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dotSUB is a web-based environment allowing us to translate video content. This tool, unlike Pootle, isn't developed and maintained by the linguistic team developers. As the linguistic team blossomed, it started using dotSUB to transcribe videos. Zeitgeist : Addendum was released and collected more than a million views which caught the eye of Michael Smolens, the CEO of dotSUB at that time, who graciously offered us access to the corporate dashboard, which is normally a non-free and very expensive feature !

How to join a translation project

Communicate with your coordinators

You can take a look at the Language Team Information page to get in touch with them if you haven't done so already. You can also communicate with fellow team members through the Linguistic Team International Forums.

A simple dotSUB account will be sufficient to have access to the videos that are opened for translations.

A common objective

The aim of our process is to provide video content that's transcribed in its original language, so that all translation teams can translate this same transcription in their own language.

Registration to dotSUB

Registration takes place at On the main page, you'll find a Sign-In button on the top right end side of our browser page.

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dotSUB will ask for the following information :

  • Username : the username you'll use to log in. Consider using the same username throughout all of our platforms, which will allow for us to recognize you in any of them.
  • Password, confirm password : you have to type in the password twice.
  • Password hint : question that the dotSUB system asks in case you forgot your password and want to reset it.
  • First Name, Last Name : which will not be displayed in the dotSUB interface.
  • E-Mail : your E-Mail address. dotSUB won't send information to it.

Videos that are up for transcription/translation are usually uploaded into the tzmofficial account. However, if a user has already posted the same video with an acceptable quality, we sometimes decide to work on this copy instead of uploading our own. This will become more rare as the team gains momentum and that our process is refined.

Processing a video

In principle, you should be able to translate any video on dotSUB provided it hasn't been locked by the user who uploaded it. However, Linguistic Team International follows a certain number of steps before a given video is opened for translations.


The first phase in the process is to transcribe a video (which is in English in the vast majority of cases). While transcription is in progress, the video is locked, and only members in the transcription and timestamp adjustment team can have access to it. We use the LTI Forum to keep our fellow team members appraised of the current status of our process for all the videos within our care :

Transcribers and timeshifters reply to a project's master thread to inform the rest of the team that they are currently working on it. Once a video is transcribed, it is left in the hands of the proofreading and timeshifting teams who strive to make the video content as readable and accessible as possible.

When the "Translate and Transcribe" panel looks like the image on the right, it means that the video is still in the English transcription/proofreading/timeshifting stages. Be sure to click on "Advanced Timing" before you begin, so that your resulting timestamps include milliseconds. Translators should note that translations cannot be started until the project is published to the "Open for Translations" section of the forum.

DotsubTrans1 fr.png

Transcription Interface

The Transcription interface is shown in this image. It is comprised of a video panel displaying the video and the subtitles as they're being created. To its right lies the transcription panel which allows us to adjust timestamps for any given sentence in the subtitle file. We refer to each subtitle line as a "string". The panel on the bottom right is used to add subtitle strings to the video.

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First round of proofreading

The first round of proofreading is meant to facilitate the timestamp adjustment team's job by making sure that the guidelines are roughly respected, especially the 70 char and 1,5s display time rules and to correct the most obvious grammar and spelling mistakes.

Timestamp Adjustment

The timestamp adjustment team is separate from the transcription team in that it focuses more on readability considerations than on the content itself. The team's main role is to modify timestamps in the video so that they're perfectly synchronized with the audio track, and that the transcribed sentences are cut in a way that facilitates reading, both in the English language but also as the video is translated, because remember, we use the same transcription for all translations.

Over time, the teams have put together a set of guidelines that we are trying to respect throughout the video transcription process.

Second round of proofreading, Final Review

Once timeshifting is complete, the subtitle file is polished enough to be presentable, but timeshifting often involves moving pieces of sentences or splicing them together which can lead to new mistakes that those rounds are meant to correct. Once the final review is complete, the subtitle file is added to the repository version of the video and awaits translated subtitles to be added.


The video is finally opened to translations, which allows all language teams to jump in and work independently on their translations.

When the "Translate and Transcribe" panel looks like this, it means that the video is open for translations. You can click on the menulist ("Translate into:") to choose your language, and then click on "translate", which will take you to the translation page.

DotsubTrad1 fr.png

In the translation page, all subtitle strings are displayed as well as their timestamps. In order to translate, simply click on the zone marked as "(Click to translate into xXxX)" in which you can type the translated sentence, and press "Enter". dotSUB will place the cursor on the next string to be translated.
In the event that the video is long, there are a certain amount of functions that you can use when scrolling at the bottom of the translation screen, like a button that allows you to scroll automatically towards the first non-translated string.
You can also change the source language with the 'Source language' menu, if you want to check out how other language teams translated a particular sentence.

DotsubTrad2 fr.png

On the main page for the video, you'll be able to download the corresponding subtitle file by clicking on the language of your choice. We work with the SRT file format.

LTI WikiLanguage Team Contacts | FirstTimers-General Guidelines | LTI Guidelines | Transcription Team | Proofreading Team | Translation Teams | Translation Proofreading Teams | Linguistic Tech Team | Media Center | Project Teams | LingTeam Development | Meetings (edit)