TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Translating TED.com website into other languages...

I found out that people are struggling to understand very basic stuff on TED.com. TED talks are the main product here..but the struggle is how to get there!

I suggested to a Sudanese young lady, Bio-fuel inventor to apply for TED Fellows program...but she couldn't figure it out because of the language barriers...I profoundly believe that through translating the whole site into other languages, will make a significant change.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Feb 15 2011: I totally agree. I am glad that the subtitles are there, but I still have to go "there's going to be a gray box under the video, saying 'Subtitles available in,' which means subtitles are available in, and choose your language from there." Two points, though:

    1. I believe that it shouldn't be done through crowdsourced translation. Two main reasons: quality (who's going to check it, how do you make sure the reviewer will be able to spot the mistakes?), and consistency (keeping the terminology the same all over the site, e.g. the word "talk" can be translated into my language in 3 ways, but only one should be used in context/text that is supposed to be similar).

    2. Any new release on the website would have to be translated more or less immediately (a few days at most), which also means that you have to have translators on hand for each of the languages you want the site to be updated for (probably at least 2 per language for backup and reviewing). Again, crowd-sourcing can't cut it.
    • thumb
      Feb 15 2011: No, it cannot be relied to be done via crowd-sourcing, but it may be good to begin the translations with local TEDx organizers (they have come across most of the terms and often have created a website in their language - we for example had a large debate how to translate the word TEDster)

      ad 2: the first step can be translating only the core of the site - the menu and about pages, basics about the TED community, ect. so that people can orientate on the site. Later on, when proper translators are found the system of translating news "real-time" can be developed.
      • thumb
        Feb 15 2011: I agree with Martin. A lot of TEDx events have reliable teams that can be tasked with special projects as part and parcel of their event...

        And at TEDxCanton and TEDxGuangzhou we had signing translators. Would be worthwhile to include sign translation/English subtitles for the hearing impaired. I am, and it comes as a shock to many, hearing impaired and have difficulty with podcasts...I'd be happy to assist...
      • thumb
        Feb 15 2011: If you translate the "core" and leave some regularly updated stuff in English, you'll get a mixed-language website, which looks very unprofessional. One option would be to make a limited version of the site for each language, showing only content that's already been translated into it. Actually, this would make sense anyways, because you can't expect to be able to get someone to translate every new update the moment it comes out, so keeping a less frequently updated foreign language version of the site is a good idea (the updates come up with a few days' delay). This is actually done very commonly in my experience in website localization - there's a company with a main site (usually in English), while the localized versions are updated with a delay.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.