Complexity Explorer Santa Few Institute

Two international volunteers awarded T-shirts for subtitling

03 Oct 2014

The Complexity Explorer Project is excited to announce that it has awarded our first two free T-shirts to a pair of exceptionally committed volunteers who have each created subtitles for 120 minutes of our videos.  We greatly appreciate their dedication to making our course materials more widely available to individuals who do not speak English and have recently interviewed them to learn more about their experiences.

Zhiyang Wang 王志扬, is a research assistant from Shenzhen, China.  He decided to participate in the subtitling project in order to “deliver knowledge and culture to Chinese learners.”  Zhiyang noted that subtitling “may be a little difficult when the pronunciation of the professor is not clear, but most of the time it is fine with the help of YouTube auto-generated English subtitles.” Zhiyang found that translating subtitles provided him with a chance to address material in more depth than one might when only taking the course.  He explained, “as a learner, maybe I only need to watch each video once.  But as a translator, I need to watch each videos over and over again.”  He also noticed that the process provided him with a great sense of responsibility to help make this material available to other Chinese learners. He felt that, “so many Chinese learners who don’t speak English are waiting for subtitles anxiously.  Whenever I think about it, I always have a sense of responsibility.”  In this same vein, he recommended that other participants in the subtitling project remember that responsibility and the desired end result.  He recommends focusing on accuracy and suggests that translators, “watch the video again with your subtitles” to see how it feels as it will reflect future viewers experiences of the video.  Zhiyang’s major is in Control Systems, which is closely related to the courses taught by the Complexity Explorer Project including non-linear dynamic systems, which are complex.  When asked what his favorite part of the subtitling project was his answer was definitive, “the amazing T-shirt!”  Thank you Zhiyang for your hard work!

Marina Muscan is from Bucharest, Romania and works in public relations.  Marina decided to participate in the subtitling project because she felt that the subtitles would assist other who wanted to take part in the course.  She also noted that, “this also gave me an opportunity to thank the people who organize these wonderful courses because “Introduction to Complexity” helped me to finish my PhD Research Thesis.”  Marina enjoyed the process of creating subtitles because of the interesting content and explained that, “sometimes I was so caught by what the lecturer was talking about that I forgot when to press the arrow key to synchronize a line with audio so I had to review the entire section.”  During the process Marina said she learned to keep the sentences smaller in order to avoid covering up the screen and recommended that other volunteers do the same.  She also advised her fellow translators to review their subtitles several times to see if any improvements can be made.  When asked what drew her to the Complexity Explorer Project Marina highlighted the importance of Melanie Mitchell’s explanations.  She noted, “I am not mathematically inclined so I was particularly astonished that I managed to understand and finish the course.”  Marina enjoyed fully immersing herself in the material and was happy to contribute to “making these courses accessible to others.”  Thank you for your contribution Marina!

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