Subtitles and translations for ESO videos

Followers of the ESOcast — our astronomy podcast with Dr J — can now watch episodes subtitled in multiple languages. The addition of multiple languages reflects the international nature of ESO and astronomy, and makes it easier for astronomy fans around the world to keep up with the latest news from the world.s most productive observatory.

The subtitles also make it easier for science centres, astronomy educators, communicators and anyone interested in public outreach to share the videos with the public. Whether it is during a class, accompanying an astronomy exhibition, or at a video screening session, the ESOcasts are an easy-to-use, free-of-charge way to inspire people to discover the Universe.

Watching our videos with subtitles

Where they are available, you can select subtitles directly in our embeddable web player, for example on the ESOcast pages on our website. Simply click on the icon labelled CC (Closed Captioning), which appears in the upper right corner of a video when subtitles are available. The subtitles are also available for episodes of the ESOcast downloaded in iTunes (on Windows and Mac OS X). They are also embedded in the downloadable files in the HD & Apple TV and Video Podcast formats on our website, and can be viewed in programs such as VLC (on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux) and QuickTime Player (on Mac OS X). You can even download the subtitles themselves in the standard SRT format.

Known issues:

  • In iTunes on Windows, the subtitles do not work when watching ESOcasts as preview videos in the iTunes store (you need to download the episode to your computer).
  • In QuickTime Player on Windows, the subtitles do not display properly (either play the episode within iTunes, or download the free VLC media player and play the file in that program).

Translating a video into your language

Would you like to see our astronomy outreach videos, such as the ESOcast video podcasts, subtitled in your own language? We are now uploading our videos to dotSUB, where members of the public can contribute subtitle translations. We want to bring the excitement of ESO astronomy to an even wider international audience, and we'd like your help!

To find out how to use dotSUB, you can follow the tutorials on the dotSUB site. In particular, watch the tutorial "How to translate a video on dotSUB". You can find our videos by searching for "ESOastronomy". We also group related videos together. For example, you can find the ESOcasts in the "ESOcasts" collection.

If you want to help us by translating the subtitles into your language, you just need to create a (free) account at dotSUB. Then, simply choose a video and start translating.

Notes for translators of ESO videos

  1. To join our team of volunteer translators and get advance notice of translation opportunities, please fill out the form at: Volunteer Translators
  2. We ask that translators should be fluent in both English and the language into which you are translating, and that you have a good understanding of the scientific and technical terms used in the videos.
  3. Write your translation clearly and accurately, using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. While your translation must as accurately as possible reflect the meaning of the original text, it does not have to be a word-for-word literal translation. You may, for example, translate idioms into equivalent idioms in your language.
  4. We ask that you check your translation with a friend or colleague for style and accuracy.
  5. Please translate all of the lines in the transcript, including the credits and information at the end. This information is usually the same (or very similar) from episode to episode, so it should not be too much extra work.
  6. Acronyms and abbreviations such as ESO, ESA, VLT, ELT must not be translated. Expansions such as “European Southern Observatory” or “European Space Agency” may be translated, if appropriate, but the original abbreviation (“ESO” or “ESA”) should also appear.
  7. Video product names such as “ESOcast”, “Eyes on the Skies”, and “Hubblecast”, must always be written like this and not translated.
  8. No additional information should be added to the subtitles, no URLs given in the subtitles (such as, should be altered, and no additional URLs added, except with the approval of ESO.
  9. We cannot help with technical questions about the dotSUB system; these should be directed to dotSUB.
  10. If you have specific questions about the English transcript text, please contact
  11. If you believe that someone has written something deceptive or offensive in a translation, please contact
  12. ESO may choose to prevent editing of a translation, restrict it to specified users, or edit or delete a translation. We may export subtitles and make them available either as separate files or embedded in video files, which will be licensed under the same Creative Commons Attribution licence as the original videos.
  13. If you have contributed a translation, you may add your name in place of the "—" (or to the names of other translators) in the translation of the subtitle line "Transcription by ESO; translation by —".