TED Translators culture series: local food with Oana Ramona Fagaras

Stuffed cabbage with meat and rice.

We’re switching gears in this third installment of our culture series to share one of our translator’s favorite local dishes with you. We recently chatted with TED Translator Oana Ramona Fagaras about sarmale, traditional Romanian cabbage rolls that are a Christmastime staple but delicious any time of year.

In addition to sour cabbage, sarmale are typically filled with rice and either pork or beef, and then topped with sour cream. There are several variations of the dish throughout Romania—sans rice or with bacon, for example—but whatever the combination of ingredients, sarmale are, as Oana told us, “a must-have every Christmas.”

“This dish is an important part of Romanian culinary culture,” Oana explained, “because it’s one of the few in the country that continue to be passed down from generation to generation in many families, often without any change to the families’ respective recipes. Making sarmale every Christmas, then, is a mother-daughter bonding ritual of sorts; when I was younger, just before the holiday each year, I’d spend hours in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother as they taught me how to make their version of the perfect rolls. We’d always turn out 80 to a hundred pieces, because when it comes to sarmale a little bit is never enough.”

Got a jones for sarmale now? Check out this recipe and try your own hand at cooking a batch. Poftă bună!

Highlights from TSCOW 2016

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Photo credit: Gonzalo Esteguy.

Happy New Year, everyone! As we head into 2017, we’d like to take a quick look back at the TEDx Southern Cone Organizers Workshop (TSCOW 2016), which was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, late last year. On October 23, the day after TEDxRíodelaPlata 2016, the workshop brought together TED Translators and organizers from 38 TEDx teams and 10 countries, including Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

One of TSCOW 2016’s main goals—to educate attendees on building and managing translation teams within their respective TEDx event teams—was tackled in a presentation by Gisela Giardino, a Spanish-language translator and TEDxRíodelaPlata team member. In addition, TED Translator and TEDxPESA curator Sebastian Betti reported on updates from TEDSummit, and recruited volunteers to transcribe, translate and coordinate TEDx translation teams. All in all, TSCOW 2016 proved to be a productive gathering for TED Translators and TEDx Organizers in the Southern Cone.

TED Translators culture series: local music with Mahmoud Aghiorly

For this week’s edition of the TED Translators culture series, we asked Arabic translator Mahmoud Aghiorly to tell us about one of his favorite songs by a local musician.

Mahmoud originally hails from Aleppo, a city in northwestern Syria that’s been (and continues to be) ravaged by the country’s five-year-old civil war. Though he now resides in Melbourne, Australia, both Syria and his hometown have been constantly, indelibly in Mahmoud’s heart and mind since leaving.

It makes sense, then, that he chose to share with us Sabah Fakhri’s rendition of the Arabic folk song “Ah Ya Helo” (English translation: “Oh Sweet”): it’s a bittersweet rumination on lost love—be that a person or one’s home—but also a song whose music radiates hopeful energy, a sense that loss can be transformed into something redemptive. You can find an English translation of “Ah Ya Helo” here, and you can learn more about the iconic Sabah Fakhri here.

TED Translators at TEDxKyoto and TEDxTokyo

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Natsuhiko Mizutani and Ai Tokimatsu at the TED Translators booth at TEDxKyoto.

Japanese TED Translators and TEDx-ers have a long history of collaborating to increase accessibility to TEDx talks. This year, as well as focusing on accessibility,  Japanese TED Translators aimed to grow their physical footprint at TEDx events throughout Japan.

In late October, at TEDxKyoto, Japan’s largest TEDx gathering, Natsuhiko Mizutani led a group of translators, including Yuko Yoshida and Ai Tokimatsu, in setting up a TED Translators booth to engage with attendees. They passed out TED Translators stickers and flyers with information about the program, and collected emails from potential volunteers. In addition, plans were finalized with TEDxKyoto and TEDxKobe organizers for a Japanese TED Translators workshop, which took place in early November.

Shortly after Kyoto, Natsuhiko and Ai were among 12 Japanese TED Translators invited to participate in TEDxTokyo by the event’s organizer. There, the translators networked with TEDx organizers and attendees, cultivating new relationships within the community and building on old ones.

“All in all,” Natsuhiko said, “both TEDxKyoto and TEDxTokyo were extremely productive gatherings; our presence as TED Translators ambassadors at each did quite a lot to raise awareness of our ongoing translation efforts and the greater Japanese translation community.”

Amara development news — November 2016

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Part of the new Videos page in development on Amara.

This month, Amara released several improvements to the editor. You may have already noticed these changes:

  • Subtitle help tray remains visible, regardless of scroll position
  • Larger, more functional timeline dragging handles
  • “Magic mode” auto-pausing updated and re-introduced to video playback options

TED and Amara have also been making steady progress on the second of three development phases, which will fully overhaul the Amara platform. Here are the latest updates from the Amara development team:

  • Phase 2 pages built, integrated and undergoing testing
  • TED and Amara teams planning to begin phase 3 development work, which includes:
    • New messaging center
    • Mentorship dashboard
    • UX for mentors and mentees
    • Subtitle diff page
    • UI refinements to integrated pages

Introducing the TED Translators culture series

Have you ever wondered what TED Translators’ interests, passions or pursuits are outside of their translation work? Well, to learn more about our dynamic volunteers, we’re starting a series of weekly posts that’ll highlight a particular TED Translator and an aspect of his or her culture that he or she finds consistently compelling, vitalizing or just plain interesting.

This week, we asked Serbian TED Translator Milenka Okuka to tell us about a moving piece of music from her home country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and she shared this excellent live performance by the MoRS Blues Band with us. The song is called “Emina,” and its lyrics are drawn from a 1902 poem of the same name by Bosnian Serb poet Aleksa Šantić. An English translation of “Emina” and a bit about its history can be found here.

Milenka had this to say about the song and performance: “Like Aleksa Šantić, I was born in Mostar, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so ‘Emina’ always reminds me of my beautiful home, especially since I now live in Montenegro. Also, this performance takes place at the opening ceremony of a traditional cliff-diving event on Stari Most, a 450-year-old bridge that spans the Neretva River, so one gets an intense sense of the majestic from watching it.”

Joining forces: TED Translators at TEDxCERN

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TED Translators pose near the “Wandering the immeasurable” sculpture and the Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN.

Twelve translators from around Europe arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, over the weekend to participate in TEDxCERN at the invitation of organizer Claudia Marcelloni de Oliveira.

“CERN is all about transparency and access to all. Translating materials into other languages is always an important part of our agenda,” said Marcelloni de Oliveira.

TED Translator Aurélie Goldblatt, who is also a CERN technical engineer and member of the TEDxCERN team, helped host the group, coordinating a program for translators that included a discussion panel called “The fully-automated human: How is technology augmenting our identities?” on Friday, a tour of the CERN facility as well as a special presentation by John Pym, head of the CERN Translation and Minutes Group.

“We were thrilled to work with Claudia to get TED Translators more involved. When TEDx organizers invite translators to their events, they not only grow their teams, but they also broaden the reach of their talks online and amplify the voices of their speakers. TEDx talks are more likely to be translated when translators share in the overall experience,” said Kristin Windbigler, director of the TED Translators program.

Many of the attending translators shared their excitement about visiting CERN. Dutch translator Rik Delaet, a retired science teacher, explained that he primarily focuses on translating science and medicine talks for students in Belgium, so the chance to attend an event at one of the most revered science institutions in the world was one he could not pass up. Polish Language Coordinator Kinga Skorupska said it was her teenage dream come true.

“It was thrilling to sit in the CERN cafeteria and hear scientists from around the world talking in multiple languages. Just like our program, CERN is a global exchange of ideas,” said Helene Batt, TED Translators distribution manager.

When translators attend TEDx events, cultures suddenly merge. Understanding and dialogue increases. People start to see beyond the complexities of language, and understand that we are not so different from one another.

In attendance were Kristin Windbigler, director of the TED Translators program, Helene Batt, translations distribution manager, Aurélie Goldblatt (French), Angelika Lueckert Leon (German), Tianshu Wang (Simplified Chinese), Annika Bidner (Swedish), Elena Montrasio (Italian), Kinga Skorupska (Polish and English), Muriel de Meo (Italian and English), Eric Vautier (French), Javi Garriz (Spanish), Rik Delaet (Dutch), Csaba Loki (Hungarian) and Moe Shoji (Japanese).