Crowdsourcing Translations for Open Education

In January 2013, the Open.Michigan initiative within the Office of Enabling Technologies in Medical School Information Services partnered with the Language Resource Center on a crowdsourcing campaign to make some existing open educational resources more accessible to non-English speakers. The January – March 2013 pilot focused on 31 videos from their collection of open educational resources for health: 12 clinical microbiology videos co-authored by instructors in Ghana and Michigan and 19 disaster management videos co-authored by seven schools of public health in East Africa.

Read more details about the invitation to volunteers in January and the overview of results in March. Through the pilot, Open.Michigan learned a lot about the processes and tools for crowd-sourcing captions and translations. Additionally, the team affirmed the importance of captioning for increasing accessibility, for improved ease of searching within videos, and for enabling translations.

This is an ongoing effort, with expansion underway for other disciplines and additional languages. Open.Michigan has an open invitation to volunteer translators for those 31 videos and for additional materials in the University of Michigan collection of open educational resources. New languages will be posted on a rolling basis as the translations are completed. Sign up to translate.

In WInter 2013, two SI 545 students completed a design analysis of the process used for the translation pilot. Individuals interested in learning more about the open translation process and helping to improve it, contact the Open.Michigan team.

Image CC BY NC SA Tobias Mikkelsen (

Image CC BY NC SA Tobias Mikkelsen (