Machine Subtitling and Voiceover

9 Technologies That Offer a Glimpse into the Future of Multimedia Localization

This report was co-authored by Yulia Akhulkova and Belén Agulló García.

Now is an exciting time for media localization, with technologies improving across the board making automated subtitling and dubbing an actual possibility.

With machine dubbing, we're still far from having automated voices that sound like real human actors expressing emotions and delivering high-quality acting performances. The current automated technology is mainly used for voiceover recordings (for example, documentaries, e-learning, news, corporate videos, and audio description). However, interesting advances are being made in the field of voice synthesis, as we’ll discuss further.

Automated subtitling and voiceover: closer than putting a man back on the moon?

When it comes to subtitling, there are two main ways software can automatically generate subtitles:

  • Synchronizing video dialogues with a script that has previously been transcribed (either manually or automatically with a transcription tool)
  • Transcribing and synchronizing video dialogues, generating a subtitle file

You might have seen examples of this technology on YouTube. The platform has an automatic subtitle generation function. The output quality varies depending on the quality of the audio and the pronunciation of the speaker, as well as the language of the video. That is how automatic subtitles are already replacing humans. Although automatic captions including transcription and synchronization are not always available on YouTube currently, YouTube Studio allows you to provide a transcription for your videos. Their solution will automatically synchronize the video with the transcription using the first of the aforementioned methods.

Source: YouTube

There are many software solutions that offer automatic transcription, including Dragon Naturally Speaking, Webcaptioner, and Microsoft Translate. As Mara Campbell from True Subtitles pointed out in her presentation at Media4All, even the cheapest, worst speech recognition software offers greater productivity than doing it manually. We have spotted an increase in services offering automatic transcription and synchronization for subtitles such as Happyscribe, Limecraft, Trint, and Rev.

But what about automatically translating subtitles into different languages?

This has been a preview. The full report can be accessed online by Nimdzi Partners.

The full publication contains information on the latest in machine subtitling and voiceover technology and how are various companies approaching it. If you are not a Nimdzi Partner, contact us.


Yulia Akhulkova is Nimdzi's Technology Researcher. If you wish to learn more about this topic and the latest trends in language technology, feel free to reach out to Yulia at [email protected].


Belén Agulló García is Nimdzi's Media Localization Specialist. If you wish to learn more about this topic and the latest in audiovisual technology, feel free to reach out to Belén at [email protected].

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