Leaving A Long Lasting Legacy: Curating Your Family's History

Leaving A Long-Lasting Legacy: Curating Your Family’s History

I believe everyone wants to leave a legacy.

Many people choose to pass on their homes, investments and possessions.

For Jeff Dormish, leaving a legacy means so much more than that. He does not just want to leave possessions; he wants to pass on his history.

For many Americans, most of their ancestors came from Europe in the great emigration wave before the First World War. Jeff Dormish’s ancestors also came from Europe, Slovenia, to be exact.

In 2016, he began on a journey to discover his past.

Along with 49 other Americans, Jeff participated in an international genealogy conference organized by the Slovenian Genealogy Society.

On this trip, he directly saw and experienced the place where his ancestors had once resided. At that moment, the things that he had seen in pictures have come to life. Lucky for Jeff, the life-changing trip that he had undertaken was covered by a Slovenian TV station.

5 years later, Jeff has become the President of the Slovenian Genealogy Society International based in Cleveland, Ohio. He wanted to put the 12-minute video from the Slovenian TV coverage in the archive of the genealogy group, hoping that it could help and inspire others in a similar situation. However, it was primarily spoken in Slovenian, a language that he could neither speak nor understand.

Jeff wanted the video to be translated into English. That is when he contacted VideoTranslator. Equipped with the video and Jeff’s parent’s family picture, I began to do my work.

Transcribing The Video

Before translating the video, I used VideoTranslator’s application that can automatically transcribe videos by using the AI system that is embedded in the app.

Translating The Video

I understand that things can easily get lost in translation. That is why a professional translator was hired. The transcription from Video Translator’s app was transferred into a txt file and sent to a translator. The translator then came back with the translated subtitles of the video.

Creating Burnt-In Subtitles

The original video has burnt-in subtitles in Slovenian. I wanted to make sure that the new burnt-in subtitles would match the current one.

First, I synced the translated subtitles to the video by using Adobe Premiere Pro. I shifted the timing a little bit to match the dialogues.

I also added a black background behind the text with 90% transparency to make it easier for people to read and match the style of the original video.

After editing it, I saved the file with the burnt-in subtitles in the video.

After I sent the video with the burnt-in subtitles to Jeff, he asked me to fix some name spelling errors. I realized that the spelling errors were mainly from the original video, not from the translation.

So, how can I fix this problem?

I figured that I can fix this by adding a text overlay on top of the original one. I used matching font style and size and corrected the spelling errors.

In the end, it looks like it was not edited at all!

Fixing Up Damaged Photo

Jeff had sent us a picture of his parent’s family photo. However, the image is damaged with discolouration on the right side.

I know how much it would mean for him to have the picture fixed up, so I did.

I used Adobe Photoshop to fix the image. I replaced the damaged area with pixels from the undamaged picture by using the patch tool.

This is the end result.

What I Learnt

Jeff’s story resonated with me. As an Indonesian of Chinese ancestry, I too often find myself wondering about my own families story.

Where were they from?

Why did they move?

Who were the important people in their lives?

I was born and raised in Indonesia.

My family does not speak mandarin, and my grandparents did not teach the Chinese dialect to me. Just like Jeff, language is a big challenge in discovering my own story.

Seeing how far Jeff has come and what he wanted to pass along to his children has inspired me. Someday I would also like to see the places where my people had lived, how they spent their lives, who their partners and children were, and untangle the mysteries of my past.


Helping Jeff, who wants to leave a long-lasting legacy for his family, is one reason why we do what we do. We hope to help more people build legacies and find answers to their biggest questions in the future.

If you need our help in translating your videos, do not hesitate to contact us at hello@videotranslator.ai.