Take a look below and enjoy the full stories from the Amara community celebrating ITD2016 and the value that subtitles have brought to their life!

“I decided to join Amara on Demand and subtitle because I value the freedom of work whenever and wherever I want. I wish that my contribution to subtitling, captioning and translation helps to make Degrowth and Sustainable Consumption more accessible to people who wish and desire to live a good life.”

– Robert Orzanna

“The Portuguese love subtitles!

The first time I remember hearing other language that was not my own was in 1991, when I was 5 years old. From that moment on, I began wondering why foreign people use different words and what makes them give things different names.

I kept wondering about that when I learned how to read, in the next year. In mid-1992, the challenge was to read the subtitles on tv. I am from Portugal and here the films and the series are subtitled, not dubbed. Even in the news, when someone is interviewed, there are subtitles. The only exception are children shows. My reading speed benefitted from the subtitles. Thanks to them, I can read quite quickly, because I have been doing that since childhood. I can also listen to people’s real voices. It is so great that Portugal has subtitles! Every Portuguese person I have met has agreed with me. We love subtitles.

When I was 16 years old I thought that I would like to be a translator, if only… Well… I studied sciences, then microbiology. When I was 27 and having nothing to lose, I decided that I would study translation. I was going to study the subject I love.

Then I got really lucky. I did four voluntary translation tasks. Later, two of them became paid tasks. I went to University of Lisbon and had the greatest time of my life. Everything was wonderful and I feel thankful for having the chance to be there and meet so many intelligent people. I graduated in June 2016 and in the same month I got a job in technical translation. I am very happy.

I am passionate about translating. I enjoy making contents available to Portuguese speaking people. It is an honour for me to contribute with some subtitles. They have changed my life for the better. I hope that subtiles continue improving people’s lives, bringing culture and entertainment to their lives. Maybe some of them will learn how to read quite fast too.”

Cláudia Anjos Lopes, Portugal

“Translations have made a great impact ever since I was at my elementary school. I was born in 1987, at those years until 2000, it was still the time of television. Television is the main source of entertainment beside radio. As interesting a radio can be, TV will be much more interesting as a multimedia device, where there are lots of movies and tv shows brought in from abroad.

Since I live in Indonesia, other languages beside Indonesian will be my second language. Those television shows and movies brought in from abroad comes with all languages, though sometime before 2000 most of them are dubbed rather than subbed. I started to learn other language not because of the dubbed ones but the subbed one. I can learn english, words for words, expressions and other sorts of slang because of the subbed. I can understand from the face the actor making and through reading the Indonesian meaning that is subbed.

Furthermore, when digital era starting to emerge. Entertainment not only belong to television anymore, since there are CDs and DVDs. I can get through CDs and DVDs that played with computer. At the time, I was starting to like anime and manga. Stuffs from Japan. Well, I don’t understand any Japanese, but through subbing, I can understand the expression they are saying and how to properly translate certain expression and words to English. Anime, beside movie and tv shows that attract me into the translation and subbing world.

So when the question emerge, how does translation effect me in real life? They do affect me tremendously. I can understand what the actors are trying to say through subtitles. I can understand other language without having to properly learn it by sitting through classes is just sitting through movies, tv shows and animes. Up until 2012, I am just a subtitle consumer, but starting 2013, I am trying to do subtitles myself. It began with TED project. At the time I seen TED project and how their vision to make a video subtitled in all various languages because they want to share the knowledge of the video itself to as many people as they can. At that time, it got into me. All those years watching television, all those subtitlers and translators are doing an extremely good job at shaping my english language. The experience of subtitling taught me that. One time, I decided to do subtitle for an anime title because I like the title and there are not many Indonesian subtitle at that time. I certainly didn’t understand Japanese, so how should I do it? I stripped out English subtitle, translate it to Indonesian and repack it to the movie. One thing that shock me and give me experience is a comment made by somebody who watched the anime and wrote “That’s what’s written in the subtitle when the actor said it”, So it means, the audience fully trust the subtitle, though it might not be 100% correct, but that is what they deem trust at least until they find the more suitable translation. At that moment I was saying to myself, “This is my passion”, I want a video to be known to other fellow Indonesian and other fellow audience who watched the video.

So now, every time I have task for subtitling and translating the video whether through TED, amara or other means, I want to make it as precisely as I can without losing the real meaning behind it. And I do realize that however fluent you are with a second language, you won’t be able to be as fluent as a native. You might lose a piece or two of the train of thought that native have when translating. Either emotion, way of doing things or other stuff that comes with the paragraph, sentence, and the word. This is why subtitle is so important, audience of the video doesn’t have to understand the language to be able to understand the whole video. They can watch and understand through the role of subtitles. That is why it is very crucial for a translator and subtitler to do their job as precisely as they can, not to take some task for granted and to skip the minute detail in it, because that’s what makes it different from the good and great translators and subtitlers. We, as the translators and subtitlers have the burden to educate the audience through our works.”

– Aji, Indonesia

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ih-q9SfE0aw&w=560&h=315%5D

– Riccardo Barbieri, Milan

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOogUgPOD0A&w=560&h=315%5D

– Ghalia Turki, Damascus, Syria

Getting the chance to be part of the great translator team for such a great Academy is a wonderful opportunity for me, as it improves my knowledge and skill for the environment issues.

As for the great cause of having videos to be translated/ subtitled, indeed it is very useful, especially for kids, specifically in my country, most kids don’t really understand English very well, the videos that have been subtitled help those kids to understand the content of the videos much better. And it is essential because the Cal Academy videos are delivering valuable information about science, environment and life, in interesting and easy-to-watch videos, not too long in duration, so that the kids can enjoy watching and learning things surrounding them.

So, for Cal Academy, keep up the good deeds for making all those great videos, and in the meantime, also thanks for all the great translator/subtitle teams for making all things possible for all the people around the world!

Best regards,


My name is Mizuki Hsu. I am a visiting scholar from Japan and have worked with Burton Blatt Institute in Syracuse University. I visited DO-IT office in February and gave a talk at SCUN conference with Sheryl in March as well. I got your email about “stories for International Translation Day” and would like to share mine.

You probably know a disability community in Seattle called “Rooted in Rights“. I collaborated with them to create 2 disability advocacy clips with English captions and Japanese translations/captions.

  1. Accessing Employment in Japan


  1. Sagamihara 19 Had Lives Worth Living


In those clips, I speak English which is the most common language in the world. But with Japanese translation, those messages can easily reach to Japanese people who might not have known about those issues. Japanese language can be often vague not to hurt other people culturally. It’s ok in daily life, but when I wanna send a strong message, it is difficult to do in Japanese. So, those clips have very strong and straightforward message in English, and still can reach to Japanese people with the translation.

This is my story to share with you.

Best regards,

Misuki Hsu,

“I believe that sharing is caring, so when you come across useful and valuable materials it’s much better to make it available to all those around you”
– Riyad Almubarak

Full Story: https://romeoguitar.wordpress.com/2015/08/02/why-do-i-translate-ted-talks/

“Hello! I’m nameless.

I’m from Turkey, I want to share my first subtitle story. I translated a movie which is a Korean drama. I translate it Korean to Turkish. And a few days later, I saw my subtitle on Korean Facebook fan pages. Everybody likes it, and somebody had fun with that, and most of them use the translate in their general life. One day, I went somewhere I heard my translate. I smiled. The young girl who was using my translate. She said that I watched a Korean movie. I like the sentence, he, who is the actor in the movie, is so brilliant. She thought, he said that, but not. It’s my work. But she doesn’t know that. and She won’t know that. We, who are translators, are nameless heroes.

Happy International Translation Day! ^_^ :D :)

Thank You! “

– Nameless

“To keep it simple, subtitling is helping me to fulfill an old ideal. Imparting knowledge to people all around the world, whenever and wherever they are. :)”

– Andre Kilton Peixoto

My name is Laura Messner. I’m a 17-year-old high school student from Turkey and a TED talks addicted volunteer translator. In Turkey, we have a highly criticized school system based on memorizing which inhibits questioning and eradicates curiosity. Students are exposed to a system of standardized tests which changes with the accession of every new minister of education, as if we were guinea pigs. Thus, in such an environment, TED talks have wiped out my hate for science and piqued my curiosity for it, by showing that science based on memorizing terms and formulas (forgotten in some days) is not science. In addition, even in reputable Turkish schools, language teaching is insufficient (I myself honed my English skills on my own pace). Eventually, there is no source worth of precious knowledge than internet fraught with english data. Thus, it was that consciousness that spurred me towards translation and a homage for the TED community and the idea that keeps it flourish: ideas worth spreading. However, that’s incomplete without us -volunteer translators-, for thoughts have to be conveyed to a larger scale with translation which is inspirational just as the idea.

Happy International Translation Day!

Laura Messner, Turkey

I’d like to contribute and give a short insight into my experience with translation and Amara.

It was a while ago that TED introduced Amara as the official volunteer translator tool and platform.

I was kinda confused at first, but learned to use it, and from then around 500 translations and reviews have come out of my keyboard.

But the thing that is more important than that number is the numerous ideas I’ve given a Croatian voice to, the lessons I’ve learned from them, how I changed as an individual through my volunteer work, all the people I’ve met through the amazing project and all the things that happened as a direct consequence of volunteering my time in this amazing effort of giving voices to ideas worth spreading.

And still, even with all this, there’s this thing that always humbles me when I think of a talk or a video I translated that resonated with me and helped me do something or changed the way I think of some topic.

I think of that talk changing something for someone, even just one person that got to watch the talk and got some message or inspiration from it, and it’s amazing.

The value of that impact is far beyond my imagination, and I find myself really proud and happy to be a part of this exciting and vibrant community that is trying to remove the language borders of communicating ideas.

That’s what this project is for me, and that’s what motivates me and keeps me going.

Happy International Translation Day from Croatia!

BR – Ivan S, Croatia

It has been over a year since my experience in translating and subtitling started. I’m very grateful to Amara and TED for this year of enriching experiences not only in the professional field, but also in the personal.

Although I had to make a break in college in order to save some money for finishing my studies, I remember that, after leaving, I used to keep in touch with some friends to know about them and about the courses that they were having. In my free time, I always read some of the books they read to be updated with my career in stand-bye.

One day, one of my best friends called Mariela told me that a professor gave her the assignment of making the transcription and translation of a video hosted in a website called TED. I checked the video that she chose and I helped her with that assignment. After that, I couldn’t stop of checking the daily videos they uploaded. They covered almost all the topics from sciences to arts! Luckily for me, they needed volunteers and I applied for that opportunity.

I never imagined getting to know so diverse, colorful, interesting and passionate people, not even translate them and learn from them such interesting topics that talked about our amazing and complex brain, about the rich nature of our personality, about the promising future we have in technology and of colonizing a new planet with the project Mars One.  I also got to know about an animal that came to the evolutionary scene more than 5 million years ago and whose longevity is nowadays in danger but has the hope of surviving if we take prompt actions. Other talks talked about inspiring stories of personal development… All of them were interesting!

Till the moment, I’ve got 18 videos translated, subtitled and approved, 14 talks from English to Spanish, and 4 from French to Spanish.  And, beyond the numbers, I have the great luck of realizing the dream of working in translation and subtitling even before getting graduated in college.

I have the pleasure of being part of the community that makes “ideas worth spreading” can be translated to spread them even further. And, in that way, I feel that I’m already fulfilling the social compromise that every man has of making the world a bit better.

Thank you Amara, Thank you TED and happy international translation day!

Greetings from Peru!

Cesar Incio, Peru