Poland, Krakow, 1st OTP&TEDxKraków Transcribeathon

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Below, you will find a detailed report on a transcribeathon organized by OTP volunteers and TEDxKraków. If you wish to organize an event like this on your own, see this guide.


Location: Kraków, Pauza In Garden (See here Pauza in Garden)

Date: 8 June 2014 11:00 – 16:00


  • Providing basic information on transcription and a chance of applying it to simple tasks
  • Transcribing TEDxKraków talks
  • Introducing new people to the OTP
  • Community building and connecting local TEDx with the OTP community


  • laptops (brought by attendees)
  • WiFi connection
  • ppt presentation in Polish [1] and in English [2]
  • projector&screen (provided by venue)
  • food & drink (paid, provided by venue)


Ewa Spohn - TEDxKraków team, plans and current activities

Krystian Aparta - introduction to the OTP, community building, Q&A

Małgorzata Kuś - Transcription 101: basic rules, common mistakes, available resources, group activity

Krystian i ja.jpg

Tips for preparations

- Prepare the list of available tasks - either online or on paper. You may prepare post-its with titles and speaker names so people can take see them and touch them :) (you may also include description of the talk and the original language to help them choose or simply tell them why some of them are of higher priority to you)

- Make sure you can access the speakers and projector in your venue of choice if you're planning to use ppt and/or videos

- Make sure internet connection on site can support the number of people you're expecting to show up working online at the same time

- Ask people to sign up (possibly via Google form like the one we've used [3]) and give some basic information (experience, language they speak/ language they would like to work in, whether they already registered with Amara etc.) It will allow you to prepare the content appropriate for your participants.

- MAKE SURE people register with Amara prior to the event if you want them to start working on their transcripts/translations during the workshop. Having a person from the TED team is a great help but if you have to do without it you may be faced with having people in the room who are unable to start working and get demotivated.

In order to prevent it you may:

- try to get people communicate with you via Amara messages - make it clear that an Amara account is necessary for full participation - post links and guidelines (screen shots) on how to sign up - plan alternative activities for those people

- Think of the language appropriate for all the participants. Consider possible adjustements you could make in order to make everyone feel welcome and able to fully participate in the workshop

Ściana postits.jpg

Tips for introduction

- Ask the participants about their experience, motivation and encourage them to get to know each other by planning icebreaker activities, preparing name tags and/or planning tasks based on teamwork and discussion

- Have somebody else help you with the welcoming. You can't be everywhere at the same time and chances are that when people show up you'll be busy with technical duties.

- Give them a link to the rules of transcription - http://translations.ted.org/wiki/Zasady_transkrypcji#Transkrypcja and encourage them to write down the numbers 84, 42 and 21 and make sure that they understand which is which and why they are important. (You may incorporate those numbers into other activities eg. icebreakers or have them written down where everyone can see them)

Tips for content

- Focus on either transcription or translation and make that choice clear in pre-event communication

- Consider the information you have about the participants and adjust the content. Ask yourself what would you do if everyone in the room had no experience/were experienced translators

- There will be questions. A lot of questions. So make sure you brush up on your Amara skills

- If you have the chance, pair people up with experienced translators/transcribers

- Think what's the most imporant for the participants to get out of the workshop and focus on it

- Make it fun and friendly :). Consider the motivation of people that show up. Recognize their contribution, highlight the importance of the job they're doing and show the big picture

- Cakes and coffee help a lot if you want people to stay there for a couple of hours.

Tips for follow-up

- Keep the e-mail address list for later to send a follow-up email - links and the 30 day task deadline reminder - also ask if you can assist them in any way. Send feedback form so you can improve your workshop in the future and find out what sort of assistance would be best for the participants

How to keep your participants happy

We aimed at making the workshop participant-focused, and we surely want to see them again. That’s why we wanted to know how they liked the event. In our feedback form they were asked to list things they enjoyed the most. People mentioned the group activity, which combined the possibility of putting newly acquired knowledge to use with discussion and sharing skills and experience with other people . They noticed friendly atmosphere and the sense of community and engagement. They also found the one-on-one help from more experienced OTP members very helpful. Many people liked the venue very much and it certainly contributed to the generally laid-back atmosphere.

Asked about the most valuable thing they got from the workshop they mentioned sense of community and engagement with local ideas and TEDx initiatives as well as enthusiasm and willingness to get their task done and get involved even more.

Wszyscy pracują.jpg

General afterthoughts

Organising the workshop took some time and effort but was extremely gratifying in the end :). It was also slightly stressful and that’s why it is great when you have somebody to help you. The next time will surely be easier because I’ve managed to identify people who may offer their expertise and time to make it happen again. There’s a staggering amount of handy resources out there thanks to the OTP volunteers and coming up with my own is very enjoyable too. The important thing is that there is no perfect way of doing it. There are many perfectly good ways, though and I hope we’ll get to experiment with the workshop format some more in the future.


Thanks go to Ewa Spohn, TEDxKraków curator for helping popularize the event and taking care of the logistics, photography and catering, to Krystian Aparta for very detailed and thoughtful advice, reaching out to the OTP community and providing priceless content-related and technical support on site, Pauza in Garden for the the amazing space and delicious food and to all the participants, soon to become active contributors and community members! :)

All the pictures by Bartolomeo Koczenasz. More to be found on Flickr TEDxKraków Transcribeathon

Here is our actual worksheet, published in case you'd like to see how we are doing, based on the one created by Kinga Skorupska from TEDxWarsaw team.

TEDxKrakow talks worksheet