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Maja Covic


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What would be the best way to make Khan Academy go International?

Khan Academy is great for English speaking kids, but what about the other 5-6 billions? How to translate these videos with biggest bang for our buck? Each method has pros and cons.

Subtitles only:
+ fast & easy, consistent across many translators, many videos at once
- focus split between text and method, conflict between written and spoken

Voice-over only:
+ no conflict between languages, no split in focus
- Khan's writing in English, 1 tutor is slow - many break consistency

Voice-over + subtitles for writing
+ no conflict between languages, no split in focus, writing translated also
- speed of translation vs consistency of tutors

Remake in new language
+ all the benefits of Khan's original in the native language
- everything from scratch, slow and difficult, speed vs consistency (again)

Opinions, suggestions, corrections...?


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    Mar 10 2011: Great question!! Khan lovers out there, let's really get going!

    I think the best way would be: Voice-over + subtitles for writing when necessary, especially for the K12 subjects.

    However, certain advanced courses such as calculus, banking & finance can be made available for subtitles first (consider the learning ability of target audience, and many of them may need to improve on English as well) . Voice-over could be implemented over time.

    Something I'd like us to take note. There are a lot of teaching videos available online. But what made Khan Academy a big success has a lot to do with his unique teaching style. So there's already a lot of good effort put in there to establish it (remake everything seems a bit wasteful in that sense). And the consistency and complete structure of each course is also of paramount importance.

    My two-cents:

    People for each language get into teams. Test water and start from a particular course. Have the script translated by a few translators working simultaneously thus speed the process. Make the style consistent and relevant to the particular culture. Do the voice-over, and with great personality. Then get snowballing.

    Compare to TED open translation, this project is measured at least on the scale of a whole course instead of just one talk. So I imagine great leadership, teamwork and organization would be very important.


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