Working with other OTP volunteers

From TED Translators Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

General principles

Collaboration is key to the success of any open-source project, and the TED Open Translation Project is no different. We recognize, however, that different volunteers – and different language communities – have very different work styles. They work alone, in pairs and in groups; online and off-line; at different speeds and at different times of day.

Because of this, we've intentionally taken a light-handed approach when it comes to how language communities can organize and operate themselves. We want to give you the freedom to figure out what works best for you – which isn't to say we won't be here to help!

When you sign up to contribute in the OTP, we'll try to connect you with others who are also subtitling in your language. In some cases, self-organized communities have already emerged to support each other and ensure quality. You can find other translators in your language by visiting the Our Translators page on All volunteers who have completed a transcript or translation will be listed.

Also consider joining the two official OTP groups on Facebook, I translate TED talks as well as one of the OTP language groups created by volunteers working in a specific language.

Review process

To ensure quality, we require a second pair of eyes on all translations. So after a talk is transcribed or translated, it’s available for a review. Being able to review subtitles requires some experience, and we require that only volunteers with at least 90 minutes of transcribed talks begin reviewing transcripts, and only volunteers with at least 90 minutes of translated talks begin reviewing translations. The translator/transcriber and reviewer are expected to connect individually to confer and collaborate. You can communicate through Team Notes in the Amara interface or by using direct Amara messages. You can also find each other on and contact each other via the built-in email system by clicking the "Message" button on the other volunteer's profile. (This system cloaks your actual email address, to protect your privacy.)

The purpose of the review process is to catch any errors in a transcript or a translation, improve the technical style of the subtitles in keeping with our subtitling best practices, and also to provide a sounding board for improving style or interpretation. If you’re reviewing someone’s work, you should look for typos, punctuation errors and mistranslations. You can also provide input on style, or on the translation of jargon, slang or industry-specific terms.

Reviewers are expected to contact the translator and confer over any changes made.

Before you start reviewing, please watch this short tutorial.

Review rules of conduct

For a successful collaboration, we recommend that you:

  • Be clear in your direction and feedback.
  • Tread lightly; don’t make changes just for the sake of making changes.
  • Be courteous and gentle with your suggestions. Remember that everyone working on the Open Translation Project is a volunteer, who has invested considerable time and energy in their translations. Always direct your critiques at the work, and not the person.
  • Remember that languages differ widely around the world. Idioms, slang and technical terms can vary place-to-place. You may be accustomed to different phrasing than your subtitling partner; your goal as a team is to choose words and phrases that can be most universally understood among all dialects of your language.
  • If you get stuck with a reviewing issue, reach out to a Language Coordinator.
  • Be cooperative, and find a way to resolve disputes. Some disagreement is inevitable and healthy in the editing/reviewing process. But we expect that you’ll be able to resolve disagreements among yourselves. If you absolutely cannot resolve a dispute, please contact the TED Staff at


In rare cases, you may need to alert us to a real problem. If you notice that:

  • A translator lacks the skills to fluently translate a TEDTalk
  • A translator is purposely abusing their role to misrepresent a speaker’s ideas

... please contact the TED Staff immediately at with the word “ALERT” in the Subject line.