Translations TED Open Translation Project » FAQ / Help for site visitors

I don't see my language available. Why is it missing?

The TED Open Translation Project relies on a community of volunteer translators to produce the translations. If your language isn't yet available, it's simply because a volunteer has yet to complete a translation in your language. If you are fluently bilingual and would like to translate a TEDTalk into your language, please see the Becoming a TED translator page.

If all the translators are volunteers, how do you know the translations are accurate?

We follow several measures to ensure the quality of translations. First, we generate an approved, professional English transcript for each talk. This is the transcript upon which all translations are based, reducing the chance of mis-interpretation. We then require every translation to be reviewed by a second fluent speaker before publishing it on TED. Additionally, TED controls the final "publish" button, and can both review a questionable translation and remove it, should problems arise.

Accountability and credit are both keys to ensuring quality. And so all translators and reviewers are credited by name for their work on TED. After publication, we provide feedback mechanisms for ongoing discussion or improvement around the translation.

It’s worth noting that, in our experience, volunteer translators produce work at a level on par with professional work, largely because they really care about the subject matter and invest the time and energy in producing the best possible translation.

I noticed a mistake in a translation. What do I do?

The first thing to do is contact the translator. The name of the translator and reviewer are always listed in the right-hand column of a video page, within the “About this talk” section. Click on either translator’s name, and you’ll be taken to their member page; you can email them through our system.

If you suspect that a translator is purposely mis-interpreting a speaker’s words, please email us immediately.

Why is TED offering subtitles instead of dubbing voiceovers in other languages?

Subtitling has the additional benefits of making our talks available to audience members who are hearing-impaired. This approach also makes the content of the talk more accessible, for research purposes. Along with subtitles, we provide an interactive transcript for each talk, which allows users to select any sentence in the talk, and be taken directly to the appropriate moment in the video.

The transcripts are fully indexable by search engines, revealing previously inaccessible content within the talks themselves. For example, someone searching on Google for "green roof" would find the moment in architect William McDonough's TEDTalk when he discusses Ford's River Rouge plant, and also the moment in Majora Carter's TEDTalk when she spoke of her green roof project in the South Bronx.

The subtitles are too small for me to read. Can you make them bigger?

For now, the best solution is to enter the player's full-screen mode by clicking the icon in the upper right-hand corner. The video screen will fill your monitor, and the type size will increase considerably.

The subtitle font is kept its current size because different languages require different font sizes to be legible. Eventually, we'll be able to vary the font size by language. If you're having trouble with a particular font, contact us. We'll bear it in mind for future releases.

The text in the interactive transcript is too small to read. Can you make it bigger?

Different character sets require different font sizes to be legible. Eventually, we'll be able to vary the font size -- and possibly the subtitle speed -- by language. If you're having trouble with a particular font, contact us. We'll bear it in mind for future releases.

In the meantime, you have some control over the display of text in your browser. To increase the font size on a Mac, select the Apple and "+" keys. To decrease, hold down the Apple and "-" keys. On a PC, select the Control and "+" or Control and "-" keys.

Language display issues

More than 80 languages now appear on TED.com. Different languages often use different character sets, and also different display rules (Arabic and Hebrew are read right-to-left, for example). This presents some complicated display issues!

Fortunately, many of these issues have been resolved in the most recent versions of browsers and in Flash 10. To see all of them reliably, you may need to upgrade your system. Below are a few general tips and language-specific guidelines for viewing subtitles and other translated content on TED.com.

I can't see my language. (My language appears as little boxes, or garbled characters.) What's going wrong?

When you see little boxes, it means you're viewing a language for which you don't have the character set installed. Computers come with a wide variety of languages installed, but the list isn't comprehensive (Bengali, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu are among those commonly missing). For resources regarding specific languages, please read on.

My language is displaying incorrectly. What should I do?

As a first step, we recommend you upgrade to Flash 10. It's fast, free, and supports all the languages listed below.

Your machine will need to be running on Windows XP or Vista or Mac OS X 10.5 to display the languages below. Here is a list of languages with known display issues and the Flash and browser versions that support them correctly:

Arabic:
+ Internet Explorer 7 or 8 (Flash 10)
+ Firefox 2 (Flash 10)
+ Safari 3 (Flash 10)

* To display Arabic characters, you may need to install an Arabic character set

Bengali:
+ Internet Explorer 7 or 8 (Flash 9r115 or 10)
+ Firefox 2 (Flash 9r115 or 10)
+ Safari 3 (Flash 10)

* To display Bengali characters, you may need to install a Bengali font

Farsi/Persian:
+ Internet Explorer 7 or 8 (Flash 10)
+ Firefox 2 (Flash 10)
+ Safari 3 (Flash 10)

Hebrew:
+ Internet Explorer 7 or 8 (Flash 9r115 or 10)
+ Firefox 2 (Flash 9r115 or 10)
+ Safari 3 (Flash 10)

Kannada:
* Kannada display on webpages requires a special character set. Kannada character sets for PCs are avaible around the web. A Kannada character set for Macs is available here for $49.

Urdu:
+ Internet Explorer 7 or 8 (Flash 10)
+ Firefox 2 (Flash 10)
+ Safari 3 (Flash 10)

Other questions?

Please contact us.