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The joy and agony of translating song lyrics

The joy and agony of translating song lyrics

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By Kate Torgovnick May and Krystian Aparta Music is the universal language. So why, then, do so many songs get translated? Sometimes, bands adapt their lyrics into English to reach international audiences—which explains why so few of us can sing ABBA in the band members’ native Swedish. Other times, songs are adapted into local languages []

Funny in 33 languages: The art of translating Maysoon Zayid’s hilarious TED Talk

Funny in 33 languages: The art of translating Maysoon Zayid’s hilarious TED Talk

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What’s funny in one language isn’t necessarily funny in another. Maysoon Zayid’s “I got 99 problems … palsy is just one” presented many challenges for TED translators bringing the hilarious talk into their language. As she tells stories from her life as a Palestinian-American comedian with cerebral palsy, Zayid cracks with wordplay. For translators, it’s []

What’s the funniest talk? The one you learned the most from? Translators answer for OTP’s 5th birthday

What’s the funniest talk? The one you learned the most from? Translators answer for OTP’s 5th birthday

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Happy birthday, Open Translation Project! Our global initiative to bring TED Talks beyond the English-speaking world turned five this week. To celebrate, OTP asked its global network of volunteers—who, by the way, have translated nearly 57,000 talks at this point—to answer a few questions via Twitter. Below, see who they are and why they translate, as []

How translating TED Talks helped me recover from a serious illness

How translating TED Talks helped me recover from a serious illness

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Today, our Open Translation Project celebrates its 5th anniversary. This global volunteer effort brings together people who speak 104 languages with a shared mission—spreading ideas—and changes lives in the process. We asked one translator to tell her story. By Ai Tokimatsu The illness hit me on a beautiful summer weekend. I woke up early and did an hour []

Is math the language of the universe? A bilingual TED-Ed Club explores

Is math the language of the universe? A bilingual TED-Ed Club explores

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In New York City, it’s common to hear ten different languages just on your walk to work in the morning. For the students at Lycée Français de New York, that kind of multicultural exposure doesn’t stop at the schoolhouse doors. With a combination French-English curriculum, this PreK-12 school educates students who represent more than 50 nationalities. And when []

English speakers: OTP needs you too!

English speakers: OTP needs you too!

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The word ‘translate’ means to bring words from one language to another. So you might think that the Open Translation Project — TED’s globe-spanning initiative to bring the ideas from talks beyond the English-speaking world — would only need volunteers who speak multiple languages. But being bilingual is not a necessity. The OTP needs single-language []

Embodying Sankofa: 5 African artists influenced by history

Embodying Sankofa: 5 African artists influenced by history

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Zimbabwean designer Saki Mafundikwa has a powerful vision for the future of African art. As the founder of the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIWA), Mafundikwa is working to bring African art back to its roots. ZIWA, the first school of graphic design in Zimbabwe, and one of the first schools to emphasize the use []