A year in the making, the project offers video subtitles, time-coded transcripts and the ability for volunteers worldwide to translate any talk into any language.
“TED’s mission is to spread good thinking globally, and so it’s high time we began reaching out to the 4.5 billion people on the planet who don’t speak English,” says TED Curator Chris Anderson. “We’re excited to be using a bottom-up, open-source approach that will in time allow all our talks to be translated into all the world’s languages. A web-empowered revolution in global education is under way. We’re not far from the day when anyone on Earth can directly access the world’s great teachers speaking to them in their own language. How cool is that?”
Each of the 400+ talks on TED.com will now offer:
+ Subtitles, in English and many additional languages (several videos carry up to 25 languages at launch)
+ A time-coded, interactive transcript, in multiple languages, which lets you click on any phrase and jump straight to that point in the video. This makes the entire content of the video indexable on search engines
+ Translated headlines and video descriptions, which appear when a new language is selected
+ Language-specific URLs which play the chosen subtitles by default
Some 300 translations have already been completed in 40 languages — from Arabic to Urdu. A handful of talks were translated into 20 languages by professional translators. But most were done by more than 200 volunteers around the world. Another 450 translations are in the works. A drop-down menu on the main TED Talks page allows you to sort videos by available languages.The videos are all in English with subtitles. A drop-down menu lists subtitle languages from which to choose. Next to the video a window displays a full transcript of the video to allow viewers to follow along with the talk or find the most salient points and skip ahead. Click a phrase in the transcript — such as the point where director JJ Abrams discusses his grandfather’s mystery box — and the video immediately jumps to that spot. Users can search for key words in a specific video or among all of the translated videos.