TEDxTohoku translation team

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The TEDxTohoku translation team consist of about 10 people, of which some live within Japan, and others elsewhere worldwide. TEDxTohoku first decided to have our own translation team back in 2012, simply because we wanted the world to know more about Tohoku, and we wanted a group of members that would dedicate their role to translating our media contents. The translation team's capacity gradually grew as we recruited more members, and now we work with the whole TEDxTohoku team from helping with the speakers' presentations, various translation work for all parts of the team, and also doing simultaneous interpretation on the day of the event.

The recruitment originally began with me reaching out to my other bilingual friends (who were students at the time studying interpretation and translation). This allowed us to reach out to even more people in that field. Although most of the members are now working, we still continue our TEDxTohoku translation activities, and we are receiving support from professional translators and interpreters as well.

It's a pleasant surprise to see that most of the members decide to stay with us every year, despite their busy schedule and having no particular "reward" - I think it's because we have a strong bond amongst ourselves, as we make sure to meet once in a while (for those who are in Japan), and also communicate frequently online. I also try to keep track of the workload of each member and balance them out. The members also help each other out, which boosts the team spirit - I think this is a sign that the TEDxTohoku translation team is working well so far. In the future, we hope to reach out to translators of other languages than Japanese-English so that we can target a larger audience.

I believe it is crucial for other TEDx events to have their own Translation Team - it would not only help get all the ideas from each TEDx event out into the world, but there will also be a stronger network of TEDx translators. This year, some TEDxTohoku translation team members have connected with other TEDx teams in Japan, and will be helping out with interpretation for one of them. In this way, there is not only interaction amongst different TEDx events, but also through the translation/interpretation field of TEDx.

If any other TEDx teams are thinking of having their own translation team, I'd say go for it - and start off by reaching out to any bilingual or translator/interpreter you know of, since that would lead you to a larger group of translators and interpreters. Chances are that they all know and love TED, as apparently TED is often used in such translation/interpretation practices (or so I heard from my friends who studied translation). It definitely boosts the efficiency of translation for the team, and it can help the team reach out to a much wider audience once they publish their talks.

My experience working with TEDxTohoku and the translation team has been fascinating - and I hope other teams will feel the same with their translation teams, too!

by Mai Iida