TED Translators at TED2018: Hany Eldalees

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In our final TED Translators at TED2018 spotlight, we talk to Arabic TED Translator Hany Eldalees. As some of you may remember from this post, Hany was unable to attend TED2018 because the Canadian government denied him a visa. However, that won’t stop us from bringing you a brief but illuminating conversation with Hany that conveys (as his responses prove) what a brilliant, dedicated translator and individual he is. See for yourself below.


How long have you been translating with TED Translators? What initially drew you to TED Translators, and what keeps you going?

I started my journey with TED Translators in early 2015. But I was familiar with TED Talks before then, and I well understood their power to educate viewers on an enormous array of subjects. Because I believe that even a small idea can change a person’s life positively, and because I want to contribute to the spread of ideas which empower people, it made perfect sense to me to begin translating into Arabic the talks I find most insightful, compelling, inspiring, etc., in order to make them accessible to a larger Arabic-speaking audience. And this continues to be my mission with TED Translators.

Out of all the TED Talks you’ve translated, which one stands as your favorite?

I can’t pin down just one talk. That said, three-dimensional printing fascinates me, so I’ve translated a number of TED Talks related to that. 3D printing enables the relatively quick production of a variety of extremely useful objects, like medical equipment and musical instruments; and, because it’s a somewhat new and rapidly evolving “industry,” those folks working in it are quite free to share and enhance their designs with each other around the world. Given this, 3D printing has the potential to be even more of a revolutionary development than it’s been to date.

What do you do when you’re not busy translating?

My previous answer may make this one obvious, but I love building 3D models—ships, cars, buildings—especially because, as a model takes shape in my hand, I gain more appreciation for the mechanical or architectural brilliance it contains. I also love reading.

The theme of TED2018 is The Age of Amazement. Can you tell us about an amazing idea, event or person from your country that/whom you think more folks should know about?

I’d like more people to know about the Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII) in Qatar, the first institution of its kind in the Arabian Gulf region and where I earned my master’s degree in audiovisual translation (the first degree of its kind in the Arab world). Also offering a master’s in translation studies, TII was founded by Dr. Amal Al-Malki, who, after becoming Founding Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) at Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar Foundation, transferred TII to the university and established it as the core of the CHSS. TII, I believe, is doing much to grow and strengthen the Arab world’s translation and interpreting communities, and I encourage everybody who reads this interview to learn more about the institute and the excellent work being done there (and even to visit, if you can!).

TED Translators represent at TED2018

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(Photo credit: Lawrence Sumulong/TED.)

TED2018 got under way in Vancouver, BC, earlier this week, and speakers and attendees there have been immersing themselves in amazing ideas for a few days now. TED Translators sent a contingent of remarkable folks (pictured above) from around the world to represent the TED translation community at the conference. Over the next week, we’ll bring you more in-depth coverage of TED2018 and TED Translators’ activities there, so stay tuned!

TED Translators at TED2018: Analia Padin

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This week’s TED Translators at TED2018 feature turns the spotlight on Argentinian TED Translator Analia Padin. Read on to learn more about why she can’t stop translating, how to deliver an artful TED Talk, a few of Argentina’s natural wonders and more.


How long have you been translating with TED Translators? What initially drew you to TED Translators, and what keeps you going?

I started translating with TED in the summer of 2017. I was drawn to TED Translators for a combination of reasons: I love learning and exploring new ideas, I love languages and translating, and I wanted to volunteer for a good cause; TED allows me to do all of these, so it’s perfect for me.

What keeps me going? I can’t really stop! Translating TED Talks has become a sort of “happy place” for me, and I can’t imagine not doing it. I take great satisfaction in researching a topic, finding the best word, polishing a translation until it’s just right and helping out with the extraordinary amount of work we have to do. I’m extremely proud to be part of the TED Translators team.

Out of all the TED Talks you’ve translated, which one stands as your favorite?

One of my favorites so far is “His name was Nikola Tesla”, by physicist and storyteller Hadar Lazar. It’s quite a poetic talk, and Hadar is very expressive onstage—a great example of how you can artfully talk about science.

What do you do when you’re not busy translating?

When I’m not translating (or working, or spending time with my family), I like to hone my language skills with books and films in different languages. Also, I started playing piano 18 months ago and I try to practice as much as I can.  

The theme of TED2018 is The Age of Amazement. Can you tell us about an amazing idea, event or person from your country that/whom you think more folks should know about?

Argentina is an amazing country with a variety of landscapes: subtropical forests; arid mountains; fertile, grassy plains; and nearly 5,000 kilometers of Atlantic coastline.

One of the most stunning places to visit is Los Glaciares National Park in the Patagonia region, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding natural beauty. Nestled in the Andes mountain range, the park’s name stems from the fact that roughly half its surface is covered by glaciers and multiple glacial lakes, including Argentino Lake, which, with a surface area of 1,415 square kilometers, is the largest freshwater lake in Argentina. Some of the glaciers are prone to calving into the icy, milky waters of the lake, creating spectacular splashes and floating icebergs.

Perhaps the most striking site in the park is the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. At 60 meters tall and with an approximate area of 200 square meters, it is almost as big as Buenos Aires. What makes this glacier so special, though, is not so much its size (it’s not even the largest in the park) as the fact that it’s still growing and expanding, while most glaciers in the world are shrinking due to global warming. Glaciologists continue to debate the reason for this. What’s more, Perito Moreno possesses one of the most awesome natural phenomena on Earth. As it advances, it forms a dam that blocks a narrow channel in Argentino Lake called Brazo Rico, cutting off this passage from the rest of the lake. This obstruction causes Brazo Rico to fill with water produced by other glacial melting and from various rivers, to the point where the channel rises nearly 30 meters above the lake’s water level. The buildup of water in Brazo Rico creates enormous pressure that pushes against Perito Moreno, and gradually melts and carves a passage through the glacier to Argentino Lake. This process not only balances the water levels on both sides of the glacier, but it also forms Perito Moreno’s famous ice bridge and can cause this structure to rupture roughly every four to five years (though sometimes more often), when the bridge becomes too thin to support its own weight. The most recent rupture occurred on March 12 of this year, but it couldn’t be witnessed because it came crashing down at night. Prior to that, Perito Moreno last ruptured in March 2016, and the event was broadcast on live TV. Quite an amazing sight, especially if you’re lucky enough to catch it in person.

TED Translators in São Paulo for TEDxCampinas and more

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A few of the fine folks who attended TEDxCampinas. (Photo by Sarah Esteves Tambur.)

On March 17, TEDxCampinas went down near the city of São Paulo, Brazil, at the Municipal Theater José Castro Mendes. The sold-out event was organized by veteran TED Translator and TED2017 Translator delegate Mario Gioto, and had as its theme O Presente do Amanhã (The Gift of Tomorrow). Over 700 attendees (including a number of TED Translators) converged on the theater to hear talks by a dozen speakers from all over the country. One of these speakers, Daniel Dias, a Brazilian world-record-holding paralympian, moved the audience to a standing ovation with his talk. Jenny Zurawell and Helene Batt, TED Translators’ director and deputy director, respectively, also took to the stage to represent the TED Translators program and highlight some of its recent achievements. TED Translators received a hearty round of applause when Jenny and Helene announced that Brazilian TED Translators have collectively translated over 6,000 talks to date.

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Jenny Zurawell and Helene Batt represent TED Translators at TEDxCampinas. TED Translator Gustavo Rocha live interprets. (Photo by Leandro Tortella Storytellers / TEDxCampinas.)

The day after TEDxCampinas, 25 TED Translators gathered for a workshop at the iconic KAÁ Restaurant in central São Paulo. The participants, who ranged from new to veteran translators to Language Coordinators, broke into small groups to discuss a range of issues related to TED, TED Translators and ideas worth spreading throughout Brazil. A few of the key topics: various ways to motivate fellow volunteers; how to encourage more review-task completions; and how to elevate translation quality overall. Following the workshop the translators headed to Ibirapuera Park, where some continued their discussions and others relaxed or played games. The day came to a close as the sun set over São Paulo and a palpable energy filled the air—an energy which made clear that the weekend’s events were just the start of bigger future developments in the Brazilian Portuguese translation community.

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TED Translators in Ibirapuera Park. (Photo by Aviva Nassimi.)

 

TED Translators at TED2018: Tomoyuki Suzuki

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Our third installment of TED Translators at TED2018 features Japanese TED Translator Tomoyuki Suzuki. Among other things, he discusses with us the satisfaction that translation brings him, a Japanese professor who’s navigating new frontiers in mathematics and the frightening possibility of “the singularity.”


How long have you been translating with TED Translators? What initially drew you to TED Translators, and what keeps you going?

It’s been over four years since the thrill of discovering TED Talks inspired me to join TED Translators so I could help other folks access the novel ideas I encountered (and continue to encounter) in the talks.

One of my biggest motivations for my work with TED Translators is the “eureka” moment that occurs when I find the optimal word, phrase, sentence, etc. for a translation: Not only am I doing justice to the talk, but I’m also improving my translating skills. In addition, meeting and staying in touch with other TED Translators always energizes me.

Out of all the TED Talks you’ve translated, which one stands as your favorite?

Renowned physicist Martin Rees’s talk “Is this our final century?” In it, Rees explains the fabric of the universe, from its most granular subatomic components to its larger structures, before he examines our ever-accelerating technological development and how it could possibly doom the human (and other) species in the future.

What do you do when you’re not busy translating?

I love books; I read one or two a week. I also enjoy wandering around and exploring new places.

The theme of TED2018 is The Age of Amazement. Can you tell us about an amazing idea, event or person from your country that/whom you think more folks should know about?

I would like more people in the world to know about Professor Shinichi Mochizuki, a mathematician who teaches at the University of Kyoto. In 2014, he introduced and developed the p-adic Teichmüller theory, which, as you can see, is extremely complicated—so much so that it takes several years’ work to validate the theory. (Professor Mochizuki, as a result, runs workshops to help those mathematicians who are interested in doing so to better understand the theory.)

I bring all this up not just because I want to share with you Professor Mochizuki’s brilliance, but also because I believe Professor Mochizuki and his theory demonstrate the limitless potential of the human mind—a potential that I think we must continually remind ourselves of and maximize as artificial intelligence (AI) gains in its capabilities. While AI promises us plenty of beneficial innovation, it behooves us to be vigilant and wary of AI’s hyperspeed progress. Left unimpeded, advances in AI will eventually lead us to a point in our history often called “the singularity,” when AI will exceed human intelligence and continue doing so exponentially as artificial general intelligence (AGI), thereby surpassing (to say the least) even our most ingenious capabilities. It’s no exaggeration, then, to say that the singularity is AI’s existential threat to humankind. But it’s a threat whose realization we can avoid—if we use our own intelligence and reason to responsibly develop AI. And so we should regard brilliant minds like Professor Mochizuki—and all of those who show us the boundless power of our brains—as testaments to the fact that we humans possess the means to both push forward and control AI.

TED Translators at TED2018: Leila Ataie

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In this week’s edition of TED Translators at TED2018, we chat with Iranian TED Translator Leila Ataie about the “therapeutic” value of translation, her favorite TED Talks, the Jalali calendar and several other topics. Check out the interview below!


How long have you been translating with TED Translators? What initially drew you to TED Translators, and what keeps you going?

I joined TED Translators in 2013, with the desire to share TED’s inspiring talks and their ideas with my fellow Iranians. Education, I believe, is power. I must admit, though, that working with TED Translators has become “therapeutic” for me, too: It’s done a lot to further my personal exploration and growth.

Out of all the TED Talks you’ve translated, which one stands as your favorite?

It’s difficult for me to pick a favorite; I have many. In general, I gravitate toward talks in the fields of photojournalism, AI and GMO sciences, and humanitarianism.

What do you do when you’re not busy translating?

I love to travel to and explore new parts of the world. At home, I usually spend time with my family and friends, work out and read. Reading, especially, has been vital to me since I was a child; it’s one of the first ways I learned I could discover new ideas, people and places.

The theme of TED2018 is The Age of Amazement. Can you tell us about an amazing idea, event or person from your country that/whom you think more folks should know about?

Many people around the world aren’t aware that Iran follows its own calendar, one that’s more exact than the widely used Gregorian version. The Iranian calendar, known as the Jalali calendar, has its roots in the 11th century, when Seljuk Sultan Jalal al-Din Malik Shah I, the calendar’s namesake, convened a committee of astronomers to devise a more accurate way to track the years. Omar Khayyam, the Iranian poet perhaps best known for his work The Rubaiyat, was among the scientists on the committee. Though the Jalali calendar followed in Iran today has been refined over the centuries, it still hews quite close to its original model.

TED Translators at TED2018: Maricene Crus

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Last week, we introduced you to the TED Translators slated to attend TED2018 in April. As we’ve done in the past, we’re following up with several of these folks to get to know them a bit better. Our first mini-interview is with Maricene Crus, a Brazilian film translator and English teacher, who was gracious enough to tell us about what fuels her as a TED Translator, her activities outside of translation, an amazing Brazilian doctor and more.


How long have you been translating with TED Translators? What initially drew you to TED Translators, and what keeps you going?

I’ve worked with TED Translators since November 2014. After using TED Talks as engaging and effective teaching tools in my English classes, and after a move out of São Paulo took me away from my longtime volunteering with GRAACC, I decided to join TED Translators to both contribute to TED and give myself a new way to volunteer.

As for what keeps me going with TED Translators, a big factor is the recognition I receive for mentoring the incredible translators in our community on a daily basis.

Out of all the TED Talks you’ve translated, which one stands as your favorite?

Ah, there are so many, but I love this talk by Linda Cliatt-Wayman with all my heart.

What do you do when you’re not busy translating?

I love hanging out and playing with my nieces and nephew whenever I can. I also enjoy watching movies, walks in the park, reading and craftwork (especially fuxico).

The theme of TED2018 is The Age of Amazement. Can you tell us about an amazing idea, event or person from your country that/whom you think more folks should know about?

I think the world should know more about Dr. Sérgio Petrilli, a brilliant 71-year-old pediatric oncologist and an incredible human being. In 1991, he helped mobilize doctors, volunteers and partners to found GRAACC. Since then, thanks to donations and a great business-management model, the hospital has grown from an old two-story house into an eight-story state-of-the-art complex that each year treats, free of charge, over 15,000 cancer-afflicted children and adolescents from all over Brazil—with a 70-percent success rate in most cases. Dr. Petrilli’s leadership has also overseen numerous important scientific studies at GRAACC, including stem-cell research in pursuit of cures for various forms of cancer. What’s more, the hospital provides gratis lodging and emotional support for the families of patients that come from outside São Paulo and cannot afford these services on their own.

I am proud to have worked with this vital and respected institution, and I’m thrilled to have had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Petrilli, a man of impeccable character and dignity who embodies professionalism and humanitarianism.