Education For All: Volunteer In Coursera’s Global Translator Community

Saikat Basu 01-05-2014

Coursera is calling on volunteers. The MOOC platform has launched The Global Translator Community (GTC) program that will attempt to add translated subtitles to the 600 plus video courses on the site. Coursera observes that only 40% of “Courserians” live in English-speaking countries.


Translated video courses will immediately open up educational opportunities to a wider swathe of people around the world. Once the program kicks off, translated subtitles will be displayed for all students through a “closed captioning” tool at the bottom of the video player.


According to Coursera, the demand for translated subtitles for the video courses is a much requested feature. Subtitle translations can increase course enrollments among speakers of the translated language by up to 200-300%. Volunteers who want to help the learning community can join up via a simple form. Participants in the program will become part of a worldwide community and will be able to interact with each other and the Coursera staff on the community portal.

To volunteer for the program, you only need a high degree of fluency in both the source and the native language. There is no specific time commitment. GTC members will be fully supported by trained Language Coordinators. Coursera will also acknowledge the contribution of the community by inviting them for special events and awarding them special translator certificates.

The Global Translator Community program could also be a way to expand your personal learning while playing a positive role in making great educational content accessible for all. Does this crowdsourced project appeal to you? Tell us.


Source: Coursera Blog

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  1. Saikat B
    May 1, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Agree partly with your observation. Coursera is a for-profit educational company.

    I am not sure how exactly they will implement it on the ground, but according to their website the volunteers will be supported by Language Coordinators who will review the translations. They have listed some language partners -- the Lemann Foundation (Brazil), the Carlos Slim Foundation (Mexico), ABBYY Language Services (Russia), and Guokr (China).

    Courses on Coursera can be enrolled into for free. You have to pay for verified certificates and signature tracks. I think translated videos can be good for self-paced learning. And let's not forget -- it's an option. Previously, there was none.

    • Geoff S
      May 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Translation is a skilled profession. It is unlikely that Coursera would call for "volunteer" software engineers or video editors. Why does it regard those skills as worth investing money in and translation as something "volunteers" should do for free?
      See more on this here:

    • Saikat B
      May 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Nice read. Thanks for sharing that. I am definitely more aware now than I was a few days back.

  2. Alfredo
    May 1, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    As a professional translator, I cannot approve of this. If this were a really altruist, selfless initiave it would be all right for me. Unfortunately, they are proposing you to work for free for a private company which will make money from your intellectual effort without offering anything in exchange. Your work will only make the world a better place for Coursera's owners and shareholders.

    Besides, what about the end result? How many people is really prepared to translate college-level matters into other languages? Let me tell you it is not easy at all. Poorly translated subtitles and texts will only make it more difficult for people everywhere to learn anything.

  3. Saikat B
    May 1, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Great! The awareness should do some good.

  4. yes
    May 1, 2014 at 2:36 am

    this is awesome! i'll definitely sign up for this, too.

  5. Damien T
    May 1, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Signing up! Gonna make the world a better place!