TED Talks are available in 94 languages, from Albanian to Vietnamese, thanks to the tireless work of our translators. So far, more than 8,500 volunteers have created the upwards of 33,500 translated talks. To celebrate this accomplishment, every week the TED Blog is bringing you a Q&A with one of our most prolific translators. Today, meet Lidia Cámara de la Fuente.
Where do you live? And what do you do by day?
I come from Barcelona, Spain, and I am living in Cologne, Germany. I am an assistant professor for Applied Linguistics at Cologne University.
What drew you to TED?
My first contact with TED was by chance. Or perhaps it was not just by chance…
I wanted to find appealing multimedia material to use in my scientific translation classes. I was looking for something to motivate my students not only to get more involved in translations, but to encourage them to pursue knowledge on the cutting-edge of science and technology. I came across Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight. I was excited and overwhelmed by her passion, and the powerful way she connected science with emotion. I didn’t sleep that night. I went on watching one TED Talk after another. A new perspective of the world came into my house, and I could take advantage of it without leaving my comfort zone.
What was the first talk you translated and how did you pick it?
After my first experience with TED Talks, I realized there was an Open Translation Project!!! The first TED Talk I translated was: Kevin Kelly: How technology evolves. It might have been another one, but this one was my first translation among more than 100 so far. I wanted to translate anything related to science and technology. I was very pleased with the possibility of translating subtitles into my language.
What have been your favorite talks to translate? Why?
I am crazy about neuroscience and these are some talks I was especially pleased to translate:
- Annie Murphy Paul: What we learn before we’re born
- Paul Zak: Trust, morality — and oxytocin
- Pawan Sinha on how brains learn to see
- Allan Jones: A map of the brain
- Antonio Damasio: The quest to understand consciousness
- Oliver Sacks: What hallucination reveals about our minds
These TED Talks tackle the brain from very different angles.
Which talk was the most difficult for you to translate and why?
Each talk has its specificities and difficulties.
What’s a phrase in your language that you wish would catch on globally?
“Confieso que he vivido” (I confess that I lived.)
“Vale la pena haber luchado y cantado, vale la pena haber vivido porque he amado” (It is worthwhile to have struggled and sung, it is worthwhile to have lived because I have loved.)
Both sentences were written by Pablo Neruda, the incredible poet, diplomat and politician from Chile. In 1971, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I love both sentences because I identify with them. They express the way I really want to live — with intensity.