Working with online communities: translating TED Talks

Comas-Quinn, Anna and Fuertes Gutierrez, Mara (2019). Working with online communities: translating TED Talks. In: Comas-Quinn, Anna; Beaven, Ana and Sawhill, Barbara eds. New Case Studies of Openness in and beyond the Classroom., pp. 101–113.



This project aimed to explore how online open communities and resources could be used for language learning in a higher education context. Advanced language learners were introduced to translation and subtitling, and the use of open content to maintain their language skills post-graduation whilst engaging in a meaningful activity, namely sharing knowledge through translation in a volunteer project. Students were asked to translate the subtitles of a Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) or TEDx Talk of their choice and to review and provide feedback on two of their peers’ translations. Most students enjoyed the activity, particularly being able to choose the talk they would be translating and having access to other students and volunteers to ask questions and get support with the linguistic and technical aspects of subtitling. A small number of students found the technical aspects of the activity challenging and did not enjoy the unpredictability of working in an open community.

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