TEDxMadrid transcription marathon

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The first TEDxMadrid transcription marathon took place in the ImpactHub in Madrid, on November 8, 2014. It was hosted by the TEDxMadrid organizer and Senior TEDx Ambassador, Antonella Broglia, and her teammate Javi Garriz. We asked them to share with us how and why they decided to embark on this adventure.

Why did you decide to host a transcription marathon? What was the goal you had in mind?

In 2013, it took an entire year (and a lot of effort) to transcribe and translate the 20 TEDxMadrid talks. With the help of Ivana, we were finally able to finish subtitling these talks just before TEDxMadrid 2014. Javi and I did almost all of the work (especially Javi, who has the most experience subtitling for the OTP on the TEDxMadrid team).

After this experience, we felt that we weren't prioritizing the translation of our own talks. We needed to be more creative. We had always defended the idea of holding TEDx events in Spanish, but we weren't doing enough to spread Spanish ideas throughout the world. So the goal for the transcription marathon was to launch a clear message to the TEDx community and ourselves: transcriptions and translations are a priority. We set out to distribute and accelerate the process for subtitling the TEDxMadrid 2014 talks — as well as to build a team of translators around the event.

Who participated in the transcription marathon? Were they already OTP volunteers?

They were all members of the TEDxMadrid audience (only one person was already an OTP volunteer). We launched the invitation to participate in the marathon on the day of TEDxMadrid — and that was key. Of the 90 people who volunteered for the marathon, we selected the 22 people we needed and they became OTP volunteers. After four weeks, all volunteers applied and were accepted as TED volunteers on Amara (TED's subtitling platform). So we finally met last Saturday, November 8, to do the marathon.

What are some of the learnings from the experience?

Call for volunteers the day of the event, they love the talks and they will feel super motivated. Once they are in Amara, make them feel special, because they are; it is a worldwide fine community of generous people. The marathon format works because they feel pressed by the presence of others to finish their hard work even if it takes 11 hours (like in our case).

What would you say to other organizers who are thinking of subtitling their talks, and would you recommend others to host a marathon?

Guys, alone sucks. Launch your call at your event, take care of the volunteers one by one, have good food, give translations a priority, and make the marathon fun, they will never forget the experience, they will make friends, and you will have a lot of work done.

Also, it is a great idea to connect the volunteer with the particular speaker of the talk he/she subtitles; they will feel incredibly important, and there would be amazing outcomes from that. For example, one of our volunteers has been invited to visit the speaker’s workshop facilities. There’s no bigger reward than that.

And more importantly, I have Javi in my team, he is the best co curator plus he took time to become an OTP contributor to understand 100% the tool and the subtitling process, you need a person like him in the team or anything of the above won’t work or even happen at all.