbs but are usually used as nouns (i.e. "the broadcast" and "the relay" vs "to air" "to transmit")

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I believe that 廣播 is only referencing spoken announcements (broadcast over the radio or a speaker)

Right, 廣播 is audio message passed by radio.

播出 can be verb means broadcast. For example, 這個星期會播出新節目。(The new program will be broadcasted this week.)

轉播 can means video transmission. For example, 球賽轉播(Video transmission of ball game.)

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