TED Talks aim for wider global reach


TED Talks, known for “ideas worth spreading,” are aiming for a wider global audience with a new mobile application that can be used in two dozen languages.

The non-profit behind prestigious conferences focused on captivating 18-minute talks later shared free in online videos on Friday rolled out an overhauled Android application it hopes will help it reach nearly a billion people.

“We are really leaning in to being a global application,” said Thaniya Keereepart, who heads TED media initiatives on mobile and connected devices.

More than 70 percent of the online traffic from TED apps comes from outside the United States, with demand from the Asia-Pacific region being twice that in North America, according to Keereepart.

The new, free TED app for Android provides a user interface that will work in any of 24 languages, automatically displaying on-screen instructions in the language chosen in smartphone settings, and transcripts.

While TED Talks have for a while been offered with translations done by volunteers, the change will let people navigate the application and do searches in a language of their choosing.

“People can actually find the talks they are looking for in the languages they are looking for,” Keereepart told AFP while providing an early look at the new application.

Along with ideas worth spreading, TED has become known for the art of storytelling. The redesign promised to ramp a trend of people using TED to learn how to speak naturally and powerfully, she said.

The 24 languages supported by the TED Android app include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Korean and Japanese.

“I could be an Arabic speaker, but if I am trying to learn French I can actually do it through the app,” Keereepart said.

TED also improved search in the application, and for the first-time added TED Radio Hour audio presentations created in collaboration with National Public Radio.

Android dominates the mobile phone market with a share of more than 80 percent, according to industry trackers.

TED is working on a similar overhaul for its application tailored for Apple smartphones.

TED Talks have won a devoted following around the world, and have spread to television set-top boxes such as Apple TV and streaming service Netflix.

TED is known for its brilliant, accomplished and creative community, and speakers are coached and encouraged to give “the talk of their lives” in no more than 18 minutes.

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