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The Open Translation MOOC: creating online communities to transcend linguistic barriers

Beaven, Tita; Comas-Quinn, Anna; Hauck, Mirjam; de los Arcos, Beatriz and Lewis, Timothy (2013). The Open Translation MOOC: creating online communities to transcend linguistic barriers. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, article no. 18.

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One of the main barriers to the reuse of Open Educational Resources (OER) is language (OLnet, 2009). OER may be available but in a language that users cannot access, so a preliminary step to reuse is their translation or localization. One of the obvious solutions to the vast effort required to translate OER is to crowd-source the translation, as exemplified by Wikipedia (Wikipedia Translation) or TED (Ted Open Translation Project).

From October to December 2012 the Department of Languages at the Open University UK ran a MOOC on Open Translation Tools and Practices (OT12). Participants explored a range of online open translation tools (Amara, Transifex, Google Translator Toolkit) that enable and facilitate the crowdsourcing of translation, dubbing and subtitling. For this MOOC, participants collaborated in the translation and subtitling of OER mainly to and from English and Spanish, but also Portuguese, French, Greek, German and Catalan. Forum discussions, synchronous online sessions, recorded podcasts and the tasks themselves were designed to provide input, facilitate discussion and share views not only on the linguistic specificities of translating different languages, but also on issues such as quality assurance in open translation and the ethics and practicalities of openness in education and translation.

Data for this paper is drawn from online surveys covering participants' backgrounds and their prior experience as translators; their expectations and motivation for participating in the OT12 MOOC; and their evaluation of the outcomes of the MOOC.

We understand MOOCs as events (Cormier, 2010) or, following the principles of connectivism, catalysts for starting conversations within a network (Downes, 2011), and therefore feel that they might be a suitable way of engaging online communities of translators, language teachers and learners, and those interested in the crowdsourcing of translations for OER. This paper attempts to open up a debate on how the world of open education can harness crowdsourcing and existing open translation models to further the openness agenda.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 The authors
ISSN: 1365-893X
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
OT12 an open translation moocNot SetHigher Education Academy
Extra Information: Selected papers from OER13 Conference (March 2013) hosted at University of Nottingham. OER13: Evidence, Experiences and Expectation.
Keywords: MOOC; OER; open translation; crowdsourcing; open tools; open practices
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics > Languages
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI) > Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Language & Literacies
Related URLs:
Item ID: 39099
Depositing User: Tita Beaven
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2013 09:27
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 14:02
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