#GALAChampion: Anna Berns
In this series of interviews, GALA members share their insights on the pursuit of globalization & localization brilliance.
Anna Berns, International Content Program Manager at Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization that provides free educational resources to learners around the globe.
(The transcript has been edited for length.)
What’s in a Job Title
My role entails community management, technical support, partnerships and marketing, and I am an international evangelist in general.
I started out as a Product Manager for secure human rights documentation software, where most of our users were outside the US. We added 10 languages over the course of my time working on it, collaborated with both volunteer and paid translators, learned about right-to-left and other fun L10N challenges, and I fell in love with seeing the software show up in other languages (even if I couldn't read them!). As the tools and the industry evolved, I learned more about localization and gained different experiences that helped me focus not only on specific languages, but on the language industry as whole, both around technical aspects/tools and processes.
What is Khan Academy?
Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization, providing free educational resources to learners, teachers, and families globally. While we started out being known for math videos, we now have many other subjects and have developed practice exercises, teacher tools and more.
Where and how is Khan Academy used globally?
We have users in 190 countries, both independent learners and in classrooms, and websites in 50+ languages, for a total of 100M+ users (over 15M learners per month). In 2020 we had 12B+ minutes of learning on our sites, with 50% of our monthly users outside US
How does Khan Academy, as a non-profit, manage localization?
We partner with amazing language advocate organizations for the rest of our languages. In addition to translation of content, we do curriculum mapping/alignment (often in collaboration with a local Ministry of Education) to make the content relevant and useful for schools. We also use a combination of off-the-shelf and in-house built tools to manage video/text/curriculum mapping etc.
Where GALA Fits In
I don't even remember how I learned about GALA initially, I feel like I've known about it for a while - must have been from general exposure in L10N/i18n groups (maybe on LinkedIn?).
I joined GALA mostly to get access to all the amazing resources (e.g. webinars and more) for me and my team/organization colleagues, but also to be part of a community of like-minded folks who care about and get excited about global tools and topics. I have really loved the sessions around how to make L10N more strategic in organizations, and sessions around BiDi languages.
Joining a Special Interest Group
I like being able to learn from and share with others who are implementing multilingual projects (and not folks selling product/services :-) .)
I can't always attend the sessions in person, but love that they are recorded for later watching, and that there is a way for members to chat outside of the sessions as well.
While I only played a small part in this, I'm very proud that Khan Academy (as a nonprofit, and with very limited resources), with assistance from an amazing community of "language advocate" partners around the globe, reached the milestone of 50 language sites to bring free world-class educational resources to learners across the globe!
Not to limit yourself to your job description - some of the most fun work you discover (and new roles) might come from seeing something else that needed doing, and just doing it!
Networking Tips & Techniques
Be willing to connect with folks from many different levels and many different roles - you never know when you may be able to help them, or they may be able to help you, in the future.
Professionally, I draw inspiration from the stories/testimonials of children (and adults) who used Khan Academy to learn something new, to help them when they were struggling with a concept, to prepare for a new job, to give them opportunity for a better life.