Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Amara is a Web-based service that lets anyone transcribe and translate online video

Erez Zukerman | April 16, 2013
Producing video subtitles is a laborious process. First you must transcribe the original video, writing down everything that's said, proofread and correct then, synchronize the subtitles with the audio so they appear on-screen right when the lines are being delivered. Finally, you translate the text into other languages. Amara is a platform that tries to crowd-source all of this work, making it possible for you to set up a system where droves of volunteers help you produce video subtitles for free, without having to download or install anything. It's not entirely successful, but it's an interesting first step in the right direction.

Once you've got a timed transcription of a video, you can now translate it into different languages. Translation is simpler than transcription: Just type the translated text under each subtitle. Of course, how good the end product is depends both on the transcription's quality and on the translator, but the interface itself is easy to use. Also, to enjoy the subtitles, viewers would usually have to use Amara's player.

Amara is an interesting product, but after using it, I remain unconvinced that video subtitles can truly be crowd-sourced, if "crowd-sourcing" implies casual, untrained work. Producing a high-quality subtitled translation is a complex process, with each step requiring its own expertise. Still, if you want to dabble with subtitling or translation, or if you have a video and volunteer or professional translators dedicated to putting out a professional-quality result, Amara is a powerful platform worth experimenting with.

Note: The Download button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor's site, where you can use the latest version of this Web-based software.

 

Previous Page  1  2 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.