IAUNRC Graduate Assistant, Emily Stranger, reports on her involvement in IU CIBER’s project.
Since coming to Indiana University, I have fallen in love with the Persian language and culture. What began as a fledgling interest in the country of Iran soon became the focus of my graduate studies as I continued to learn about the country’s history and literature. I am also convinced that Persian food ranks number one among world cuisine!
I therefore became very excited when I was asked by the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center to help create the Persian module for a video series produced by the IU Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). The goal of CIBER’s Language and Culture Series is to provide business people and other interested parties with some basic language skills and cultural knowledge that could help them when they travel to any of the countries featured. Working together with the Center for Language Technology (CeLT) and drawing on regional expertise in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, CIBER had already completed video modules on the Hungarian, Polish, Swahili, and Thai languages. Persian was next in line (at that time, the United States had yet to pull out of the nuclear agreement and Iran was listed as one of the top 50 travel destinations in the world), and I jumped at the opportunity to be involved.
The entire project took almost six months to complete from start to finish. I began writing the scripts and creating PowerPoint presentations over the summer while I was studying abroad in Bishkek. I would then send the scripts and presentations to my partner, Sassan Zand Moqaddam, to correct or modify. We came to an early agreement that I would focus on the English parts of the scripts, and Sassan would focus on the Persian. Our first video provides a basic overview of Iran and Persian culture, followed by videos including basic greetings, a brief overview of the Persian alphabet, tips for maintaining politeness in Iran, numbers, transportation, and several others. My favorite topic, of course, was Persian food!
The videos were filmed and produced by Recording Technician Rebecca Ramsey of CeLT. Every Friday for several weeks, Sassan and I would meet Rebecca in CeLT’s recording studio on the 8th floor of Ballantine Hall. We would first complete a read-through of the scripts to correct any wonky wording, and then Sassan and I would record in front of the camera. Each session took about two hours – though noise from the ongoing construction at Ballantine meant we had to pause or re-record several of our lines. We finally finished during the last week of the fall semester which included a day of recording skits at the IMU.
This was my first time participating in a lengthy video project, and I learned a lot about video production and recording timetables. I hope that the videos will be useful to anyone planning to visit Iran, or simply interested in Persian language and culture. The modules will soon be available for viewing on the Kelley International YouTube channel and on the IU CIBER website.
The IU CIBER Language and Culture playlist can be viewed here.