A new app has launched allowing YouTube users to globally crowdsource subtitles for their videos.
The first-ever subtitle crowdsourcing option available free to YouTube users, the app by Amara.org will help break down language barriers by inviting viewers to translate videos into dozens of languages and sync the translations directly to the uploaded videos.
Dubbed a ‘Wikipedia for subtitles’, Amara.org sees thousands of volunteers working to caption and translate web videos around the world, and boasts Netflix, Twitter, TED Talks and Google among its clients. When Twitter launched its new photo filters last month, its users translated the promo video into 20 languages in just two days.
The new app now means every YouTube creator can have that power, simply by visiting Amara.org and connecting their YouTube channel. All videos in their channel will include a link inviting users to submit subtitles, which will then automatically sync back to the YouTube account and be made available on any site where the video is embedded.
“The only way to get a video translated into the world’s languages is to invite the world’s viewers to help. No YouTube creator speaks every language and automated transcription and translation is still not high enough quality to understand the content of a video. But viewers watching from around the world are excited to help others watch,” said Nicholas Reville, Executive Director of Amara. Last year, the KONY 2012 video was translated on Amara.org into over 20 languages in just one day. “Now any popular video on YouTube can get high quality translations almost immediately. When a video goes viral, it can get huge everywhere at once.”
No word on quality control yet; the phrase ‘lost in translation’ could well become an issue, never mind the actions of more malevolent translators. But as we all know, matters of debate such as these are what YouTube commentators excel at.