TED Translators get innovative during COVID-19 quarantine // Part 2

We recently published the first installment of our multi-part series focusing on several of the inventive ways that TED Translators have managed to continue subtitling and organizing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re pleased to share with you part two, for which we spoke with French TED Translator and Language Coordinator (LC) Morgane Quilfen.

Morgane and a group of her colleagues in the French language community conducted a 24-hour online transcribe-athon in early April that yielded a remarkable 19 published transcripts, as well as nearly two dozen more in progress.

“Before the event kicked off,” Morgane told us, “the organizers created a website where new volunteers who had signed up to participate in the transcibe-athon could familiarize themselves with TED Translators’ guidelines and best practices. The site also listed about 120 talks that needed transcribing.”

The event started at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, and wrapped up the following afternoon. At least one of three LCs was online at any given time to assist the 20 volunteers while they worked. “In addition,” Morgane explained, “everybody involved used the transcribe-athon’s Facebook page to exchange helpful links and other important information regarding their transcripts.”

A Zoom video chat ran throughout the entire event in order for the LCs to conduct brief teaching sessions and so participants could ask questions of or just say hello to their colleagues in real time. The livestream, Morgane reported, also facilitated hourly interviews with veteran TED Translators and TEDx organizers based in France and Japan.

Morgane further told us that about 70% of the transcribe-athon’s participants were new transcribers, most of whom had learned about the event via Facebook—either on the French TED Translators group page or the French TEDx organizers’ page.

“Overall,” Morgane said, “everyone who took part in this project was quite happy with its results—especially because it gave new TED Translators the unique opportunity to jump right into working on TED Talks while simultaneously receiving guidance and feedback from LCs. This transcribe-athon undoubtedly helped expand and strengthen the French community.”


P.S. If you’d like to host a TED Translators virtual workshop, discussion session, or translate-athon / transcribe-athon, or if you’re part of a TEDx team looking to recruit TED Translators for your online event, feel free to reach out to us at translate@ted.com. We’re here to support you!

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