by Jorge Civera, UPV, Spain
As you may already know, the Excel 2010 and Search on the Internet MOOCS on EMMA are the first MOOCs being offered to our knowledge in three languages: Spanish, English and Italian. These MOOCs originally created in Spanish were first translated into English involving the translation of video subtitles and text content with the help of speech recognition and machine translation technology. This is the first natural step when you intend to provide your MOOC in multiple languages. English serves as a lingua franca in Europe and facilitates the translation of your MOOC into any other European language (Italian, in our case), as it is easy to find bilingual speakers in the desired target national language and English. This same approach is followed by the European Commission which generates the original version of any document in English and then translates it into the other 21 languages in Europe.
Here is how we have been producing trilingual MOOCS in EMMA. First we generate a draft automatic translation from Spanish into English. These draft translations are reviewed using a web interface that informs the Spanish-English user about the review status of each sentence, and correspondingly each document and video subtitle (not reviewed, partially reviewed, fully reviewed) in the MOOC. Once an English sentence has been reviewed, the Italian draft translation is automatically generated and an English-Italian user reads and corrects it (if necessary). This means that the computer assisted translation system behind the process just described detects when a translation has been already reviewed and automatically generates the corresponding translation. This allows us to work as in a pipeline, since Italian draft translations are immediately available once the English translations are checked. However, in practice, it is more convenient to define each lesson of a course as a review unit to avoid what is called a race condition. So, once a lesson has been fully reviewed, this lesson is automatically translated and declared ready to be reviewed. This functionality becomes very useful in the frequent event of updates in the original course, since changes must be quickly propagated to the other versions of the course as translations are reviewed.
Offering your MOOCs in multiple languages rapidly increases the potential number of learners, although it opens new challenges: the necessity of tutors covering the course language spectrum of your MOOC, images and videos included in the MOOC that should be language independent, and other aspects that should be taken into account when planning your MOOC in a multilingual format.