52 years ago today, two men walked on the Moon. A species that until a few decades before hadn’t mastered powered flight of any kind sent two of its representatives on a journey of a quarter of a billion miles, landed them safely on the surface of another world and then brought them safely back.
A great deal has been written about that achievement, and a great deal more will be written today. Every word is merited; the Apollo 11 mission was a miracle of technology, ingenuity and courage. The mission to share the story with a waiting world was a challenge too, and it was met with global teamwork.
Because of weight restrictions on the lunar module, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were only permitted to take a small black-and-white camera with a 16mm lens.
Image and sound signals were transmitted via antenna on the space craft, beaming images back to earth. Because of the earth’s position, a transmitter in Australia was in the right position to share the signal. The pictures were then shared via satellites orbiting the Earth to TV stations around the world.
The sound quality was so poor that when Armstrong uttered the immortal line “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” the words needed to be subtitled in English. Further subtitling in multiple languages was needed for the 650 million viewers. The message and the accomplishment united the world in a way that no single event had before, and arguably none has since.
XTM Customer Success specialist Lena Tsompanidou is too young to have experienced the event first hand, but her career has shown her ample evidence of the power of global communication.
“The moon landing was a landmark event for many reasons. As someone who has worked extensively in multilingual subtitling, I find it particularly interesting that this tool was used to such good effect in 1969. I believe people of different nationalities want to celebrate each other’s successes. When we give people a reason to come together, they will. By sharing this iconic message in language that so many people could understand and warmly embrace, NASA popped the cork on a global celebration.”
Lena is also delighted to see the positive impact that XTM Cloud has on multilingual subtitling and video localization:
“XTM Cloud 12.7 introduced a beta version of interactive previews to localize video subtitles. With the interactive previews, linguists have full video context so they can make more informed language choices and identify potential text length issues immediately. And users can view video subtitles on one screen and translate them on another, with the video player opened in a different browser tab or window. Our users might not be heading to the Moon and back but like Neil Armstrong they are speaking to the world, and it’s a privilege to help them do it.”
52 years ago two men walked on the surface of another world, and then sent a message of unity to everyone on this one. The quest to improve global communication continues. Lena Tsompanidou and everyone at XTM International is proud to play our part.