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Coming Soon: TED Open Translation Project
Julia Levitt, 26 Apr 09

alexTEDtalk_270.jpgTED has already proven itself an invaluable resource in the English-speaking world. Now it's about to unveil a new project that will catapult its archive of mind-bending talks to a new global public. Through the TED Open Translation Project, volunteers will be able to translate approved transcripts of their favorite talks into their native language. Approved translations will become available to the public – free as always – as subtitles to accompany each talk.

TED worked with partners at dotSUB, a user-generated, wiki-type tool for translating subtitles for documentaries and other video content, to develop the Open Translation Project. The crowd-sourced model allows TED to continue its support of open-source solutions. But more importantly, says June Cohen of TED Media, it will extend the reach of the project beyond "a handful of major languages … This approach is scalable, and -- importantly -- allows speakers of less-dominant languages an equal opportunity to spread ideas within their communities and in their native tongues."

When the project launches officially a few weeks from now, the site will include 250 complete translations by volunteer translators representing more than 30 languages.

The newly published transcripts of each talk – available in English and any language that volunteers have added -- will also make it possible for the first time to search for specific words and phrases within a TEDTalk.

If any multilingual Worldchangers want to translate Alex Steffen's TED talk, we'd greatly appreciate your help!

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Where would translators go to undertake their favorite TED segment translation?

Posted by: Valentini Mellas on 26 Apr 09

Valentini, the TED Open Translation Project hasn't yet officially launched -- it still has a few more weeks to go. We will post an update with instructions for volunteer translators when we know the project is ready to accept your help. (I've also re-titled this post to make it less confusing.) Thanks for your interest!

Posted by: Julia on 26 Apr 09

TED had reinvented inspiration. To get some, one just has to play any of their videos.
A translation would enable people worldwide to enjoy it.

Yet, how about the other way around - Bringing speakers in foreign languages to TED and translating their presentations to English?

Posted by: Ofer on 30 Apr 09

It would be nice if they spent a few bucks on captioning the videos for deaf and hard of hearing folks also.

Posted by: Tbone on 30 Apr 09

Tbone, you're right -- the Open Translation Project will also make the videos accessible for the hearing impaired. As I mention above, each video will now be accompanied by an English transcript. Those will be available as subtitles. Non-English subtitles will be available in any language that volunteer translators contribute.

Posted by: Julia on 30 Apr 09

I love Alex's 2005 TEDTalk, the stories he told on Worldchanging and on the TED stage has been constant source of inspiration for me. I just cannot resist not giving it a try and put it into Chinese:

Posted by: Tony Yet on 12 May 09

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