Connecting over idioms from around the world

Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED

Across languages, idioms express ideas that can be difficult to pin down if you only consider literal meaning. Cultural context is key. TED Translators overcome this same challenge when they subtitle TED Talks. Translators build a cultural frame for speakers’ ideas with the words they choose to preserve meaning for viewers in their language.

This week at TEDSummit, 47 TED Translators are using idioms from their native languages to connect with Summit attendees. The idioms were illustrated by London-based artist Masahito Leo Takeuchi. His illustrations have been turned into stickers that attendees can collect from the translators they meet. Translators explain to attendees what the idiom means, oftentimes in exchange for a little song and dance, or an idiom in the attendee’s own language.

Check out the full set of idiom stickers, and watch this short video about how they’re connecting TEDSummit attendees.

8 thoughts on “Connecting over idioms from around the world

  1. This is so cool! Hope you guys are having a great time there and come back (or go back to your countries) with a lot of good and exciting news for all of us translators, so we can do an even better job than we are doing now! I’m so proud to be part of this project! 🙂
    Enjoy it and have a safe and nice trip back home everyone! Peace to all! 😉

  2. Such a great project! Can you tell me if there is a document available with the meanings of these idioms in English?

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