Producing For an International Audience

Felisha Liu - Producing for an international audience
Jake Macfarlane's picture Jake Macfarlane 2 years 7 months ago

It is the year 2017 and classrooms are no longer confined to just four walls - in fact, we're actually so technologically advanced that we have global classrooms with global audiences! I wanted to dive deeper into the whole concept of an Internet audience and how to accommodate to an international program.  I found two articles online which I'll be referencing to throughout this paper; "Opening the Doors to a Global Classroom: An International Social Media Collaboration" written by Lindsey Higgins, Marianne McGarry Wolf and Ann M. Torres from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA), and "Out of Practice: Writing Accurately and Readably for International Audiences" by John Kirkman, former Director of the Communication Studies Unit at the University of Wales. The first article emphasizes the use of technology to promote higher education and globalization opportunities. Essentially, this refers to more student engagement. An experimental survey was conducted between Irish and American students to evaluate their perceptions on social media and their engagement with course material. Differences immediately surfaced - each school's involvement with social media platforms varied. For example, the Irish students preferred Twitter for class related communications rather than sharing course content on Google Docs - the exact opposite was said for the US students. What the article is trying to say is that international collaboration may be difficult even with all this new and advanced technology. Lets take something we use everyday into account. The primary search engine we use here in Canada is Google. We say things like "Can you Google that" or "Did you Google it?" - but in Korea, their primary search engine is Naver, not Google. The way everyone searches for news on the Internet can very much fluctuate just from their geographical locations. This can become a problem when trying to collaborate worldwide. The second article is more of a guide on how to specifically write on a global scale/how to create a successful international program. To make a text "readable", it means your eyes and mind has to move interrupted with no pause in the decoding process. If there is a pause, it halts the procedure and makes the brain work even harder to figure out what the text actually means. Strategies to incorporate an international audience in a written script includes: 

Use short words and direct phrasing 
Reduce word count
Simple sentence structure and shorter length 

A major problem that can arise when writing for international audiences is assuming everyone has the same background knowledge. It's a constant struggle with including enough facts while still compromising everyone's accessibility demands. For example, someone from Canada may be an expert in topics such as Aboriginal residential schools but someone in Mexico may not know anything of it. Therefore, it'll be way more difficult to produce a show on Aboriginal residential schools internationally rather than just in Canada. Creating a show internationally may be super challenging, but the results if done correctly, will be greatly rewarding.