Language Open Translation Project

Meet Sebastian Betti, TED volunteer translator

Posted by: Jenny Zurawell

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Tell us about yourself.

I was born in a little countryside town called Rauch (in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina) where I had the opportunity to spend my childhood in touch with nature and the simple things of life. After finishing high school I moved to Tandil, a neighboring small city, where I took up systems engineering. After moving again, I now live and work in the capital city, Buenos Aires, so even though I’ve lost the small scale of things, I enjoy this great beacon of art, science and cultural turmoil, which we shared at TEDxBA.

As for my interests, I love cinema, literature and science. Because I’m curious by nature, I feel an indescribable satisfaction in traveling, socializing and discovering new people, places and cultures. In that spirit, I’ve been traveling around the Americas in search of its cultural and natural wonders. Captivating places such as the moon-like landscapes in Costa Rica, the ancient caves and pre-Columbian sites in southern Colombia or sacred places like La Raya in Peru not only capture my attention but also awaken my inquietudes and eagerness for knowledge and — of course — multicultural experiences.

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What drew you to TED?

Looking for material for a presentation on the non-computational factors affecting software quality, I created several brainstorming sessions on some social networks, and a colleague of mine sent me a link to the awesome talk by Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice. It was then when it occurred to me that I had to put Spanish subtitles on that talk … and so I did! Later, in a conference where I was presenting my work, I saw how captivating one of my video references was — once I translated it into Spanish — to an audience that might otherwise not have access to that information. I discovered that my interests matched with the Open Translation Project, and that’s how I got to TED.

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Why do you translate?

I’ve been translating articles since my high school and college days simply because I’ve always wanted to deeply understand and gain insight into very specific subjects. The act of understanding brings me such an intellectual and emotional joy, therefore I think that translation is something worthwhile. After translating some TEDTalks for my own interest, the next step was to spread the word to others. No doubt I strongly believe that knowledge sharing is even more enjoyable than keeping it for oneself.

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What are you favorite talks? Why?

“Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice” because I like his idea of “good enough is OK” for doing better in life, and his articulation of ideas is superb.

“Robert Lang folds way-new origami” and “Paul Stamets on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world” because of their passion for knowledge above all, making a plea for that inner spark inside all of us.

“James Geary, metaphorically speaking” because it’s an interesting topic that’s very well presented through mind maps. I know there’s a massive presentation of automated mind maps at TEDxDubai 2010, and I’d like to see more of this in TEDTalks to come.

Finally, the amazing TEDxTalk by Constanza Ceruti at TEDxBA about the sacred mountains of the Inca civilization on the highest peaks of the Andes.