TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Should TED give the recommendation for English language in the comments of the talk, or even forbid the using of non-English language?

Every forums or websites opening for discussion have their rules. The language that recommend to be used might be one of them. Purpose: to make a clear environment so that every body can understand each other, keep the discussion easier to follow, less ambiguous... On the other hand: don't insist on English, be open minded, everybody has something to say...

This becomes an issue when TED the first time introduce the talk in non-Enlish language. Before that then, just a fact, most of comments are in English.

What's the right thing to do?

0
Share:
progress indicator
  • thumb
    Jun 30 2011: Language is the reflection of one's culture. It is also one of many mediums which convey or communicate a message. Since different cultures have different orientations, there might be a tendency to hear a "cultural response" rather than an individual response. Therefore, insisting on one language already limits and filters answers. If you wish to hear what you already expect, you are not really open to comment even though you invite it. If I the reader, am unbale to understand what someone else writes, that's my problem. (S)he obviously understood the original language in order to leave comment. I have left comment on other sites in English although that was not the forum language. I was contacted, cited and my comments subsequently removed. As a result, I was insulted, lost confidence in the forum and believed the members are narrow-minded and not well-educated, simply because they chose not to work with English. This is ridiculous of course, but that is what the suggestion can lead to when there are limitations. There are enough tools on the net to decipher different languages. I would personally be uncomfortable with hateful and offensive language (in any medium), but asking people to refrain is also a filter. In that case, you hope that the established environment of allowing thoughtful, intelligent comment is itself a filter against entry of undue and unnecessary profanity.
  • Jul 6 2011: I believe restricting the comment language would take away from, rather than add to, the wealth of ideas shared on this forum. This lecture, and others like it, will not only be heard by multilingual people. What if I was to share it to my non-English-speaking friends? They might have a valuable point to make, and in a forum with language restrictions, that point would be partially or totally lost. In an exclusively English-speaking forum, such a restriction might make sense: if a site and its members operate on the consensus on a single shared language, communicating in a different one would exclude a majority of its members and such an exclusion would be an important drawback, even a discourtesy. However, when commenting on a speech originally given in a different language, it makes little sense to prevent the native speakers of that language from discussing it in whatever way they can. A great many of us will be at least bilingual, and for the sake of more universal communication we will comment in English... but that won't be an option for every person this lecture will reach.
  • Jul 4 2011: There are places where it makes sense to limit the language to one particular language. I don't think this is that kind of forum. In any case, if the speech is in language A. and you are going to limit the language of comments, it should be to A. obviously. And if that did happen, then there should just be a parallel forum for other languages. And let's face it, English is very popular all over the world so certainly there should be a forum open to English.
  • Jul 4 2011: I thought the speech was great and it was appropriate for Mexicans spoken in Spanish. I don't see how any suggestion could be made that people do not respond in Spanish. Discussion easier to follow? That I don't follow. Much of what is posted is simply one person's opinion. We can assume that if i write something in English that if someone responds it will be in English, otherwise I probably won't understand. I can only read 1 1/2 languages. If I don't understand, oh well. I'll just ignore it. No big deal. I think the desire to be understood is what will make a person want to write in English (or whatever language is appropriate). I responded to the Spanish language speech in English because I think that a lot of people will understand my comments. And if I responded to someone, it was someone who wrote in English obviously. Even some Mexicans wrote their comments in English. That was their choice. Maybe they did it because they wanted me to respond.
  • Jul 1 2011: I don't mind if people speak their thoughts and ideas in their language, just make sure the English translation is NOT misleading and is perfectly correct in translation to the English lanquage.

    Do NOT have the foreign language sound on when the English subtitles are running. I guess I could turn off the sound. Problem solved.

    I know some Spanish, French, Latin, Greek & Hebrew and I find it hard to listen in those lanquages, and others, while trying to read the English subtitles.
  • thumb
    Jun 30 2011: Well, either restrict the language to English or have an English interpretation of the post along with the original language. I might be interested in the subject but if I cannot read it..................
    • D H

      • 0
      Jul 1 2011: I agree. If English is someone's second, third, or eleventh language they may find it very difficult to effectively communicate their great ideas. Out of respect they should post their idea or response in their native language, then an English translation below it. If their English is really bad then at least there is the option of using an online translating tool.

      I use an add-on called Quick Translator 0.9 on Mozilla Firefox and its translations are the exact same as on Google Translate, which is actually getting really good now.