TED Translators at TED2019: a recap

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(Photograph by Dian Lofton.)

A few weeks ago, we posted a brief update on TED Translators’ activities at TED2019, and we promised a more in-depth recap to come. So, without further ado, we present to you our full report; check it out below!


The TED Translators contingent—made up of translators from 15 different cities around the world—kicked off their trip to TED2019 with a private dinner at Downtown Vancouver’s renowned Market by Jean-Georges restaurant. During this gathering, they had the opportunity to meet and mingle with each other, TED staff and TED’s Head of Media, Colin Helms. At one point in the evening, the translators shared their proudest moments as TED Translators. Carolina Aguirre, for example, recounted how volunteering with TED Translators enabled her to realize her passion for translating and subtitling—so much so that she changed her profession from law to full-time translation!

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(Photograph by Dian Lofton.)

Before the first session of TED2019 got underway, the TED Translators attended a working lunch and workshop. The translators broke into three groups based on their respective language communities and then discussed the common successes and challenges their language groups have experienced. The TED Translators also brainstormed various new means of engaging with and expanding their translation communities both on- and offline. What’s more, several members of TED’s tech team and TED’s Director of Audience Development, Carla Zanoni, joined the workshop to plan future partnerships with local TED Translators in order to grow TED’s overall global audience and presence.

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(Photograph by Dian Lofton.)

Toward the end of the week-long conference, TED Translators hosted a conversation with TED2016 Speaker Tim Urban. The discussion, which focused on the topic of procrastination, was open to other TED2019 attendees as well and took place just outside the Vancouver Convention Centre’s main theater. Tim explained that all forms of procrastination are not equal; there are countless productive ways to procrastinate. In fact, he specifically cited translation and the work of TED Translators as an example (sometimes) of productive procrastination! Asked to offer some concrete correctives to putting off tasks, Tim stressed not only the importance of setting personal goals and deadlines, but also the value in sharing goals and deadlines with family and friends so as to help keep oneself accountable and on track.

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TED2019 wrapped up a few days later, and as the TED Translators in attendance parted ways, there was unanimous agreement among them that they were leaving Vancouver with fresh knowledge and insights to bring back to their individual translation communities.


Apply for your TED2019 Translator Pass now!

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Greetings, Translators! We’re thrilled to announce that the application period for TED Translator Passes to TED2019 is now open. The gathering will run from April 15-19, 2019, in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. The TED Translator Pass covers the conference fee, and travel and accommodation expenses. Please note that you must be a TED Translator with at least one set of published subtitles in order to be eligible for a pass. The application deadline is Jan. 6, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. EST, and you can apply here.

The theme of TED2019 is “Bigger than us”. Under this banner, we’ll explore technologies that evoke wonder and tantalize with superhuman powers; mind-bending science that will drive the future as significantly as any politician; the design of cities and other powerful human systems that shape our lives; awe-inspiring, enlightening creativity; and most of all, the incredible possibilities that open up when we ask which ideas are truly worth fighting and living for. We hope you’ll join us!