TED Translators at TEDSummit 2019: a full recap

Last week, we posted a quick update on TED Translators’ activities at TEDSummit 2019, and we promised to follow that up with more comprehensive coverage. So without further ado, here’s our full recap of TED Translators at TEDSummit 2019!


The translators kicked off the conference week on Friday—a few days before the official start of TEDSummit 2019—with a casual gathering among themselves, during which they got to meet and know each other over drinks and appetizers. After a warm welcome by TED Translators director Jenny Zurawell and deputy director Helena Batt, the translators shared their individual stories of traveling to and arriving in Edinburgh, and readied themselves for the next day’s full schedule of events.

Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

Saturday saw the TED Translators exploring Scotland’s capital city together. After walking through the picturesque Princes Street Gardens to the world-famous Edinburgh Castle and learning a bit of Scottish royal history along the way, the group wound down with an afternoon tea reception. Later in the evening, the translators reconvened for an intimate dinner at Cannonball Restaurant & Bar in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It just so happened that the veteran Scottish band The Proclaimers was playing a concert nearby, so a quick listen to their distinct, catchy rock music was in order before heading into the restaurant. The translators then sat down to a formal dinner and bonded further over question cards set on the tables; the questions varied from “What is one tip we should know when visiting your home city?” to “Can you do an impression of your favorite accent?”

Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

On Sunday, the TED Translators got down to brass tacks with an intensive workshop. The gathering began with presentations by both Jenny and Helena that respectively homed in on the growth of TED Translators since its inception 10 years ago, as well as exciting new partnerships and initiatives to support the community. Afterward, several translators offered their own individual presentations. To cite just a few of them: Maricene Crus discussed welcoming and mentoring new TED Translators; Cissy Yun focused on creating local-language style guides; and Khrystyna Romashko and Dina Bezsmertna looked at different ways to grow smaller language communities.

Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

TEDSummit 2019 got underway on Sunday night, and for the rest of the week the TED Translators immersed themselves in the conference’s panoply of talks, workshops and breakout sessions. What’s more, TED Translators received multiple thank-yous and shoutouts from the stage for their continual, vital work to make TED Talks accessible to language communities around the world. And, they received tons of love from the TED Speaker community — Amanda Palmer is a huge fan! All in all, then, TED Translators’ participation in TEDSummit 2019 was a resounding success, and we’re already looking forward to TED2020. Keep an eye out in the near future for applications to that and other TED gatherings!

Photo: Dian Lofton / TED

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