How Things have Changed: The Words of 1995

Back to the Future turned 30 this year. and Yahoo! are celebrating 20 years in business.  Over the past 20 or so years there have been lots of words added to the lexicon.  Naturally, many of them have to do with technology.  Many of them are what linguists call a “functional shift” which is when a noun becomes a verb or vice versa (i.e. to friend).  Others are when a word retains the old meaning but has added another – see the Huffington Post link below.  One word that didn’t make that list was the first one that Dotsubbers guessed!  That word: Spam.

The original link to The Huffington Post.
Here’s the link to Yahoo!


Dotsub is a Technical Partner for Frontiers of Interaction

foiOnVideum_845x160Dotsub is proud to be a Technical Partner for Frontiers of Interaction.  Along with Dotsub Partner, Videum, we will be participating in the FrontierX: Health track.  Roberto Ascione, Primary Adviser for Videum and CEO at Healthware International, will be the Curator of the Health track, exploring how healthcare is being transformed by digital technologies.  Dotsub’s CEO and Founder, Michael Smolens, and our Chief Innovation Officer, David Orban, are featured speakers.

Frontiers of Interaction is the meeting point of design, technology and everything digital and interactive.  There are over 40 world class speakers from different disciplines and industries. Delegates are expected to number over 600 people this year.   Founders, entrepreneurs, designers, managers, academics, thinkers and makers will share insights, strategies and visions in an open conversation mood during two days of keynotes, workshops, panels and discussions.

The conference will take place on November 12-13, 2015 in Milan, the capital of Italian Finance, Innovation, Design and Art.

Dotsub Convenes Panel at Streaming Media West





Streaming Media West
November 17 – 18, 2015
World-Class Video: Speaking To the Heart of Enterprise ROI

To deliver video ROI, global enterprises need to touch as many people as possible. Increasing video search, reach, access, and engagement are key.  Video captions are proven to increase video views and completions as much as 40%. And getting local culture right is critical for growing new markets, teams and future revenues. Translated subtitles can connect your company to millions more hearts and minds. This panel of multi-national video pros will discuss what works, and doesn’t, and share insider how to on questions like: Where’s the most ROI? If quality is critical to your company, what are good enough translations? And what are the risks of missing deadlines, cultural faux pas, and brand damage of bad translations.

Moderator: Peter Crosby, Chief Revenue Officer –

Charlie Ung, Workforce Communications and Enablement – IBM Digital Media

Anja Schaefer, VP – Lionbridge Global Solution Team

Michael Novak, CEO – One Plus Two Media

The New Video Web

The New Video Web blogged by David Orban

Apple-TV-speech-recognitionThe next generation information devices are going to seamlessly display video content not restricted to a simple window within the browser. The entire screen will be a video, with smart elements that must be understood by the computer in order for the user to fully interact with them.

When the Web was born, even support for still images was a last minute add-on. Slow connections, and uneven graphics support meant that to deliver full multimedia experiences (as it was called at the time), CD-ROMs were preferred. These had proprietary authoring platforms, and their user interfaces had relatively primitive navigation menus, with limited options for interactivity.

Slowly, video has been integrated into the online experience. “Bolted on” would be a better expression. Famously, the most popular plugin for browsers that played video, Flash, was the source of vulnerabilities, made browsers slower and was a drain on batteries. The proprietary nature of Flash made the entire Internet ecosystem dependent on one vendor, Adobe, and was not sustainable.

The HTML5 standard includes native support for video through a new tag in the language. HTML5 was released last year, and the various browsers are being updated to include full support for it. But in the meantime, through the years, an even more important change happened: the ubiquitous presence of Internet-connected devices made it necessary for video content to accommodate a variety of ways of interacting with it (via smartphones for example), not just through traditional browsers and computers.

What will this new video experience be? What we will see is the blurring of the boundaries between traditional browser experiences and video. The entire screen will become a “smart” video, with the entire field being interactive. The objects and components of the video will be live and recognizable by the device, and the user will be able to activate and manipulate them. Multiple modes of human interface will be available, including voice, haptic, motion and gestural. Rather than Web video, we will have the Video Web. (This concept has been suggested to me by my friend Michele Leidi, a live mind mapping expert.)


This is one of the reasons why platforms like Dotsub are so important. (Full disclosure, I am the Chief Innovation Officer of Dotsub, a New York based company which I led as CEO for four years.) Dotsub allows videos to be fully understood by computers, and people, in any language, as sound, text, context, and meaning. Making captions and translated subtitles a universal part of the online video experience, we can exploit their full value.

An important example of how this works in the new video web has been demoed by Apple during the keynote launching the latest Apple TV. On stage, at around minute 61 of the demo there was one particular moment of speech interaction: using the new remote with speech recognition. “What did she say?” The audience could listen to the audio track while reading the text at the same time so that what was said could be understood. This is a concrete example of how the presence of enhanced video, in the form of speech recognition and captions, and the universal assumption that captions will be available, enhances the user experience. Moreover, the entire Apple TV operating system itself, with all of its moving parts, and seamless integration of the videos, is an example of the concept of the emerging Video Web. Be on the lookout for more examples of this and an explosion in the richness of the Video Web in the near future.

David’s blog can be found here.

This post is also available in: Italian

Benefits to Children in Multilingual Environments

A recent study released from the University of Chicago, reveals that children who are exposed to multilingual environments have more experience interpreting what the speaker says than children who are exposed only to single language environments.

The most interesting finding was that the children do not even have to be bilingual themselves; it is the exposure to more than one language that is the key for building effective social communication skills.

So how did they test this?  The researchers had 72 children, aged 4-6 play a game with adults that involved moving objects according to the adults’ directions. The children were in three categories: monolinguals, bilinguals and a third group that of children who primarily spoke English, but were exposed to other languages as well.

“Children in multilingual environments have extensive social practice in monitoring who speaks what to whom, and observing the social patterns and allegiances that are formed based on language usage,” said Katherine Kinzler, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Chicago who co-authored the report.

The results? The monolingual children were not as good at understanding the adult’s intended meaning in this game, as they moved the correct object only about 50 percent of the time. But mere exposure to another language improved children’s ability to understand the adult’s perspective and select the correct objects. The children in the third group selected correctly 76 percent of the time, and the bilingual group took the adult’s perspective in the game correctly 77 percent of the time.

This is important as it shows that children benefit directly from exposure to diverse lingual environments.


Dotsub is a Proud Sponsor of the Mobile Film Festival!

Call for Videos – Deadline for submission is September 28, 2015.

This year the Mobile Film Festival is international and focused on the topic of Act for Climate Change. In collaboration with the United Nations, Dotsub, BNP Paribas, and Translators without Borders, this festival will celebrate the selection of 100 finalists and one Grand Prize winner presented under the auspices of the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP21 -see sidebar) in Paris in December.

Visit the official COP21 website. Know about climate change? Take the COP21quiz.
Visit the official COP21 website.
Know about climate change? Take the COP21 quiz.

We sat with Bruno Smadja, founder and CEO of the Mobile Film Festival, to listen to his compelling story.

Now in its eleventh year, the Mobile Film Festival has always strived to discover, support and assist filmmakers following one single premise: 1 Mobile, 1 Minute, 1 Film. This year, the Mobile Film Festival is bringing an exciting opportunity to content creators – the festival is going global!  Smadja’s challenge is to reach out to the whole world to find one minute films made on mobile phones that express the artists’ unique viewpoint on the topic of Act on Climate Change.

As you can imagine, lining up organizations as diverse as this year’s sponsors, is the culmination of months of cooperation and collaboration.

BNP Paribas has supported the Mobile Film Festival in the past and continues their commitment to all aspects of cinema in France, as well as all types of film-related events, both in France and abroad. The BNP Paribas Grand Prize winner is granted € 30,000 to make one film in one year.

The participants will naturally shoot their films in their native languages. 100 films will be selected for the official competition. Dotsub founder and CEO, Michael Smolens, and Smadja have a long relationship, so it was natural for Smadja to reach out to Dotsub to provide the platform for captions and translations. “We were delighted to join in this inspiring endeavor,” explains Smolens, “The removal of cross-cultural and cross-lingual obstacles is Dotsub’s mission – which applies so well to the UN Conference and the Mobile Film Festival.”

“We are very honored to be partnering with the United Nations for this very special and international festival,” said Smadja, “We are also excited that Dotsub enables us to tell this story of worldwide importance by breaking down language barriers, giving these filmmakers the chance to vastly extend the reach of their films to a global audience.”

As submissions are in the artists’ own languages, Dotsub will provide the platform for providing captions and translations for the 100 finalists with translation into being done by NGO Translators without Borders as well as other approved translators in scores of languages.
MFFquoteThese 100 films will be selected in competition.  The first place film maker will be awarded a grant of €30,000 from BNP Paribas to be used for the production of a film within a year.  All awards will be awarded in a ceremony on December 7, 2015 in Paris.

“We have asked for film creators to tap into their passion for the environment as well use their ingenuity to suggest solutions – all in one minute shot on a mobile device.  The results are incredible, we already have submissions from all five inhabited continents!” exclaimed Smadja.

Smadja continues, “It has always been our mission to discover and support young film makers.  But to be able to focus on a topic with global impact, and to showcase their talent at such a prestigious event, the UN Conference on Climate Change, well, it is a dream come true!”

sched2For more information, including the rules of entry and to upload films go to

About Mobile Film Festival

Bruno Smadja created the Mobile Film Festival in 2005. For the past 11 editions it has been dedicated to discover, support and accompany young directors by proposing to take part to a smart challenge based on a unique idea 1 Mobile, 1 Minute, 1 Film.

The Mobile Film Festival 2015 is an online film competition to discover new talent while raising awareness of climate change worldwide. The use of mobile technology creates a more level playing field that gives wide distribution to new storytellers. Judged by a panel of filmmakers such as Fernando Meirelles, winners will be announced at a live awards ceremony at The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015, with the Best Film getting put into production by a professional crew.

About Dotsub

Dotsub is a language product and services company making your online video available to all via translations, captions and voice-overs.  By increasing the global reach of your video, its value increases dramatically with added accessibility and audience engagement.  Our closed captions meet federal standards for the deaf and hearing impaired, and by offering translations in over 500 languages, Dotsub extends the influence of your video world-wide.



Translating for Growth

Article translated from the original Italian article:


In collaboration with the American video-captioning platform Dotsub, Italy’s DotWords provides a technological – and shared – approach to product communication localization

It’s inevitable. Every time you talk to David Orban, Dotsub’s Chief Innovation Officer, you feel as though you’re in the teleport room of the Starship Enterprise, knowing that at the end of the conversation, you’ll want to shout: “Beam me up, David!” You shake hands and you can feel the NFC chip he’s had implanted beneath his skin, with the password of his personal Bitcoin “blockchain”. You think you’ve exhausted every possible futuristic topic and he runs off a stream of data demonstrating that driverless cars are already on their way (but won’t run you down on a pedestrian crossing). A distributor of IT products, an advisor at Singularity University, a serial entrepreneur, an innovation officer, a consultant, a polyglot techno-evangelist, a great pioneer of the Internet of things, a visionary of cryptocurrency and the shared economy, Orban is an accredited ambassador for the future here in the present.

When I meet him this time, during one of his trips to Milan, it’s to hear about his latest business adventure, the DotWords language service provider. A step removed from his hyper-technological horizons you might think, yet with Orban, translation – possibly one of the world’s oldest professions, together with spying (and that other thing we won’t mention, which generates a pile of money on the web) – moves into a typically cyber context, thanks to the use of computer-assisted tools and a good helping of the concepts – openness, standardization, workflow management, crowdsourcing, knowledge sharing – that characterize the digital age.

DotWords’ services don’t stop with the translations executed by a network of expert native speakers, who – as company co-founder and CEO Gabriella Soldadino emphasizes, “also have to live in the nation of the language they speak to keep their skills fresh and up to date.” Orban prefers to talk about localization, the ability to move from one linguistic context to another, maintaining not only the meaning of the words, but the entire semantic thrust of the message being communicated. DotWords is more than a highly efficient translator: it is a partner providing clients with strategic support for shared growth based on multilingual communication. This is achieved, on one hand, through use of advanced automatic translation technologies (always under the supervision of human translators) flanked by work management and optimization tools; and, on the other, by transferring what Orban calls translation memories to the client: authentic specialist lexical databases, for use on future translations. For DotWords, the purpose of this arsenal of competences is not to create the usual lock-in effect, but to generate new communication in a full-sharing approach between provider and client.

The translation culture

“Looked at from the viewpoint of traditional providers of language services, we implement an innovative principle,” says Soldadino. “DotWords was created with the intention of making extensive use of captioning and automatic translation technologies. But we also take a cultural and ethical approach: besides making this more rigorous take on the localization concept available to the client – with an increase in workflow efficiency driven by our ability to re-utilize previously processed materials – we help the client become more autonomous by returning the knowledge we have accumulated together.”

The captions the DotWords CEO refers to are the product of Dotsub, the New York-based software company that has developed a collaborative web platform for online video subtitling and translation, of which Orban has been CEO since 2011. “The Dotsub system used to caption videos posted on YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook makes its APIs available for everyone, so the translated content can be shared on the social networks,” Orban explains. Described as a complementary platform for the DotWords offering, Dotsub becomes one of the computer-aided translation tools the provider makes available to its clients. Another advantage is the presence, on the DotWords staff, of two project managers who “industrialize” the agency’s work, a vital job handled, in this case too, with ad hoc tools such as the Plunet platform, a “business and translation management system” for operators like DotWords. “The aim,” explains Gabriella Soldadino, “is to foster a translation culture in Italy, where tools of this type are not widely used and technical translations, required, for example, by European regulations, are still regarded as a cost rather than as an investment.”

Integrated communication

Orban and Soldadino’s professional ties date back to the days of Questar, a value added distributor established by Orban in the early 1990s. “We supplied clients with services to create a virtual commercial presence, localizing interfaces, commands, manuals, software packages,” says Orban. DotWords takes this concept to an even more strategic communication level. “Our mission is to teach the client to take advantage of the benefits offered by localization of its products and related documentation.” Benefits made highly cost-effective by the DotWords approach.

Established at the end of 2014 and operational since February, DotWords has already won important international clients in luxury goods, insurance and pharmaceuticals. The target it has in mind, however, also includes Italian companies, who could use localization to gather market-share in today’s globalized marketplace. The opportunities do not necessarily lie in Anglo-Saxon language areas. “The Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has just launched its latest model in India, a market with one billion people, and has overtaken Samsung and Apple in just three weeks,” notes Orban. How many small Italian “Xiaomis” could emulate its success if they spoke the right language?

The DotWords strategy, concludes Soldadino, also involves participation at global events and conferences as well as cooperation with trade associations, organizations and institutions on projects to raise business and public awareness of the importance of multilingual corporate communication. The DotWords integrated communication project is a candidate for the Smart&Start Italia initiative, promoted by the Ministry of Economic Development to facilitate hi-tech start-ups and spread a new entrepreneurial culture. This could be an important driver for a company that already speaks the (many) languages of innovation.


Update: Choosing a Style for Your Captions Guide

We have recently updated our Choosing a Style for your Captions Guide.

This guide covers the basics to differentiate the style and specifications provided by Dotsub.
Our team of dedicated professionals offer both 508-compliant closed captioning for the hearing impaired (including on-screen text and audio descriptions) versus narrative subtitles.


Website Visitor Spotlight

This edition’s location in the spotlight is St Helena, from where one user visited the Dotsub website in the two month period spanning June and July 2015.

If you have heard of it at all, you probably know it as the place whnap1ere Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled from October 1815 until his death in May 1821, but there is quite a lot more to the place than that. It figures in many areas of British history and can be linked with many names that you will recognize, no matter where your interests may lie.

It has claims to fame in political, military and commercial history, astronomy and environmentalism to name a few.

Saint Helena is a tropical island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 km east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 km west of the southern coast of Africa. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, which also includes Ascension Island and the islands of Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres (10 by 5 mi) and has a population of 4,255 (2008 census).

The island was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. One of the most remote islands in the world, it was for centuries an important stopover for ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa. Napoleon was imprisoned there in exile by the British, as were Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (for leading a Zulu army against British rule) and more than 5,000 Boers taken prisoner during the Second Boer War.

In 1657, Oliver Cromwell granted the English East India Company a charter to govern Saint Helena and the following year the company decided to fortify the island and colonize it with planters. The first governor, Captain John Dutton, arriv
ed in 1659, making Saint Helena one of Britain’s oldest colonies outside North America and the Caribbean. A fort and houses were built. After the Restoration of the Englishmonarchy in 1660, the East India Company received a royal charter giving it the sole right to fortify and colonize the island.

nap4On leaving the University of Oxford, in 1676, Edmond Halley visited Saint Helena and set up an observatory with a 7.3-metre-long (24 ft) aerial telescope with the intention of studying stars from the Southern Hemisphere. The site of this telescope is near Saint Mathew’s Church in Hutt’s Gate, in the Longwood district. The 680-metre (2,230 ft) high hill there is named for him and is called Halley’s Mount.

Between 1791 and 1833, Saint Helena became the site of a series of experiments in conservation, reforestation and attempts to boost rainfall artificially. This environmental intervention was closely linked to the conceptualization of the processes of environmental change and helped establish the roots of environmentalism.

So as always if you think something is just a lump of volcanic rock in the South Atlantic and nothing very interesting, look again, you are probably wrong.nap3


Dell’s Video Team Chooses Dotsub


In early 2014, Dell chose the Dotsub platform because it offered an excellent price/performance ratio and just the right tools and features needed for scaling video globally.  At this time, Dotsub joined the network of trusted vendors that enable Dell’s successful video globalization process.

As with most large companies, Dell’s forays into the world of video and video localization grew organically. Captioning and translation of video are essential to Dell’s competiveness in international markets. The growth of video globalization was largely driven by regional demand and availability of resources. The results were some inconsistencies, and fragmented translation processes.  Of particular concern, the translation process could delay coordinated world-wide product launches.

Today, Dell has configured a multi-vendor end-to-end solution of which Dotsub is an integral part. Dell’s Video Team manages these diverse systems creating a centralized video translation business process.  They work hand in hand with Dell’s dedicated localization team and make use of a complex translation management system and various tools to automate the process.  Ralph Jung, who is Video Localization Program Manager in the IT organization at Dell, agreed to spend some time with us discussing their operation.

Dell has a deep commitment to video, localizing over 250 e-commerce videos per year into 14 target languages.  Jung states, “This commitment requires a process that is scalable, cost-efficient and fast, and that still offers a high level of quality.”

The majority of the videos Dell produces are product launch videos that explain features, emphasize the design, and provide demonstrations addressing real-life situations. Sometimes the video may be targeted at the Enterprise audience:

while others are made for the Consumer marketplace.  

[The video will automatically show the captions in the language of the page. Just click on the CC button and then Options to change the language as required.]

In the past, it was a challenge to coordinate all required video translations, at times holding up a world-wide campaign launch. Thanks to Dotsub, stakeholders can review and make any edits and corrections to the video’s translation at any time, even after the video was published.  Jung says, “Because Dotsub is easy to use, our reviewers can make changes for themselves,” he continues, “and then Dotsub will automatically sync their changes with the online videos in real-time.”

We asked Jung what he sees as an upcoming challenge in video localization. He feels that embedded and on screen text that needs to be translated is a particular headache.  Currently, it requires a separate copy of the video for each language and a person who is working with a professional video editing system.  Jung told us, “I imagine a future system where these translations are stored and handled in a similar fashion as closed captions on Dotsub, with easy editing through a web interface, and the ability to make corrections at any time.”

Over time, the Video Team’s processes have become Dell’s centralized one-stop-shop for anyone who needs their videos translated with closed captions.  The smoothness and precision of the operation has saved money allowing them to add four new languages to Dell’s international arsenal.

About Dell

Dell Inc. listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit

About Dotsub

Dotsub is a language product and services company making your online video available to all via translations, captions and voiceovers.  By increasing the global reach of your video, its value increases dramatically with added accessibility and audience engagement.  Our closed captions meet federal standards for the deaf and hearing impaired, and by offering translations in over 500 languages, Dotsub extends the influence of your video world-wide.