Young Translators

Who are we?

We are an online community of volunteers translating high quality educational and informational content from English to world languages targeting underprivileged youth in developing countries. Currently we are working with Vetrivel Foundation to translate Khan Academy exercises, TED videos and StoryWeaver stories into Tamil.

Tamil is just the beginning and we would like to create a successful model that can be replicated to other world languages in the future.

Why do we do this?

Many of us may be aware of the deficiencies in the educational system in other parts of the world, especially for students in rural under-privileged conditions. But there are no dearth of talented and motivated students even in those areas who would flourish if only they could access world quality content such as Khan Academy on their own. Language is often a big barrier, so by making the content available in their native languages, we would like to enable those students to empower themselves to success.

Many of our teen volunteers are first generation immigrants from India growing up in USA but have strong roots to their mother tongue Tamil through family. They may have limited skills with it but they are socially conscious and motivated to help their counterparts in India living in a much less privileged conditions . We provide an opportunity to do that from the comfort of their homes while collaborating with like minded individuals online.

What we have done

We have grown from a small team of four students in the beginning of 2020 to about 100 teen and adult volunteers. We have successfully translated 3rd grade through 7th grade Mathematics materials in Khan Academy and recently started venturing into translating other contents such as TED videos and StoryWeaver stories.

How can you help?

We are looking for volunteers of all ages and varying levels of Tamil skills. The opportunities include researching the subject differences between US and Indian text books, participating/assisting with online translation sessions, finding and fixing translation errors, improving the quality of translations etc.

If you are a teenager with limited Tamil skills, volunteer via assisted online translation sessions conducted on a weekly basis. Please read through some of the common questions about how this works. If you are an adult willing to help with any of other opportunities mentioned above, join as one of adult volunteers. Here are some details on how adult volunteers can help.

We are also looking for subject experts in Tamil and STEM subjects who can help with the nuances of technical translations. Current or retired teachers who have taught Tamil medium schools with an interest in community service would be an ideal fit. If you know of anyone, please let us know!

Young Translators from Los Angeles Tamil School at work

"The Khan Academy Tamil Translation Program helps kids in India learn math skills in Tamil. We translate English questions from Khan Academy to Tamil. This helps kids with limited exposure to English language progress in Math easier. We meet for an hour every week to translate Math questions/problems from English to Tamil. During the meeting, we have support from other student volunteers and adults to clarify word choices/translations. After translating all the questions, we start entering them on the Khan Academy website matching all the special tags/widgets, etc. In the future, I plan to continue volunteering for the Vetrivel Foundation even after I graduate from Los Angeles Tamil School, where I learn Tamil Language. I like knowing that I am helping kids. Not only are we helping kids in India, but we are also getting extra practice with our Tamil skills. It’s a win-win for me and the kids half-way across the world!"

Pooja Harikrishnan, Age 13, Los Angeles Tamil School

See more testimonials