Shaikh Mohammad lends his voice to an educational video during his visit to the Translation Factory Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: More than 300 volunteers have helped translate more than 1,500 educational videos and three million words as part of the Translation Challenge, it was announced on Monday.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, visited the Translation Factory to follow-up on the Translation Challenge.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid and Shaikh Hamdan also participated in the Challenge by lending their voices to an educational video.

Shaikh Hamdan lends his voice to an educational video. Dubai Media Office

The Challenge, launched in September 2017, calls for translating 5,000 educational videos and 11 million words of educational content into Arabic. It falls under the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Arabic eLearning Project that will offer over 50 million Arab students from kindergarten to grade 12 around the world access to 5,000 educational videos for free.

The Translation Factory is a simulation of the Challenge’s mechanisms and processes, including how the team goes about translating content and preparing it for video production in Arabic, before producing all the videos.

During a tour of the Translation Factory, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid oversaw the launch of the content approval phase, in line with the current curriculum, as well as the formation of study groups who will evaluate the quality of the videos before their official launch in October. He also reviewed video selection, content translation and voiceovers for the videos.

Since the Challenge was launched, approximately 30 per cent of the content has been Arabised and produced. The completed videos will be subject to a final evaluation before being officially approved and published on a special platform developed on the Mohammad Bin Rashid Arab eLearning Project website.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid praised the volunteers for their zeal.

“We are fuelled by the energy and enthusiasm shared amongst the Translation Challenge volunteers. We have one team of thousands of volunteers to start a new phase in the education of the Arab world. Our students need to have access to advanced educational content, and the Mohammad Bin Rashid eLearning Project will be the largest platform to provide it,” he said.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid stressed that Maths and sciences in Arab schools are key to resuming Arab civilisation and translating these educational materials into Arabic is key.

“We need to provide support to maths and sciences material in our schools, and to encourage and support our students in these fields, so that we can shape a generation of Arab scientists, researchers and thinkers. This is the fastest way to bridging the education gap in the Arab world,” he said.

“Translation is the foundation of an Arab renaissance, and opens the doors to invaluable knowledge.”

How the Translation Factory works

The Translation Factory in Dubai was a live simulation of the Translation Challenge’s mechanisms and processes. It was a full day presentation of all the stages of the challenge, including translation, review, sound recording and production design. Volunteers from Arab countries worked as editors, supervisors, fact checkers, technicians, creative designers and commentators. The Translation Factory also included students from UAE schools, in different grades, who learned about the process of Arabisation from their teachers before they watched and evaluated the final videos. Here’s how it works:

■ It has several workstations similar to organised production lines. Work is divided into stages and distributed to different platforms.

■ This includes educational videos from the latest international curricula for various grades whose content is transcribed, translated into Arabic, reviewed and audited under the supervision of teachers, editors and professionals.

■ The text is matched with approved educational curricula and integrated into the Arabic curriculum through audio commentary, which is then professionally produced with visuals and graphics to enhance its quality.

■ Finally, it is presented to a group of students from grades 7 to 12 to be assessed for content, design, accuracy and clarity.

Specialised volunteers

■ Since its launch in September 2017, the Translation Challenge has attracted more than 50,000 volunteers in the fields of translation, voiceover and video production, and publication. The volunteers went through several assessments before more than 2,500 were selected from across the Arab world due to their expertise. The volunteers include teachers, engineers, researchers, university students, employees, retirees, technicians, graphic designers and more. They work in their countries in coordination with the Translation Challenge Committee in Dubai.