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.