An Introduction to Subtitling

As originally published for Women in Localization on January 28, 2019.


Subtitling is the process of translating spoken dialogue into written text on the screen. It is a type of audiovisual translation, with its own set of rules and guidelines. Uncle Toms Cabin was the first movie to be subtitled in the year 1903. In those days subtitles were known as intertitles. But after the introduction of sound in movies, the first showing of a subtitled movie was in the year 1929, The Jazz Singer with French subtitles. Since then, developments in technology have changed the way subtitles are created and presented on screen.

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Aimee Ansari speaks @TEDx Youth Bath

Aimee Ansari @ TEDx Youth Bath

Few days ago, I had the opportunity to translate a wonderful talk by Aimee Ansari at TEDx Youth Bath. She is the CEO of Translators without Borders. In her talk, she stresses the importance of access to Information in times of crisis. It needs to be provided in the right language at the right time in the right format. Communication of critical life saving information in ones local language is important. Not only this, it needs to be accessible and easily understood by the locals too.


If you are having trouble seeing the Hindi subtitles, please see Continue reading “Aimee Ansari speaks @TEDx Youth Bath”

Seven Translation fails from the year 2017

To mark the end of 2017, I just thought to share with you seven of the silliest translation fails which I have come across on the web this last month of 2017.

As a Hindi translator, it is my endeavor to deliver the best. Though I do my work seriously, this doesn’t hold true for all of us in the translation world. Many times, I work on review assignments, and often come across translation fails which do not seem to make any sense. Even if they do, they are totally irrelevant to the context. They may seem funny or weird to the reviewer, but are frustrating for the viewer.  Over to some crazy reading! Continue reading “Seven Translation fails from the year 2017”

My TEDWomen 2017 experience at New Orleans : Part 1

Anuvaadika Monika Saraf at TEDWomen 2017 at New Orleans as a TED Hindi Translator

TEDWomen 2017, New Orleans

Attending the TEDWomen 2017 as a TED translator was an awesome experience for me. Bridges was the theme of this year’s conference. As Pat Mitchell, the curator and host of TEDWomen so aptly put it,

“We will explore ideas about how to build and design bridges, both literal and virtual, that connect us to each other and as a global community; ideas about how to suspend opinions, beliefs, even doubts; and ideas about when and how to burn bridges in order to move forward.”

Furthermore, it was not just an event for me, but an experience of a life time ! Hearing the powerful speakers, getting to meet wonderful people and coming across inspiring stories. As so many of my loving friends and relatives have been asking me about my experience, I just thought might as well write a post about it.

The Roosevelt Hotel

Hotel Lobby
Floral arrangement









Continue reading “My TEDWomen 2017 experience at New Orleans : Part 1”

Austin Eubank’s TEDx talk on pain and addiction

The recent shooting at the Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas left us all heart broken.  A lone gunman shot dead 26 people, and injured so many others.  At this time of crisis, I am reminded of a talk on pain and addiction that I recently translated about the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.

Austin Eubanks at TEDx Mile High

I am so fortunate to have been able to watch this talk about pain and addiction live at TEDx Mile High, Denver. What an eye opener it is! Austin Eubanks has explained the emotional and physical pain he went through after the Columbine High school shooting. Continue reading “Austin Eubank’s TEDx talk on pain and addiction”

Selected to attend TEDWomen 2017 as a TED Translator

TEDWomen 2017

I cannot thank the Lord enough for being so generous. You guessed it… I have been selected as one of the ten translators to attend TEDWomen 2017. I am so excited to be at the historic Orpheum Theater,  in New Orleans, LA. What an honor it is for me to witness another awesome event! It is indeed a blessing to meet some of the world’s most inspiring speakers! You are welcome to have a sneak peek at the translators who have been selected.

A look at the TED Translators selected to attend TEDWomen 2017

I am looking forward to the great event. It is an opportunity of a life time that has been bestowed upon me.

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My journey into world of translation as Hindi translator

Anuvaadika - the Hindi Translator
Monika Saraf, A Hindi English Translator

I am so delighted that I have landed into this wonderful world of translation as a Hindi translator. I am happy to be working with Amara, TED Talks and Translators without Borders. These organizations have given me the opportunity to be what I am today. Not only have they given me tremendous opportunity, but also phenomenal content to continue and do more. And help spread their message globally in Hindi. Continue reading “My journey into world of translation as Hindi translator”

Why Quality Closed Captioning is so Important

Ever wondered what the whole idea behind Closed Captioning or Subtitling is ? When was it introduced ? What was it supposed to achieve ? Furthermore, whether it has achieved what it was supposed to ? Read more at

Here’s an awesome TedTalk about the necessity of closed captioning and if it still serves the need of the people needing assistive hearing. After the televisions were introduced first in the US, it took over 40 yrs to develop closed captioning . Moreover, it took 60 yrs to have descriptive videos for blind people and a lot has been achieved in those years.

Gary Robinson’s Talk on Closed Captioning

Listen to Gary Robson at TEDx Bozeman in Montana. The Americans With Dissabilities Act is mentioned here for relevance of CC on TV. Today closed captioning is ubiqutous and taken for granted. There are laws to make it necessary. But much needs to be done about the Quality of the subtitles or closed captioning. How does the quality factor affect the message? You need to hear from the person who describes it best, Gary Robson. You will love it !!!