WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, saying that the nation's Hispanics are being shut off from most television news programming, announced Monday it will offer a Spanish version of the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour.

On Jan. 14, the Public Broadcasting System program will become the first major national American news program to carry a simultaneous Spanish translation, said CPB President Don Ledwig.

The Spanish version, called NewsHour en Espanol, will be available in 36 cities, including Washington and New York, under a corporation grant of $290,000 to cover a year's costs.

A Spanish version was tested in 25 selected cities for two weeks in September, and the response was generally positive, Ledwig said.

''Spanish is the second most predominant language used in the country, and U.S. Census Bureau figures show that the Hispanic population is growing five times faster than the population as a whole,'' he added.

NewsHour correspondent Judy Woodruff said the service will fill an information void that has been ignored for too long.

''As a program of news in depth, we have a lot to offer to a Spanish- speaking audience,'' Ms. Woodruff said. ''We provide thorough coverage of events - national and international news - that would be of interest to Hispanics as well as everyone else.''

The Spanish service will only be available to households that have either stereo television receivers, stereo video cassette recorders or stereo adaptor capabilities.

The project will use translators from the United Nations.

About 35 percent of all Spanish-speaking households in the nation will be able to receive the broadcast.