Won't the translations be inaccurate?
Oh yes! But this is part of the attraction of the project, as well as being rendered in the mother tongue the out of copyright texts are also adapted (a little more than is usual in a translation – for all translations are also to some extent cultural adaptations) this makes them more useful. But it may mean that some sort of peer review process should be built in, to ensure that undesirable errors do not creep in. I doubt this needs to be formalised. Since the new “text” is semi-oral and since semi-oral cultures have a flexibility to adapt their texts, the pastor would rework and improve any chapter that their colleagues question.
How will we ensure that busy senior pastors actually find time to do the translating?
First, not a lot of time is needed, just read a chapter, then reread it a paragraph at a time and speak it in their mother tongue. Say two hours for a chapter, once they have done a couple during a training day, and done the first few more slowly on their own. Second, the laptop itself is a carrot. It stays under their authority as long as they produce an agreed number of chapters – becoming their possession after an agreed period. Third, the fact that they are producing this resource is a source of honour (mana etc.) and the fact that it is in their voice will also add to their authority in other things.
Senior pastors won't be able to master the unfamiliar technology!
How many senior pastors do you know who do not have children (and/or grandchildren, nieces, nephews...) in their household. How much training do you think those guys will need? But it is true not all will be able or willing to support the project. Many useful medicines cannot be tolerated by some patients, Penicillin is a well-known example, this does not stop their use among the rest of the population!
There will be a lot of new technology to break down and support!
Not a lot. Most of the distribution can be to existing mobile phones or MP3 players. So, for each district you are looking at one laptop (the OLPCs are designed to be rugged and if they are becoming the possession of the families there is an interest in protecting them) and perhaps several MP3 players (they are also very rugged and now quite cheap <$20 retail). You would naturally use the laptop model that is that is chosen for the national education system, or one for which support should be available. And anyway, how much does it cost under the old print system to get books to pastors? And they are culturally inappropriate books, in foreign languages!
This scheme gives the power to the local church!
Yes! Great isn't it :) Print allowed foreign missions, missionaries and ministries to produce “great” resources for the poor people people of the land. This way they get assisted to produce resources for themselves. If they start out doing Matthew Henry in Kisangali, how long do you think it will take before some pastors also produce their own “texts” dealing with locally raised issues? Where has print ever achieved that degree of localisation?
This scheme will reduce the motivation for literacy in places with low literacy rates :(
First, get your priorities right! What are you about? Helping people become clones of the West? Or deepening their understanding? Second, if you think this little project will have a bigger impact than radio, TV and mobile phones you have a higher view of its potential than I have ;) Literacy as we have known it for 500 years is under threat, but this project will not contribute much to the change, though it does work with it rather than resist... “Literacy” and “books” are not idols to be worshiped but a technology and skill that are no longer as dominant as they once were – do not make the dominant technology of the past a fetish object!
As you might expect, book publishing in India is enormously complex: 80,000 books are published a year by 16,000 different publishers in India's 22 major languages. Translation happens between Indian languages and to and from non-Indian languages. Piracy is a major issue: a number of contributors bemoan the fact that anything published in Bengali is immediately pirated in Bangladesh (and shortly thereafter on sale in the shops of my neighborhood in Queens).Mohini Rao in one of the articles in the book mentioned above wrote
We are facing the post-literacy problems even before achieving complete literacy. We are coping with the information revolution even as we struggle with pre-industrial problems. . . . According to the report of the committee on TV software, '. . . Electronic media like the radio and TV have the potential of transcending the literacy barrier and therefore also the class barrier.' TV has made it possible for the non-literate masses to have access to information, and consequently, to the fruits of development without first crossing the literacy barrier. People belonging to the pre-industrial era can take a leap into the post-industrial era without passing through the stages through which the West had to pass.I listen to the (also often stimulating) Digital Planet podcasts (I believe they are also broadcast) from the BBC world service. While in Brazil (another huge and rapidly developing economy and culture) the presenter visited a radio station whose playlists are chosen by listeners.
Photo Jack HynesAn exam is like a military campaign, first comes the strategy, so the first post deals with how to plan your campaignHow to pass exams: Part One: Revision it covers issues like selecting topics to revise and preparing notes (rather than just writing down everything). Working with others is an important way to focus and sharpen your revision (by collaborating you get more bang for your buck, or more % for your hours) so take a quick look at How to pass exams: Part Two: Collaborative Revision and then even if you are not naturally sociable get working in a team and talking to others with the same exam as you.
FootnotesNow most of this makes perfect sense, "Print all page numbers up to and including 99 in full, e.g. 16–18, 94–99" gotcha "for 100 and upwards use the least number of figures, e.g. 322–30, 522–3;" gotcha, "but write 116–18, not 116–8; 210–11, not 210–1 (where confusion might otherwise arise)" UH? What confusion might arise if I wrote 116-8? because from their own previous example if it was 116-128 I would have written 116-28.
Print all page numbers up to and including 99 in full, e.g. 16–18, 94–99; for 100 and upwards use the least number of figures, e.g. 322–30, 522–3; but write 116–18, not 116–8; 210–11, not 210–1 (where confusion might otherwise arise).
Only the first and last hour of the marathon are on the normal TV channel of the state broadcaster. The rest is on one of the broadcaster's satellite channels, so not very accessible to Italians (although it can be watched live on Internet as well). This created quite a few complaints from Italians - I have had more comments on this fact than on any other on my blog. I don't believe there are only plans to distribute the video after the event. By the way, most of the readers are not celebrities, but "normal" people that signed up to read a chapter.To me this just indicates the failure of traditional models of distribution to get to grips with the possibilities of electronic media.
I really love the fact that so much academic material is now distributed free of charge: the Oriental Institute is offering their treasure-trove of publications gratis, lectures on every conceivable topic from thermodynamics to Thermopylae are available on institutional sites as well as iTunes U, free online journals have arisen, and individual scholars are putting their work on their websites.
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