Get started

TED Translators and transcribers help spread ideas to a global audience. Here's what you need to know to get started.


Subtitles go through the following steps before publication:

1. Transcription

TED provides an original transcript. (TEDxTalks are the exception — these are delivered in many languages and are transcribed from audio by volunteers.)

2. Translation

Subtitles are translated from the original language into the target language, using a simple online interface.

3. Review

Subtitles are reviewed by an experienced volunteer. Reviewers must have 5 long talks (roughly 90 minutes of video) published in the target language.

4. Approval

Before publication, reviewed translations are approved by a TED Language Coordinator or staff member.


TED places tremendous priority on crediting volunteers for their contributions. Volunteers with published subtitles will have:

  • Their profile appear in our translator directory
  • A special TED profile page, listing their published work
  • Their name credited in TED’s video player when TED Talk subtitles are active


Language and subtitling skills:

  • Volunteer translators should be fluently bilingual in both source and target languages.
  • Volunteer transcribers should be fluent in the transcription language.
  • Volunteer translators and transcribers should be knowledgeable of subtitling best practices.


  • New volunteers should work on one assignment at a time.
  • Assignments should be completed within 30 days.
  • Before attempting to review, volunteers must subtitle 90 minutes of talk content.

Watch a tutorial on getting started with TED Translators

A quick primer on TED Translators guidelines and subtitling best practices.

Next, read our guidelines!

Learn more about subtitling best practices, collaboration tips and style guidelines.

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