Poland, Warsaw, 1st OTP Workshop

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Location: Warsaw, Palace of Culture and Science, Studio Theatre (barStudio)

Date: 16.11.2013 13:00 – 17:00

Tools: Projector + laptop + laser pointer + cookies

Atttendees: OTP active & inactive translators, TEDxWarsaw translation & transcription team members, OTP wanna-be translators (translation students), TEDxWarsaw organizer, a photographer-friend :) In total about 20 people.

Goal: Let OTP members meet face to face, share tips, discuss problems, get translation students interested in the OTP

Format: Presentations with exercises, discussions, Q and A sessions

Topics: What is TED, TEDx and the OTP. Transcription tips. Common mistakes in Polish. Tips for translating from English. Tools of the OTP. How to sign up.


Detailed agenda

1. Introduction to TED, TEDx and the OTP - Kinga

What is TED? - cartoon About TEDx – video Slides – Our workspaces slideshow

2. Agenda overview & introduction of trainers - Kinga Why I translate TED talks? - video

3. Atttendees' introductions Name, how did you find out about us, experience, TED and OTP story

4. My TEDx story – Mateusz Nowak Mateusz talked about how he first got involved in TEDx, about his persistence, about the inspiration and his current involvement. He gave people a glimpse into a TEDx community in Poland and Warsaw and invited them to get involved too.

5. Q and A session – Mateusz Nowak One of the questions was if there is real change because of TED and TEDx.

6. Transcription - Asia Pietrulewicz

Asia works as a transcriber, creating subtitles for the deaf and she shared tips and good practices with us. Her presentation based on a TEDxWarsaw talk clearly showed that shortening transcripts is necessary.

Asia presented an example talk with unshortened original subtitles.

In the following presentation, Asia showed the original words as they were spoken in the talk and then presented three versions of transcripts – each shortened more and more.

We discussed which words and facts were left out and why, as well as why it is important to double check correctness – even in one's native language.

Handout exercise: Asia gave us the next paragraph from the same talk to shorten and fix - later we discussed our shortening proposals.

As a wrap-up we watched part of the talk with shortened subtitles and one could really see the difference.

BREAK – Attendees could buy coffee and lunch downstairs and bring it to the workshop space

7. Common mistakes in Polish – Magdalena Daniel

Magda first presented the most common mistakes and explained why we make them helped by a series of funny pictures.

Handout exercise: Magda handed us out a multiple-choice test with 15 questions. The test was about the actual use of the language and not the rules. So we had to select the correct option on how to complete a sentence.

There wasn't a person who had fewer than 6 mistakes. To be fair, the test was really tricky!

8. Subtitling tips for translations for the OTP – Dorota Konowrocka

Dorota created a bi-lingual presentation in which she gave the original sentence, the sentence proposed by the translator and then her revision of the translation. We discussed the reasons for the changes, possible alternatives and the importance of shortening and paraphrasing.

Dorota also prepared a brilliant exercise, she printed sentences to translate (EN → PL) on separate sheets of paper. One sentence for each sheet printed on the very top of the sheet. Then she handed out the exercises, so that each person had one sheet of paper. We were supposed to translate the sentences at the bottom of the page and fold the paper to hide our translation as we pass the page to the other person. This way each page got at least 5 different translations. After a while we unfolded the translations and each person was supposed to underline unnecessary words. As a wrap-up we discussed different propositions and Dorota took the worksheets home to start craeting a Polish version of the OTP article about compressing subtitles, based on real examples.


9. OTP – tools and resources presentation - Kinga

Overview of tools and services we use to communicate and learn. Description of how these tools evolved and how people are becomign involved. (OTPedia EN/PL pages, FB groups, Amara training videos, support forum, documents) As an example of resources available:

- How we track terms down by Krystian Aparta (video)

A presentation/multiple choice quiz based on the OTP Glossary (terms like TEDster, TED fellow, TEDx event, Ideas worth spreading) We discussed why they have been translated this way.

We discussed how to translate „Making ideas worth spreading available to the world” into Polish.

Handed out: OTP leaflets with the logo and OTP description and OTP information sheet with information on how to sign up.

10. Q and A session – Kinga

I answered a few questions about translation problems. One was about translating terms (should we try to find Polish terms or use the English ones – I believe we should always try to find (or make if they don't exist) Polish terms, as we're on the frontlines of the language :))) and the other about the focus of a translation and how it influences our translation.

The question was really interesting. The speaker in the talk the translator was working on talked about learning and mentioned „6th grade math” so the translator asked:

  1. Should I translate it literally and not worry as it's about reality in the USA?
  2. Should I check at what age people are in 6th grade in the USA and just mention math they do at the certain age?
  3. Should I check what age people are in 6th grade in the USA and check which grade they are in at the same age in Poland and then reference this?
  4. Should I find out which math problems are solved in 6th grade in the USA and then reference these?
  5. Should I find out which math problems are solved in 6th grade and find in which grade their equivalent is studied in Poland and mention this grade?

I will leave you with this question :)



  1. It's wonderful to cooperate with TEDx organizers as they already have contacts which can help you find a good location for a workshop!
  2. Inviting a TEDx organizer is exciting for OTP translators because most of them don't know anyone involved in TEDx and they are really curious about how it works from the backstage.
  3. The interactive exercises, quizzes, discussions, pair-work really make people involved and excited. The more hands-on work, the better.
  4. We will incorporate the training materials into OTPedia so that the others can benefit from them. Raw presentations wouldn't be useful as there are just examples with little text to explain them.
  5. It's good to break longer sessions by short entertaining sessions & films. The two 30 minute sessions one after another were too tiring.
  6. We could have used a part for integration games (not just introductions). Next time we will definitely make time for that before the actual workshop.
  7. It would be really cool to have internet connection to show people new to the OTP how transcription and translation work online.
  8. We had more people willing to attend when we asked via Doodle than the number that registered, but most of the ones who registered came = registration is great to have to make people feel it's serious and to have their emails to send them details with the map and hours as well as a follow-up email. It would be good to have an additional incentive for people to show up, especially that some would need to travel from afar.
  9. The option to have an afterparty should have been announced earlier as people have to make time for it. Only three people stayed after the workshop to chat.
  10. Should have created a survey for people to fill out after the event.
  11. People asked when is the next workshop planned – so they liked it :)

Preparations - Timeline

9 weeks before - asked in a FB poll what topics the translators would like to see discussed

7 weeks before - asked around for the best weekend to organize the workshop

6 weeks before - Set up a Doodle poll asking about the best time/date for the given weekend

4-2 weeks before - found speakers/trainers for the workshop (from the OTP FB group / friends)

3 weeks before - started looking for the venue to organize the workshop / drafted the request letter outlining what is the OTP, and the agenda/format of the workshop as well as our needs

2 weeks before - received confirmation from the venue

2 weeks before - advertised the workshop in the OTP FB group

2 weeks - 3 days - talked with the trainers about their presentations

10 days before - drafted a detailed agenda of the workshop & sent it out to others for confirmations, comments and changes

1 week before - opened the registration & advertised it

5 days before - visited the venue, checked the registration and advertised the workshop with a translation dept at the university

3 days before - advertised the workshop again

2 days before - closed the registration & sent out confirmation emails with details

1 day before - had the final presentations saved on the laptop we used, prepared handouts and leaflets

- posted pictures and thanks in the OTP FB group :)

Questions for the Q and A session with other OTP LCs - Remote

Sadly we didn't manage to have the session, but perhaps you can benefit from the questions:

  1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? (Name, Country, languages, hobbies :))
  2. How did you first hear about TED?
  3. When and why did you start translating?
  4. What was the first talk you translated?
  5. Why this one?
  6. What types of talks do you generally translate?
  7. What did you learn from translating TED talks? (funny facts or interesting ideas)
  8. How do you translate? Do you have a favorite routine? (coffee, evenings, mornings, in bed, outside, in a café, everywhere :))
  9. What advice would you give to a beginner TED translator?
  10. Can you tell us a bit about the history of the OTP?
  11. How many languages are there in the OTP? Any unusual?
  12. How many talks have been translated?
  13. How are can the OTP and TEDx cooperate?
  14. Are you or were you involved in organizing any TEDx events?
  15. Do you attend TEDx events?
  16. Were you ever recognized or contacted by someone because you are a TED translator?
  17. Does TED and TEDx get media attention in your country?
  18. What are you working on right now?