Knight Foundation and Mozilla announced today a $1 million investment in Amara, which makes video more accessible around the globe by simplifying the way to caption and subtitle it. Here, Amara's Nicholas Reville write about the service:
The famous (and maybe infamous) KONY 2012 video from March was a global sensation, both in viewership and in production. The video is about Africa, it was produced by a team in the U.S., and was looking to spark global activism-- and yet it was posted exclusively in English. That means the audience it could reach was dramatically restricted.
Using Amara, volunteers translated KONY 2012 into more than 34 languages in just four days. Look at the language list:
And KONY 2012 is just a microcosm of online video. Video is the most popular medium in the world, and the online video revolution has made everyone a potential global video publisher. But when a video is posted in language that we don’t speak, how can we enjoy it?
To truly have access to video around the world, we need a way to watch and understand it. For people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, the challenge is even greater -- without captions, all videos are inaccessible.
At Amara, we want to solve this problem at a mass scale -- we want to remove all the barriers that have made subtitling and captioning so rare online. We’ve built the simplest subtitling interface anywhere online. We are making it easy for companies and organizations to manage subtitle workflows, and most importantly, we’re involving viewers in making videos accessible. And inviting viewers to subtitle is the key to reaching hundreds of millions of online videos. Without their help, the problem becomes impossible.
With support from Knight Foundation, Mozilla and the Open Society institute, we are building the largest subtitling community in the world. We’re already working with organizations like PBS Newshour, Al Jazeera and Khan Academy, helping them build and run volunteer communities to subtitle their video. And we are about to launch several major partnerships with companies and organizations around the world that will be using our enterprise platform to manage subtitle creation processes with staff, volunteers and contractors.
Meanwhile, our community of volunteers -- a Wikipedia for video subtitling-- are working to caption and translate web videos from around the world. And it’s easy to get started, just submit a video and start typing, Amara guides you through the whole process.
Related: "Mozilla and Knight Foundation Invest $1M In Crowdsourced Translation Startup Amara" on TechCrunch.com and "Knight Foundation and Mozilla invest $1m in crowdsourced video translation project Amara" on TheNextWeb.com.