TED: Ideas worth spreading

I decided to spend the coronavirus lockdown in London and work on assignments and study for my exams from the comfort of my room.

Our flat also boasts a relatively large terrace which grew much more valuable as the UK government allowed only one hour of an outside exercise a day.

I got back to translating subtitles as a main source of procrastination during my study breaks. It’s been a couple of years when I first discovered how easy it is to contribute to the global TED and TEDx community. I suppose everyone already knows these educational videos from strictly organised conferences. It is a lesser known fact, however, that basically anyone can transcribe and translate the subtitles to these talks and help “spreading the ideas” across the language barriers. Although I’ve translated many different videos over the past years, the extra time spent in the London lockdown during coronavirus led to an exponential increase in my total score.

By translating subtitles from English to Czech, I not only get to learn from the videos myself but also practice my Czech. Similarly to many Czech students studying abroad, I also feel like I’m losing the natural intuition in my mother tongue and genuinely enjoy exploring the slight nuances in translations of certain words. Also, I force myself to remember Czech words that I haven’t used in a while and observe how my Czech is slowly disappearing with the increased everyday use of English.

Since the translator volunteers are given a choice on the videos to translate, I’ve discovered some interesting patterns in the English speaking TED and TEDx speeches. For example, the more story-based the speech is, the more interesting and engaging it can be. The subtitles also have a limited number of characters per second so the faster the speaker talks, the more difficult it is for translators to find the shortest possible translation of each phrase.

I’ve also moved from the general life-advice talks to more niche topics. I think I’m probably already an expert on how to find my purpose, luck, love and life balance. However, hearing a story of an ex-Google employer on the digitalisation of the US government, the struggles of a female flute player in the Boston Metropolitan Orchestra or the mathematicians explanation of political issues gives me more inspiration and motivation not only to translate more videos, but also to continue exploring and observing the world around me.






More blog articles

All news