Meet the winners of our second annual TEDWomen subtitling contest

To celebrate TEDWomen 2020, we recently hosted our second annual subtitling contest to spotlight novel ideas that female speakers from around the world are sharing. The TED Translators who participated were asked to select a TED or TEDx talk given by a female speaker, and then collaborate with a reviewer or Language Coordinator to create and publish subtitles for their talk within a month.

What was on the line prize-wise? A gratis conference pass to TEDWomen 2020; each winner’s choice of a subscription to Audible, Babbel or Headspace; and a TED Translators blog feature highlighting all of the winning teams.

A huge number of TED Translators took part in this year’s contest, and we can’t overemphasize that every entry we received was sincere and thoughtful in its own way. A hearty thank-you to everybody who participated! Without further ado, check out the winners and their timely and incisive submissions below.

Razaw Salar Hassan, Zhila Mawlood and Daban Jaff

Translated talk: Khalida Brohi: How I work to protect women from honor killings

Here’s what Razaw told us about why she translated into Kurdish the devastating-yet-hopeful talk that Khalida Brohi delivered at TEDGlobal 2014.

Khalida’s talk really hit home for me for several urgent reasons. To start, one of my friends was murdered by her father and brothers in a so-called “honor killing” here in Kurdistan. This hideous crime is perpetrated against women and girls in many different countries, from Brazil to the U.K. to Iraq to Pakistan to the U.S., and its prevalence among the traditionally conservative Kurdish culture is horrifying. The “honor killing” of women and girls here, as elsewhere, stems from a largely non-secular patriarchal society that regards male repression of and violence toward “dishonorable” females as both legitimate and necessary. It’s no surprise, then, that, also as in other countries, men who murder women and girls in Kurdistan in the name of “honor” are never punished for their crimes.

As a woman, a human being, I want to help raise awareness of and fight against this abhorrent practice. One way I knew I could do so was translating Khalida’s talk into Kurdish; I saw my translation as a vehicle to teach Kurdish women, who often turn a blind eye to or even support “honor killings,” that men’s pride should never dictate the self-determination of women and girls. What’s more, increased social and economic freedom for women and girls enhances societies and humanity as a whole. Women’s struggles against patriarchal oppression and repression (including “honor killings”), therefore, are inseparable from local, national and international movements for racial, political, sexual and economic self-determination. And it’s in this fight where real honor lies.

Anna Ryu, Sarah Jeon and Jihyeon Kim

Translated talk: Karen Scrivener: A concrete idea to reduce carbon emissions

Here’s what Anna had to say on why she translated Karen Scrivener’s groundbreaking Countdown talk into Korean.

I decided to translate Karen’s Countdown talk because it proposes a practical and sustainable large-scale means of potentially slowing manmade climate change in a big way — a development that’s very important to me as a biotechnology major. The more I’ve studied climate change caused by humans, the more I’ve realized that it’s both massively interconnected and at odds with economic growth. I’ve simultaneously come to understand that many of the methods offered up to us as countermeasures to climate change are micro-level and ultimately ineffective.

In that context, Karen’s talk on manufacturing cement (which is vital to the building industry around the world, and especially in South Korea) that could reduce concrete’s colossal level of carbon emissions by up to 40 percent showed me a remarkable new approach to driving back the advance of climate change — and it could be implemented on a global scale without shuttering whole economies. Learning about Karen’s work was an epiphany for me with regard to my (and so many others’) concerns about climate change, and so it felt necessary to me to translate and share her talk with my fellow Koreans.

Baan Alzoubi and Allam Zedan

Translated talk: Joy Buolamwini: Code4Rights, Code4All

Why did Baan translate Joy Buolamwini’s bold and timely TEDxBeaconStreet 2016 talk into Arabic? Read on below to find out.

I have been trying to see where curiosity would lead me the last year or two, and for the last couple of months, it has been programming and computer science. I can positively say that it is slowly becoming something I might be passionate about. Although the speaker meant algorithms that would result in exclusionary practices for minorities, I have been noticing how as a woman, I have been excluded from the world of IT, and it’s always nice to see women in STEM. I do wonder often about what it would’ve been like if I was more exposed to STEM fields myself as a teen. However, I have made it a personal goal to find that out now, and so far I am very much into coding, data science, and physics. I’m definitely no expert, but I am looking forward to seeing where curiosity leads me.

Kejia Rui and Yanyan Hong

Translated talk: Carola Rackete: Save trees and refugees

Kejia gives us a brief breakdown of why she chose to translate Carola Rackete’s must-watch talk at TEDxAmsterdam 2019 into Simplified Chinese.

The protection of human rights and the environment are inarguably two of the most (if not the most) urgent crises we face today. Furthermore, both are inextricably linked to each other. Carola’s talk, which is informed by her work as a ship captain rescuing refugees and migrants at sea and as an ecologist, deftly deconstructs eco-fascism, which prioritizes saving trees over saving human lives. Moreover, and particularly as a teacher, I view Carola and what she’s courageously accomplished as exemplary of how we can circumvent the limits power tries to impose on us and enact real change in the world. All of which is to say that I translated her talk because it (like Carola) is indispensable for those of us who seek to preserve humanity.