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Would you translate (or spread) a TED talk if you didn't agree with it's topic or the speaker's point of view?

I think, I've said it all in the title.

Would you translate a TED talk even if you did not agree with it? Do you think that people will feel you agree if they see your name written next to it?

Would you be willing to spread ideas, even if you did not agree with them?

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    Apr 25 2012: Dear Dimitra,

    I wanted to say "yes", at first. I would translate a talk I don't agree with. I think I've reviewed talks I don't agree with. I like to learn new and different opinions, and share different ideas.

    But then I remembered there was one talk that at first seemed interesting, but after hearing the speaker, I chose to ignore it because I strongly disagreed with what he said. This opportunity, however, made me think differently. I decided I'm going to translate it and maybe learn something new in the process. Because, every time I translate, I go deeper into the subject, find out something that wasn't there on the first glance. I can stil disagree with his words, but I can also give other people a chance to agree ar disagree.

    Thank you for this conversation and everyone who contributed!
  • Apr 25 2012: The reason I joined the open translation project was to help spread ideas I felt were worth spreading. There are way too many TED videos out there and far too little time to translate all the ones I've loved, much less the ones I didn't.

    Nevertheless, I agree with the point you made in one of your posts: even if I disagree with a video, translating it would allow for a bigger audience and a bigger audience would mean more people to think about the idea, criticize it and even refine it.

    Now, having said the above, I should also mention that so far I haven't watched a single TED video that I felt opposed to. All the reactions I recall having ranged from "meh =/ " to "AWESOME!! o/", never "OUTRAGEOUS!! >("

    As for the second part of your question, yes, I believe people would automatically assume I agree with the video. We're all volunteers here, we don't need to translate these videos to make a living, so it seems natural to me that one would assume I chose a particular video because I liked something about it. Of course a volunteer could only be translating in order to hone their skills and choosing videos solely based on how easy or hard the English transcript looks, but I don't think the average viewer would bother thinking that deeply into the matter :p
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    Apr 25 2012: I do translate :) cause It helps me to open my mind to other prospective.... it is hard to start, but you enjoy at the end and also learn a lot :)
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    Apr 22 2012: Thank you, dearest Mary M. For me it is a great pleasure to translate TED Talks as a volunteer.... Translation is also my job. But maybe when you volunteer you do a priceless job ;)
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    Apr 22 2012: Translating and forwarding a talk are, to me, different. I am not a translator so I will discuss the spreading of an idea I am not in agreement with. A week ago I read a conversation that suggested all girls would manditorially lose their virginity by the age of 18. I strongly objected to the subject on many grounds and that this subject let alone the act was a insult to women and akin to rape. I spoke strongly against and would never endorse or send this to anyone. I would like to believe that I hold certain morals and principals that ex-president Clinton does not practice. I would however, listen to his views on US policy. I would like to think that I am fair but also realize that in some areas I am bias. So I would have to say that it would depend on the topic and the speakers point of view. I told a "homeless guy" I would give him $5 to talk to me for a few minutes. He said he was happy with his life and that he made about $200 to $300 a day. I ask him if he wanted a job and he ask why he would want to change. He thinks the people who give him money are fools. Maybe he has it right. We pay Al Gore a lot of money to be the face of Global warming while he lives in non-energy houses at more than a million apiece, travels in a massive polluting jet, and has been called one of the largest carbon footprinters of all times. Yet we listen to him as he says "we" are destroying the planet. Why. I am sure that you can name others that preach one thing and practice another. Don't ask a veteran about "Hanoi Jane" Fonda who was a traitor to the United States and offered aid and comfort to the enemy. But even TED ignored the facts about her and asked her to talk and has it in the TED files. I hope that TED did not agree with her politics but allowed her a opportunity to speak. If I pass it on and do not agree I say so. I'm to old for silly games. All the best. Bob
    • Apr 22 2012: :)
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        Apr 22 2012: Sorry Mary I value your opinion but no reply came though. Bob
        • Apr 22 2012: Robert, how could you not see the happy face...........that was me smiling at your comment. Guess I assumed you understand sign

          Truly, I enjoyed your comment.......I did not want to add anything else..I wanted it to stand all on it's own. Thank you
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    May 11 2012: Yes. I feel that if you disagree with something others will too. Some might also agree with the speaker, but you must give them a chance to either agree or disagree. If not, well what's the point?
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    May 7 2012: Translating is a technical act, supportive in general of the principles of your chosen TED community.
    Agreeing with a particular speaker or presentation is a personal act, specifically supportive of the idea(s) presented.

    Translating is NOT spreading, it is simply enhancing the accessibility of a work. Potential readers still get to decide if they want to read it. Of those who choose to read it, each gets to decide if they agree - in whole or in part - with the work. That decision belongs to the readers, not the translator.

    Maybe the most persuasive and artful rebuttal of an idea you don't agree with will come from someone who read YOUR translation! Democracy is neither easy nor pretty!
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    Apr 30 2012: I open my earsto what everyone has to say but if the idea is BS I could not find myself to translate something that I find horribly wrong
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    Apr 30 2012: yeah, i would. From my perspective, we should respect other's idea no matter what it is. As for whether it is true or not, people have their own different points of view. There is no person having totally same opinion.
  • Apr 24 2012: Your question started me thinking about censure where do you draw the line? history has taught that it is a double edge sword. What a society believes is a proper way to express its ideology while stopping those within that society from expressing there own counter ideas about how that society should be,takes away freedom of expression and this only happens in societies that have little faith in the people who live there which creates oppression .In a strong society freedom of speech is welcomed if you take the best of those ideas and use them to better the society.Sadly this place does not exist yet ,but I believe it is possible these seeds have been planted in many countries in history usually after a bloody revolution that started because of an idea.Look at the history of any revolution and the first thing the victors declared was that this was the beginning of a utopia where all men are created equal,well we know how that worked out .I hope the day will come when man has evolved to where he trusts his fellow men to do the right thing ,so that questions like this Dimitra , will never be asked again.By the way I have been to your city it is beautiful .
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    Apr 24 2012: Sometimes if you didn't agree with any topic discussed here... there may be reasons that your interpretation is not perfect and in that case you shall refrain yourself from translating. Although this is just one of the possibility. Personally, I take translations which I love from the bottom of my heart so as to spread that word in my language perfectly. It will surely be difficult if I am in mode of complete disagreement with any topic.
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    Apr 23 2012: If I did not agree with a concept I would try to form an intelligent rebuttal, If I could not put an intelligent disagreement to paper then I would do a lot of research before I put my name next to anything
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    Apr 22 2012: No.
    And yes.

    Dimitra Papageorgiou, I spread the ideas presented in TED talks all the time. I can't say that I end up agreeing with any of them. As I do with most of my reading, I anticipate the possibility of complete correctness and accuracy. Then I imagine the speaker or writer having a conversation with someone with an opposing view. I let them challenge each other.

    I share what I have noticed and what I agree with and what I don't agree with. Mostly my decision to share or not share comes from my conclusions about the importance of the topic.

    Greek and French? An interesting collection of languages you have.

    I cannot translate very well into Spanish, my only other language, but if translating was the task at hand, I would do my best to stay true to the intent of the speaker or writer. (I would still want to say what III think, somewhere, somehow.)

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    Apr 22 2012: No, I probably won't, but is there a system of removing unappealing ideas, if there were any? Though I want to add that all ideas are worth examing, so others can learn what to do or what not to do. I guess I should rephrase that I would spread the idea and how it isn't a good idea or one that I agree with. =)
  • Apr 22 2012: Wouldn't NOT translating 'what we don't agree with' simply amount to another form of censorship?

    Don't we have enough problems with dealing with "fredom of information issues", without complicating it by trying to judge the information's merit?

    I don't agree with a lot of things I've heard and seen, from a lot of places, but the fact remains that I had access to it, and was able to determine its merit on my own...

    As for myself, I would be pleased to debate the validity of content that I (personally) had translated, if it were to happen... but I could only speak for my own opinions.

    As for other people thinking that I agreed with it, I'm sure they would soon recognise that the translation was only a task, not a belief.
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    Apr 21 2012: Most of the times i translate TED talks just because i want to practice my English/Greek.Picking the right word (even when there is no exact translation) is a challenge i'm always willing to take!.I don't really agree that when people see my name next to the video they will think that i agree with the idea.And i don't do it so as the people see my name next to it.
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    Apr 21 2012: TED is one new Babel Tower. With a lot of translators, speakers, lenguges, ideas and words for millions....

    Really are we prepared to speak in interlingua franca?,,,,why all has to be said in be polite, for courtesy...why not in other lenguages? Traduttore ,traditore ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡
    • Apr 22 2012: Jaime...omeedeto gozaimasu!!! Me gustan tus ideas.....genial. :)

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    Apr 21 2012: When you translate, I don't think most readers consider you an author. In terms of whether you should refuse to spread or translate talks you don't agree with, I think there are distinct cases within that category.
    Being open-minded means we should be willing to listen to the arguments people make for positions we don't agree with. We might change our views, but even if we don't, it is beneficial to understamd the thinking of those who have a different point of view. An example here might be a talk by an atheist or by a believer. I think whichever point of view you hold, it advances understanding in the world if we all hear intelligent and thoughtful arguments from either sort of speaker.
    Moving perhaps outside the TED arena, if what you read or hear is something that is not just an opposing point of view but goes beyond this to being truly reprehensible, like slander or racism, I would not translate or spread it. This situation would not arise in TED but fits in the context of your broader question "Would you be willing to spread ideas, even if you didn't agree with them?"
  • Apr 21 2012: Dimitra,

    Here is a video of an author being interviewed......listen to the advice her mother gave her, perhaps it will help you have peace with whatever decision you make.

    Be Well
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      Apr 21 2012: Hi Mary,

      I have already translated several TED talks that I don't agree 100% in order to discuss them with Greek friends.
      I don't consider my point of view to be the only valid or true, therefore I don't mind considering ideas that initially feel strange or wrong to me.
      It is surprising how useful a strange idea may prove to be or how much it may change your point of view.
      You may even find, that after all, there are aspects you can totally agree upon and that can lead to a world that respectfully embraces diversity.
      • Apr 21 2012: Humility Dimitra, yes, we cannot consider our point of view the only valid one.

        And, many times, it is the ideas that I most disagree with that time and again I meditate on. Because of the desire of understanding the others' point of view.

        Thank you so much for replying to my comment.

        I had a very good friend from Greece who lived overseas the same as me, we did some travelling together, her name was Elizabeth. I still remember the Greek phrase she taught me till this day..

        Be Well
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      Apr 22 2012: Thank you for sharing the video of Elizabeth Gilbert. Beautiful, indeed.
      • Apr 22 2012: You are welcome :)
  • May 18 2012: Absolutely not.
  • May 17 2012: Would TED post a topic that is real talk about rich people where the entry fee starts at $7,500—and reaches heights of $125,000?
  • May 17 2012: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" -Evelyn Beatrice Hall kinda summed it up. But would I personally refuse to translate something I despised? Yes I would. In actively participating in its release, you are lending yourself to it's dissemination. I also would do nothing to prevent it's dissemination.
  • May 16 2012: I do frequently if i think the view is well stated and interesting. I have enjoyed talks that are different than my prospective in dramatic ways, and I think help us to see the world better even if I don't agree with all or perhaps any of the content.

    Translating I can see a legitimate issue on the other hand and if I spoke a second language well enough I would have more difficulty feeling I was doing the translation justice if I either didn't understand the speaker or did not come from similar prospective. The better I think I understand the case being made the more I would be tempted to translate even if I disagree with view.

    If it was a political leader I would also be more tempted to attempt a translation. What's in their head matters more as they have realistic and direct power.

    Final point I think it has more to do with your respect of the speaker than your agreement.
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    May 16 2012: I sometimes run into this at work. I am not the only person on the planet. If I disagree with the content or ideas I would not perpetuate or further disseminate. Someone else without an issue can disseminate it. It does not have to be me.
  • May 14 2012: I do in fact always create dialog on topics of discussion that I don't agree with. The purpose is to get ideas and perspectives on topics that I might not be familiar with and that may even change my own way of thinking. I always appreciate difference in all of its forms. Afterall, it's the reason I come ot TED.
  • May 13 2012: Sincerely, no. I think that disagreeing means not can one cooperate with the dissemination of anything he/she think is wrong?
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    May 12 2012: Depends how much I was against them, I may like Mohammad said not be able to find the motivation to do it but if I very strongly disagree'd with it then I would still probably do it if no one else was willing to do it but feel a little down as I said it and wouldn't sound as inspiring.
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    May 12 2012: I would spread it. However I may not translate it voluntarily. Voluntary translation jobs requires huge motivation that this translation is going to help the people of my community. Now if I do not agree to a certain talk I may not find that motivation to start translating it.
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    May 7 2012: I would say that as individuals, we do not have much power to say that one idea is universally wrong. All we can do i agree, partially agree or not agree. I couldn't picture myself translating or spreading the idea i do not fancy. Partially because i am bad at translating, but majorly because it would be a misleading sign that i share the same thought. It could be done only if I was to wright a comment with it describing my opinion.
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    May 7 2012: I think people like to help sharing ideas they are belie in. Even if someone does it, it changes the whole agenda of translation and effectiveness of it.
    So i don't think I would do it.
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    May 5 2012: Most of the time I would say yes and I have actually done it before. I think information is incredibly valuable and necessary in order to have an informed opinion and a convincing argument. You need to be prepared to speak against ideas and topics in which you do not agree with the conclusions. Thus, sharing topics and talks with others and explaining why I disagree is a good process for building an informed opinion.
  • May 4 2012: Absolutely YES for what dose politics do in general? We see a point then we argue it and come to a conclusion. No wonder this world looks like a hole big dictatorship full of trolls to squash anything not in-tunes with the powers that spread such nonsense in my point of view of course. To think ones own thoughts are correct without fully understanding where how what when the person persons it came from In any manner is to deny yourself of understanding therefore doing both the world and self injustice. If I say I am in pain then believe me I am in pain. just because someone says well I am not dose not take away that persons pain in realty. I tend to stick with you are right before I but in this instance of said topic I find the thoughts disturbing on a personal basis. Maybe at 36 years of age I still have not had enough brainwashing but hay who am I anyway! Evolving times change minds? Well in 2000 years I only se backward steps with everyone thinking they are somewhat separated to the rest! This may be truer these days than ever before. Can you see a problem?
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    May 3 2012: I wouldn't share a talk that went against my code of ethics. I would only share a talk I disagreed with if I thought it would generate healthy debate on the topic. Just because we CAN send information around the world at almost the speed of light does not mean that we have to. I think we should be circumspect about what we share and take responsibility for it.
  • Apr 30 2012: Yes!! most emphatically!!! Ideas are the stimulus of conversation. no matter how far out your particular idea might be, it's still subject to conversation, and thought!!
  • Apr 30 2012: No. I can not translate language. Translation aside: The spreading of 'bad' ideas potentially constitutes misinformation - if the idea is actually poor. There is no point to spread ideas that are not worthy of being spread, otherwise we would fill the world (and our minds) with rubbish if there was no selection process.
    Fortunately, no matter how hard a person tries, most of the information that one percieves is already highly selected, though still it may be a mistake to ignore part of your selection criteria, specifically if the criteria in question is well grounded in logic. If one does not agree with an idea, then I believe discussing it might still be worth while in order to ensure that the perspective is given sufficient consideration.
    (which technically may unintentionally spread the idea, though not necessaily in the original perspective or a good light)

    Does anyone really think it would be worthwhile to spread an idea that one knows to be false?
    How would that be different to spreading an idea that one suspects is wrong or misguided?
    I would prefer to research the idea to confirm or falsify my suspicions (which includes the aforementioned discussion)

    It may be that some people might percieve the view I just explained as "spreading an idea that I do not agree with", but that would be an incorrect perception since any discussion would most likely spread an opposing or differing view.

    We can still respect others without disseminating information that one does not agree with.
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    Apr 30 2012: It depends on the talk and my knowledge regarding the topic. There are many topics that have view points that I may not agree with, however do present valuable information that may allow others to decide on their own. I am not saying that I may not include my view when promoting such a discussion. Ideas and points of view are always changing as new information becomes available. Without conflicting views an idea would remain dormant and never progress to the next level.
  • Apr 30 2012: well, this seems to be an ethical question. If the Ted talk could not be utilized for a marginalized group, I would say, please, give them access to these ideas! If you disagree with it you can discuss the talk with give and take. What you didn't like about it and the reverse for them. So long as you can find common ground to spring from. I think that is the key.
  • Apr 26 2012: No,I wouldn't, and for the same reason why the majority of the participants say - "Yes"

    You can't be separate from the work you do.
    If you take the talk you disagree with, your translation will inevitably reveal your attitude and reinforce the flaws of the talk.
    In a way it prevents spreading. I think, it's better to leave it for the translator who shares the idea.
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    Apr 26 2012: Yes. To me that is one of the defining aspects as to how intelligent we are; the ability to share ideas, whether we like them or not. To have open and frank discussions and the ability to try and understand how someone sees a thing differently. I would certainly translate/spread a TED talk if for no other reason than to spark intellectual dialogue.
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    Apr 25 2012: I would. I think that both tolerance and appreciation of others and other points of views is an important part of co-existence in harmony and key to the same vision of spreading ideas and knowledge.
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    Apr 25 2012: No, I would not, both translating & spreading.

    At one case I chose a talk to translate. After TED assigned it to me, I found in that talk something which I completely rejected. So I wrote to TED and asked them to remove that talk from my translation assignments, and they did.

    Yes, I think people feel that a translator of something does identify, at least for some extent, with his\her translation. But even if people would not think so, I myself cannot translate meaningful material like TED talks if I do not identify with it at least for some extent, or do not like it. I do not mean to pure technical or scientific stuff like articles, projects, researches, etc....
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    R H

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    Apr 25 2012: I wonder why our comment stream was removed?
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    Apr 25 2012: This is a great question! Personally, I would not think twice about translating it even if I disagreed with it's content. In fact, I find the speaker's perspective all the more interesting if his/her ideas conflict with mine. Sharing an idea is a wonderful thing to do, irrespective of what the idea is.
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    Apr 25 2012: Absolutely...

    Relating this to my workplace, it is like a doctor going through with a surgery even though it goes against his/her moral and/or ethical pov.

    Ideas are created to be shared, Interesting question!
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    Apr 24 2012: Yes, to get views from other people.

    "Would you be willing to spread ideas, even if you did not agree with them?"
    -Yes!, Idea is idea irrespective of my personal opinion.
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    Apr 23 2012: ALL arguments deserve to be heard, so long as they who express are open to criticism which matches their expression. I don't often share articles which I disagree with, but not because I'm unwilling. Indeed, were I to volunteer to translate a talk and got one here I didn't agree with I would certainly translate it. We must have an honest, open conversation! All should be willing to discuss any topic!
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    Apr 23 2012: This is a very interesting question! I don't think i would have the need to translate a TED talk unless I agreed with its message! Unless some one close to me asked for it!
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      Apr 23 2012: Hi Olivia,

      It has happened to me in the past, to begin translating a talk I thought I agreed with 100% and in the process realize there were aspects I did not agree with.
      Would you just abandon a talk like that, or would you continue the translation?
      • Apr 23 2012: Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no.

        I think that as others have stated on here Dimitra, once you translate the talk, you can turn around and make comments about the talk and the parts you disagreed with.

        I can't help but think about the United Nations translators, and those used by the judicial systems.

        They must have to translate some awful ideas, and downright disgheartening details that are not even in their vocabulary.......but, it is their job.

        Again, it is a matter of conscience. Only you know what is right for you.

        Here is something else to consider: sometimes exposing a ridiculous ideas to public knowledge can bring an individual to his/her senses. Sometimes it has a very good effect, this translation and making it known worldwide.

        Be Well. Your conversation has allowed me to learn much Dimitra. Thank you for asking this question.
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        Apr 23 2012: Hello Dimitra :)
        I think once you start something its only proper to finish it; even if you don't agree with the entire message. Maybe your friend will agree with what is being said. Or maybe they don't! But that is something to discuss after the talk is over!
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        Apr 23 2012: lol Hello Dimitra :)
        I have a big problem with bias news! Everything is prefiltered with only one opinion! The opinion of corporate America!!! People need to be presented with both sides of an argument and to do anything less is unethical! Unfortunately many news stations play by these unethical rules now a days. So YES I think you most certainly have an obligation to finish translating a TED talk!
  • Apr 22 2012: No, i don't think so . usually people say what they believe . in the case where ppl disagree i think it will not be easy to do so .
  • Apr 22 2012: Jaime the author Lewiss Carroll also played with this concept in "Jaberwocky".....a poem begun in the mid 1800's

    Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
    Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
    All mimsy were ye borogoves;
    And ye mome raths outgrabe

    Using the phonetic principles of language and word composition strategies, one can have great fun with this play on words.....critical thinking required :)

    The poems by Reyes are fantabuloso....I had not been exposed to this concept in spanish before, thank you for sharing.
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      Apr 22 2012: Finnegans Wake from Joyce is a linguistic playground.

      The translator is a phantom not a jugde.

      And theres some impossible things to translate in any lenguage. For example the bullfighting terms.

      Theres five lenguage levels:

      1. Phonos
      2. Lexicon
      3. Morpho-sintaxis
      4. Semantic
      5. Pragmatic

      In any of this levels is present a space for the censorship from translators.
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      Apr 23 2012: Mary........just dance and enjoy the misterious sound of the non written words
      • Apr 23 2012: Jaime, when we get the choice to sit it out or is always the better choice.

        Bueno a luchar con otra semana......a veces gano yo, a veces gana la semana....HA!

        Muchingola agradeshimo Jaime........du vericole. =)
  • Apr 22 2012: I feel that it very much depends on the people involved, In reality those who reject ideas seem to be almost threatened by them. I feel that anyone could be accepting of others ideas with the guidelines of the brainstorming model should we as a people realize that we can all have our ideas, why do we have to tell others that they are wrong or horrible ideas. We live in a word where taking control of a conversation and how fluidly you can spew verbage regardless of the integrity or merit of what those words actually become and imply. It is a very sad case because the rejection of ideas is a needed thing but in a constructive not destructive way. I personally have not found a TED talk that I disagree with because I respect each individual who is speaking, I understand they are more educated on the matter and see if from a less flawed view as I. too bad those who are like me are not the majority.
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    Apr 22 2012: Mary the art of translation is also the art of invention....have you heard about "jitanjafora" Steve Jobs said :"connecting the dots"......
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    Apr 22 2012: If I were a translator, YES I would. If I disagreed with the content I would make it clearer that I am only the translator.

    Folks might, refer to above.

    I would be willing to present (or spread) most ideas for review and comment. I think that is some of the inherent beauty of TED. My willingness to debate, explore and question, is pretty un-fettered and I like it that way.

    I think I would have to draw the line at something like KKK (or nazi) propaganda. I would NOT be translating that trash.
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    Apr 22 2012: Honestly, I think that people feel I agree with the talk when they see my name written next to it. But I don't care - I've been trained for this at the University. For 4 years!! :) But that's the beauty of TED - you can choose what you want to translate. When you're working for a publishing house, you don't have that choice - once, I had to translate an awful self-help book by Suzanne Somers and spent a month crying and translating. (Some people like her, though)
    So, yes I would translate such a talk, but would not spread the idea. Also, I think that most people nowadays, rather spread and talk about ideas that they found shocking than those that were 'just' informative.
    • Apr 22 2012: Branislav, you make a good point.

      I think it is often the ideas that we wholeheartedly disagree, that are controversial, that bring the most discussions.

      Thank you for your work. Not all of us enjoy Suzanne Somers work....she uses her name to promote lots of
      items......make-up, jewelry, books, diets, etc.. etc.........alot of television personalities do this, when they cannot find work in television anymore.
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    Apr 22 2012: I suppose I'd choose the talks I like and let others translate it because I wouldn't enjoy working on ideas I myself don't share --but if I had to I would obviously work on it I trying to be faithful to the speaker's words since emotions must be absolutely kept aside
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    Apr 22 2012: In a contest like TED's, where I am free to choose the talks I want to translate, then I would simply decide not to contribute to spreading ideas I am not in agreement with, and let somebody else work on the translation. Then, if I HAD to translate something I don't agree with, I would certainly try to remain as objective as possible, although, I'm afraid, if your heart is not into it, you're not going to do as good as a job.
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    Apr 22 2012: I tend to tranlsate speeches that I find interesting. I usually agree with them, at least in principle, but I have to admit I often lack the tools or knowledge to be able to disagree with all the theories underlying them. To answer your question: as a rule, in order to help spread the idea, I prefer to agree with the main message the talker is trying to convey . But, should I partly disagree with the message, I must really really really look up to the person giving the speech and her/his ideas in order to give help spreading their ideas....such a short time, so many talks/websites/articles to translate...I prefer to use my time to help to sprea ideas I believe in.
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    Apr 22 2012: I believe a translator should convey the message as faithfully as possible. Your emotions should be put aside and if you can't, you better leave the talk to someone else. Take this as an example... if you are a believer, would you translate the talk of an atheist and respect his/her opinions? If the answer is no, then you should not do it. The other way round is also true. If you are an atheist and you are asked to translate the talk of a believer you might not be using the right words or style, you might not have the same sensibility especially when there are certain nuances at play... But as you said, translating is so important and should not be taken lightly... by the way, thanks for this great conversation... indeed an idea worth spreading :)
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      Apr 22 2012: Hi Paola, thank you for participating.

      You ask whether a believer can respect the talk of an atheist and vice versa. To tell you the truth I don't see why not, but even before that, a translator should respect the language and the viewer.

      On the other hand, let's say I am an atheist and I want to criticize the talk of a believer with my fellow countrymen. Don't you think I should do my best to convey the speaker's message in order to argue upon it?
      This is how I see it: In order to disagree with something I am translating, I need to translate it as best as possible and then express my point of view against it.
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        Apr 22 2012: If you want to translate a talk - but please keep in mind that you should be as faithful and loyal as possible to the speaker when you do that - and then comment on it and express a different view, of course you can... I would do it. But when I translate I always try to put my emotions aside... it's a good exercise anyway and a way to learn to respect others' opinions and views.
  • Apr 22 2012: Well..if I do conduct the translation, I should do it in a objective way. When face a opposite opinion, it's inevitable to add emotionally against stance. That's unfair for both speaker and TED viewers. So, I won't do it.
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      Apr 22 2012: Hi Mathilda,

      You cannot really add your emotional stance in subtitles. Otherwise we would be able to tell if a translator enjoyed the movie he/she subtitled (all foreign movies are subtitled in my country). I don't consider it to be inevitable.
      The translator could however, intentionally or unintentionally slant the speaker's words even if he/she agrees with him/her. This is why translating is so important and should not be taken lightly.
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    Apr 22 2012: it all depends on what was being said to be honest


    If my well-being depended on such a task then I would perhaps have to do it
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    Apr 22 2012: Dimitra translingua dromos cuor photofreta (translate this plis).
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    Apr 22 2012: Marim, linguafresca apris cuor yoloxichtl anima trulii.
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    Apr 21 2012: Agreement and reality are the same thing. E.g. If someone disagrees with something that thing is not real to them. No matter how much the alcoholic tries to warn others about the dangers of the pink pachyderm, others are going to say what? and they are certainly not going to spread the word about the potentially dangerous pink pachyderm as it is not real to them.

    Would you translate the psychotic series of assumptions the Greek government made about Greece's future?

    I think this is how the media biases what they report on as this is their reality, it is not that they are purposely lying.
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    Apr 21 2012: I personally believe that everyone should be able to make his or her own decisions and that I, as a translator, only enable this process.
    I support this view although I then risk that if I translate the given talk, I put bias in my translation, and I need to be aware of that, in order to minimise it.
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    Apr 21 2012: One thing is translating, another is sharing the same views of the speaker. Here at TED we are all volunteers so I guess we can refrain from translating talks we do not agree with.
    • Apr 22 2012: I did not know all the translators are volunteers.
      Very interesting.

      Well, you know what they say about volunteers Paola?

      "Volunteers do not get paid,
      not because they are worthless,
      But, because they are PRICELESS!

      Thank you and all your fellow volunteers for the wonderful work you do.
      Gracias, Merci, Domo Arigato Gozaimasu
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    Apr 21 2012: In my opinion, it is the translator's job to share what the speaker is saying by writing everything he or she says on the subtitles below. If someone does not want to spread the speaker's message (they disagree with the arguement or dislike the speaker) than that too is fine. However, I do not think that someone should translate a speaker's conversation and leave out or change parts they do not agree with. Everyone has the right to their own opinon; nothing should be censored.

    As for your other questions, I am not sure anyone thinks the translator is the artist/creator/mastermind behind the message. To me, the translator is more of a tool like a phone, television. radio, or podcast to spread a message.

    And finally... No, I would not spread a message that I believe is incorrect, dangerous, or do not agree with. I would not want anyone to think I am supporting that message and I would not want other people to agree with that message. After all, everyone likes when people agree with them and dislike when people do not.
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    Apr 21 2012: Very good topic !
    - And as being a "volunteer" TED translator , your job is to reflect the speaker point of view.
    - And since you are TED Language Coordinator, I believe you have to monitor other translators as well.
    - If you are not sure you can do it, then withdraw it immediately! and translate another talk.

    For me, I always try to reflect the speaker point of view as if it was me!
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    R H

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    Apr 21 2012: I never look at something that was translated and consider the translator as the creator of it. I look to the author. Translator's have influence over the tone and details of the subject, but not the substance. I would not hold the translator accountable for the message. To me, as far as 'responsibility' for the message, the translator is just one step above the newscaster's responsiblity for the news. As far as whether or not one decides to do it, that would be very situational and the individual's decsion at the time.
    • Apr 21 2012: RH, you know, I wouldn't hold the translator responsible either.

      I have often been sitting watching the news, and a report is given on some terrible subject that doesn't need to be aired in public, and I have caught myself thinking, "I'm glad I'm not a newscaster, because I couldn't bring myself to spread all the garbage that passes for news."

      It is a tough dilemna to be in.
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        R H

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        Apr 21 2012: Thank you for responding. For me, the 'news' is like any other business. They're trying to sell us what they think we'll buy. If a product I'm considering is, in my opinion, 'garbage', I wouldn't waste my time with it - unless I'm feeling 'trashy' that day (sorry, I couldn't resist!). But you're right. When we've taken on responsibility to perform a task and we're in dissagreement with the subject of that task, it makes for difficult choices. But that's what it's all about, isn't it? Choices. We weigh the risks and rewards, the consequences and the benefits, and try to live. And this, to me, is where it gets interesting. How much of a decision is about me and what I get out of it, and how much is my effect on the world around me? Can there be a balance, or not? What is truly necessary in this situation? What is desirable? Sorry, I find these dilemma's facinating...
        • Apr 21 2012: Yes, out of the morass of our dilenmas we can grow...grow...grow...

          Thank you.

          I find that Dimitra hit the nail on the head with her reply to me.

          She translates talks into Greek, and discusses them.

          Kind of when I was little, I would have to translate everything into english for my parents....oftentimes I didn't want to......but I had to.......wish I knew back then what i know now......the phrase "don't kill the messenger"....=)

          Thanks for the interchange of ideas. Have a great weekend
  • Apr 21 2012: Dimitra, sometimes we have to take a stand for what we believe in.

    Your decision must be based on your conscience. If you are being paid to do this job, and your supervisor recognizes you as a person of integrity, loyal to your convictions, then I can't imagine him forcing you to translate.

    If you are a volunteer, well then, simply explain your position, and kindly request another talk.

    Choose your words carefully, be respectful.......only you can decide the answer to your own question.
    I hope my words will help you.