Client: Hammer and Nail Productions, a media company specializing in short- and long-form documentary content. Hammer and Nail has produced documentary programming for the BBC, ESPN, and others.

Brief description of project: Operation Pedro Pan: The Cuban Children’s Exodus was a 2015 exhibition at HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate institution. The exhibit chronicled the Cold War era initiative in which more than 14,000 Cuban children were sent unaccompanied to the United States in response to the Castro revolution. As part of the exhibit, Hammer and Nail was commissioned to produce approximately 30 minutes of video content featuring Pedro Pan alums relaying their personal experiences.

What Was Unique: The various videos — there were six total — played simultaneously throughout the exhibition space. The exhibition drew a large number of native Spanish speakers who relied on Spanish subtitles. (The interviews in the videos were conducted in English.) The challenge was to keep the translation (i.e., the subtitles) fairly economical, without sacrificing accuracy or the texture of what was being said (so that visitors would be able to take in a particular video in a single viewing, and continue circulating throughout the space).

Other Vendors: No other vendors were considered.

Solutions: Glossa provided translations that would satisfy a Spanish-speaking audience made up primarily of Cuban-Americans — who brought the expectation that the subtitles would read the way Cubans talk (using particular idioms, phrases, etc.) — without striking other native Spanish speakers as being too culturally specific, and thus difficult to absorb.

Process: Glossa worked closely with us to make sure the subtitles were not only accurate, but were of a length that would allow us to adequately time them to the videos. In so doing, the company eliminated a good deal of additional work for us.

Outcome: HistoryMiami Museum received the American Association for State and Local History’s Award of Merit for Operation Pedro Pan: The Cuban Children’s Exodus. The AASLH awards are the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. The exhibition’s video elements — and the subtitle translations provided by Glossa — contributed to the recognition.

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