TEDxKhartoum translation team

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The experience and motivation

There are so many unexpected life lessons budding from different life experiences. My experience with TEDxKhartoum and TED was one of the most influential experiences I have ever had. I am hereby writing about TEDxKhartoum Translation Team after attending the first event which really blew my mind and left me speechless in an effort to explain it to others. I had been to many conferences, but none of them was like TEDxKhartoum. At the personal level, I could see it as a more community type event than just a conference aimed at paraphrasing thoughts and sharing ideas, a mash of disciplines and ideas from all walks of life.

I was fortunate enough to attend the first TEDxKhartoum in 2011. I came to know about the conference from a tiny article on a local newspaper that didn't describe much but said enough that captured my attention and made me resolved to attend this first of its kind event in Khartoum.

There was something magical, something important, something influential in the air that kept people flying high with the first fancy red carpet TEDxKhartoum event which was to our surprise, the organization was all a volunteering job together with the stunning speakers who were of high caliber with an incredible community feeling. That night after the conference kept me thinking that I had something to do with TEDxKhartoum. I believed like I never attended the event for nothing but for some reason. My mind was more preoccupied and stimulated with the thought.

A few hours later, it all started to gel and I was online looking for more information on TEDxKhartoum and TED. What I learned in that night drove me in an entirely new direction to go with the flow of volunteering work. I have always wanted to do something extraordinary and out of the norm and I found it with TEDxKhartoum. More precisely, I wanted to do something to clear out that gloomy negative stereotype of Sudan’s image in the international media and I finally found the platform. It was simply by volunteering as a Translator and joining the volunteering community.

On that same year, I managed to translate and subtitle a number of videos from TEDxKhartoum 2011 talks on Amara. However, on the approaching TEDxKhartoum 2012, and gaining a small reputation with my English language skills, I was offered to lead the Translation Team. It was accepted with sheer pleasure and without more ado rolled up sleeves to get the work done.

TEDxKhartoum translation group

TEDxKhartoum 2012 Translation Group was created and opened the door for volunteers who had the required skills. However, I managed to attract a decent number of volunteers who set up to work with videos translation and subtitling through Amara. At the time, not many volunteers had the skills to go for subtitling, but by the provision of guidelines and the necessary information, a fine number of TEDxKhartoum talks were transcribed, translated and subtitled initiated with TEDxKhartoum 2011 videos. As a leader my job was to organize the group, attract volunteers, provide the necessary guidelines on how to subtitle videos and follow-up with the work progress. The result; many videos were subtitled by local volunteers and were uploaded into the main stream.

In addition, a sub closed (for discrepancy of the Speakers talks) group of live or immediate interpreters only was created and a number of volunteers were selected to go for live interpretation for the Speakers during the event. The group was also provided with key information on the interpretation process, skills and tips. The live interpreters had to attend the speakers rehearsals to familiarize with the talks and make necessary practices to facilitate the interpretation process during the event.

In TEDxYouth 2012, I was also in charge of the immediate interpreters with new members coming onboard. One of the volunteering interpreters was even a Speaker! Again, many of the videos for TEDxYouth 2012 were translated and subtitled and found an international recognition.

TEDxKhartoum 2013

For TEDxKhartoum 2013, the group was sustained by Dr. Anwar Dafalla by creating a new group with the aim of boosting and advancing the translation process to translate as many videos as possible in a close to professional manner. The group consisted of about 46 volunteers and was named TEDxKhartoum 2013 (Transcription/Translation/Interpretation). Dr. Anwar had involved the brilliant Ms. Iman Mohammed as a Coordinator and at a later stage on the event approach; I was selected as a Team Leader and Coordinator in collaboration with Ms. Iman Mohammed. The amazing idea that the group was not only formed of only local volunteers but we were also joined by international volunteers with bright names from the TED Open Translation Project (OTP-TEDx) such as Ivana Korom, Krystian Aparta, Lidia Camara, Katja Tongucer and Els de Keysr. They were all invited by Dr. Anwar to join the group to assist in building the capacity of the local translation team and provide the volunteers with the guidelines, necessary and detailed information on how to go for the translation and subtitling process.

The process also involved continuous meetings, workshops, documents creation and articles recommendations not only so but warnings and setting up of deadlines to accomplish jobs only to inform, educate and keep the active members updated and well run. Many of the volunteers were new to the processes but with the provision of the support, they managed to work enthusiastically with a team spirit starting with the creation of a TED account, joining the TED Open Translation Project and getting approval to the starting of working on the videos on Amara transcribing, translating and subtitling and finishing up with the videos uploads.

Support from the TED staff and community

Several articles and documents had been shared as guidelines to the Translation Team by volunteers from the TED Open Translation Project. For instance, tremendous appreciation goes to Ivana Korom who came up with articles, resources and tutorial videos for instance, on How to tackle a Transcript, How to search for a TEDx Video on Amara to avoid doubling up works, not only so but Ivana Korom was the knight in shining armor and savior against all the problems encountered by the volunteers by providing guidelines and strategies on how to solve the dilemmas encountered. The group was also invited by Ivana to join the I Transcribe TEDx Talks which was joined by many active members. Many thanks also go to Katja Tongucer who recommended articles such as on How to tackle a Translation, How to tackle a Review, How to Compress Subtitles and an article on Common Problems encountered by Volunteers. Gratitude also goes to Krystian Aparta who also provided guidelines and support to our Team not only so, but volunteered in translating our talks. He also invited the team to assist with the launching of ar.ted.com.

Several documents, articles and reports were created and shared by the local volunteers which have done a dazzling job too such as the Work Progress Reports, Contact information for all the Team members document, List of number of views of videos on YouTube document, TEDxKhartoum Translation Projects document, List of talks that needed to be transcribed and translated document. Common errors to avoid and Rule for naming and describing a TEDx talk articles, moreover, it even involved the translation of some of TED and TEDxKhartoum manuals and guidelines shared to be made available to all in both languages Arabic and English.

As a consequence, the work started flowing and curving; active members who were eager to learn immediately set to work with the state-of-the-art information and the latest skills were gained. Scores of videos from the previous events were translated and eventually uploaded. There was even a warning that inactive members would be removed from the group but we could say that the majority were active in many ways. It was quite fervent and enthusiastic for those inactive to become active. Not only so but some of the local volunteers volunteered to get involved with TED talks. We were also joined by Mr. Abdelateef Mahgoub and Mr. Mohamed Hakam who were actually TED volunteers before joining our group. Not to forget the translation of various articles and contributions for our Wiki, articles by contributors (ticket for attending TEDxKhartoum 2013) for the book of TEDxKhartoum 2013 and many more.

Support from other TEDxKhartoum teams

The Blogging Team was also involved in the process in lettering about TEDxKhartoum Transcribing/Translation/Interpretation Team. Furthermore, supplementary information could be found about the group on TEDxKhartoum Newsletters.

The Video Production Team was also involved in producing high quality videos from image to sound to assist the translators in performing their work smoothly and efficiently.

On our event of 2013, TEDxKhartoum OTP Workshop, the first of its kind was also planned to be held following the event with the participation of team members and the invitation was also extended to professional translators and interpreters from different associations and institutes in the country.

Subsequent the event, every Team Leader was requested to write a report on the achievements and shortcomings of his/her Team.

The Outcomes?

TEDxKhartoum Translation Team Subtitling Project was pronounced as the BEST PRACTICE at the TEDGlobal 2013 Translators Workshop! Qatar Foundation Researchers approached TEDxKhartoum Team and reached out for our Talks!

Personal Experience

At the personal level, I was in charge of the immediate interpretation process for 2013 event; another closed group of 7 dedicated, committed and skilled volunteers was created for live interpretation during the event. This time the information provided by myself was more comprehensive, far-reaching and extra detailed to come up with a close to perfect professional volunteers and the mission was accomplished with success. I was also involved in the translation of documents and articles from our book for 2013 event.

The major achievement for me was by joining TED Open Translation Group on TED and I officially became a volunteer not only at the local level but at the international level too.

My overall experience as a Translation/Interpretation Volunteer is regarded as a pro-social behavior that involved some commitment. Skills, knowledge, confidence and some fulfillment in my life were gained for I managed to share and pass on my knowledge and skills with my local community in a manner close to professionalism. I was more connected to people, expanded my network, felt very useful with a sense of self importance as a leader. It actually enhanced my self-development and personal growth in knowing that my volunteering is helping to spread ideas worth spreading that can lead to a peaceful world. It is a tremendous pride I feel every time I translate a doc or subtitle a video since I believe it is a worthy cause to support and volunteer for. All credit and merit goes to TEDxKhartoum Teams and TED organization for giving me the opportunity to be part of it all.

Nuha M. Awad Translator/Interpreter Volunteer TEDxKhartoum, Sudan