Meet the TED Translators participating in TED2020

TED2020: Uncharted. (Photo: Gilberto Tadday/TED.)

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered much of the architecture of our lives over the past several months, and TED2020 is no exception. The annual flagship conference, originally set to take place in Vancouver, BC, in April, is now underway as an 8-week virtual gathering. The 10 TED Translators profiled below are currently participating in TED2020 and, as you’ll see, they’re quite a dynamic and prolific collective. Read on to learn more about them.


Hamzeh Koumakli (Syria)
Medical student, freelance translator

Hamzeh resides in Homs, Syria. At present, he’s an undergraduate medical student and a freelance translator for Infermedica. He discovered TED Talks in 2015, and he credits them for helping him endure some extremely rough times during the ongoing, 9-year-old war in Syria. In 2016, Hamzeh joined TED Translators and helped organize one of the first TEDx events in his country, TEDxMimasStreet, for which he’s now the lead organizer. Recently, Hamzeh became a TED Translators Mentor for the Arabic-language community.

Daniela Pardo (Mexico)
Audiovisual translator

Daniela, who’s based in Mexico, recently received her university degree in audiovisual translation. She’s also studied translation abroad, in Spain and Germany, and she plans to pursue a master’s degree in her field. Daniela originally joined TED Translators in order to hone her translation skills for her profession, but, as she says, “I’ve gained much more than that. It’s fantastic how TED Translators unites people around the world who all strive for the same goal: to share novel ideas as far and wide as possible.”

Yingjie Zhang (China)
Medical engineering student

Yingjie currently studies medical engineering at China’s Tianjin University. As a TED Translator, her biggest satisfaction is spreading diverse ideas over language barriers. When she’s not translating TED Talks, Yingjie also translates rock-music lyrics and enjoys listening to rock music and watching movies.

Shimaa Nabil (Egypt)
Veterinarian

Born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, Shimaa holds both a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine and a microbiology diploma from Cairo University. She joined TED Translators primarily to increase and enrich online Arabic content, and to “break boundaries between different cultures.”

Nicoletta Pedrana (Italy)
Client-service professional

Nicoletta hails from Milan, Italy, and holds a bachelor’s degree in tourism and foreign languages (English, French and German). She credits her time studying in Germany, where she lived in a multicultural community, for opening her eyes to how huge and fascinating our world is. As a TED Translator, Nicoletta’s aim is to “spread as many seeds of positivity as possible,” particularly new advances in science and technology. When she’s not busy translating or working at a manufacturing company, you can find her hiking or skiing in the Italian Alps.

Yekaterina Jussupova (Kazakhstan)
Directing manager in the restaurant industry

Originally from Almaty, Kazakhstan, Yekaterina currently resides in Karaganda, where she’s worked as a software engineer, a journalist and an editor. She’s now both a directing manager of a restaurant and a self-taught graphic designer. Yekaterina joined TED Translators’ Russian-language community in 2013, initially just seeking to improve her English skills. “However,” she says, “translating quickly became an integral part of my life, and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to translate TED Talks and TED-Ed lessons and share their powerful ideas with new viewers.”

Yunjung Nam (South Korea and the U.S.)
Teacher, doctoral student

Yunjung was born in Busan, South Korea, and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she’s studying applied linguistics and teaching English and Korean at Georgia State University. Her TED Translators journey began when she first joined TEDxBusan’s organizing team and then TED Translators shortly thereafter. Yunjung’s main goal as a TED Translator has been to use her deep knowledge of language and linguistics to make TED content more accessible to viewers around the world.

Claudia Sander (Brazil)
Systems analyst

Claudia resides in Porto Alegre, Brazil, with her husband and daughter, where she works as a systems analyst at a public IT firm. She chanced upon TED Translators on Facebook in 2015, a discovery that she says “opened up for me a new world of seemingly infinite possibilities and perspectives.” Joining TED Translators has given Claudia the opportunity to become a Brazilian Portuguese Language Coordinator (LC), a TEDxLaçador co-organizer and to attend both TEDWomen 2016 and TED2020. “I love being part of and contributing to the Brazilian Portuguese TED Translators community,” she says. “And I’m always trying to help improve the onboarding experience for new volunteers.”

Yolanda Zhang (China and the U.S.)
Freelance translator

Born and raised in China, Yolanda currently works as a freelance translator in California. She joined TED Translators in 2014, while pursuing a graduate degree in the U.S. As a TED Translator, Yolanda seeks to increase interdisciplinary and intercultural communication by sharing and promoting some of the world’s most inspiring ideas. When she isn’t translating, Yolanda spends her time reading, listening to music, and wine tasting.

Ade Indarta (Indonesia)
Freelance translator

Ade was born and raised in a small town in Central Java, Indonesia, called Pekalongan. He holds both a bachelor’s degree in English literature and an MBA. Ade joined TED Translators in 2011, but he’s worked as a professional translator since 2002. Now living in Batam, Indonesia, with his family, he heads the Professional Development Committee of The Association of Indonesian Translators (HPI). In his free time, Ade enjoys hanging out with his two daughters, as well as reading and writing poetry.

Nihal Aksakal (Turkey)
Student, freelance translator

A native of Antalya, Turkey, Nihal lives and works as a freelance translator in the Mediterranean city. She holds a degree in translation and interpretation from Kirikkale University, and she’s taught English to students preparing for their ESL exams. In her free time, Nihal participates in various social responsibility projects and she enjoys photography, listening to and playing music, and reading.

Keyur Thakkar (India)
IT student

Keyur is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer application and IT at Gujarat University. He was introduced to TED Translators by one of his university’s faculty members, and has since then translated over three dozen TED Talks into multiple regional Indian languages. For Keyur, TED Translators is a global family of fellow volunteers who are all working toward a common goal: to spread groundbreaking ideas as far and wide as possible.

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