Education TED Translators

The kids will be alright: Q&A with translator and TEDx organizer Kristine Sargsyan

Posted by:

TEDxSummit, 16 April – 20 April, 2012. Doha, Qatar. Photo: Kris Krüg

At TEDxSummit we caught up with Kristine Sargsyan, TED translator and organizer for TEDxYerevan. Kristine has been working in the NGO and business sector as an Organizational Development Consultant and Project Coordinator for 13 years.

When and why did you start translating for TED?

I started translating TEDTalks in 2009 because of my son, Mika, who is ten. The first talk I translated was William Kamkwamba’s How I harnessed the wind. He loved it. I showed the translated talk to his class, and the kids loved it, too. They started asking him, When is your mom coming back?

Translating the talks is a kind of meditation for me; it helps me dive deeply into the stories. When I’m stressed, I transfer my energy into something good. It helps me lose my sense of ego. The same goes for TEDx.

What do you hope to achieve with your TEDx events?

In school, kids are using books and materials from ancient times; there’s no innovation or creativity. TV is full of garbage. TEDTalks is a new opportunity for kids to watch, learn and have a life-changing experience.

I recently decided to leave my permanent job to put more time into putting on TEDx events for kids, and being a translator helps a lot since I can’t show the talks in English for the kids. We have done two events for kids from disadvantaged communities with the TEDx Activators program.

So you hope to reach young people in Armenia.

Yes. As a parent you have to think about your kid and other kids. Recently there was a program on TV discussing environmental issues in Armenia. My son watched it, then he went to his room and started crying. He said, “I hate people because they do so much harm to our Earth. How are we going to change things?” I thought, What are we doing for our kids?

Actually my son is famous! In Armenia everybody knows he’s the reason I started TEDx. On the way here I was stopped in the airport by a Scottish woman, the representative of FlyDubai in Armenia. She said, “Aren’t we friends on Facebook? Aren’t you the mom of this great kid Mika who pushed you to do TEDxYerevan?”