Knight Foundation and Mozilla provide $1 million in funding to Amara, pioneer in crowd-sourced video translation

Press Release

May 10, 2012


PBS NewsHour, Khan Academy and Al Jazeera among major organizations using Amara technology to expand their global audience


"Amara - making Internet video truly global" by Nick Reville on Knight Blog


(May 9, 2012) – Aiming to strengthen the role of the Internet as an open platform for global learning, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Mozilla today announced they have provided $1 million in funding to Amara, a pioneer in crowd-sourced video translation.

With nearly 170,000 videos translated since its founding in 2010, Amara is one of the world’s largest video subtitling platforms. Its system is used by a wide range of leading news, media and education organizations, from PBS NewsHour to Khan Academy and Al Jazeera, to reach wider audiences and further global understanding. In addition, Amara volunteers use the system to independently translate popular videos – from President Barack Obama’s message to the Sudan to KONY 2012, which was translated into 35 languages in 4 days.

Amara (formerly Universal Subtitles), has transformed video subtitle creation and management, which was previously an expensive and complicated process.  Just as organizations like Mozilla, Twitter, and Facebook have built volunteer communities to translate their websites, Amara makes this possible for companies to do with their video assets. Through Amara, it is possible for any individual or organization to enlist a team of experienced volunteers to translate a video and make it global.  While Amara’s tools are free and open source, it also offers premium services, which companies and organizations can use to create and manage high quality subtitles, using staff, contractors and volunteers.

“Amara uses the latest technology to allow people anywhere to use their skills and translate audio so that video can be understood in many languages almost immediately.  Amara truly unlocks new value in video, which is already as close to a common language as we have,” said Alberto Ibargüen, CEO of Knight Foundation. “This service will connect people through the sharing of information, whether across global borders or in our own communities.”

"Mozilla's global translation and localization communities have always been at the heart of who we are.  For the first time, Amara lets us extend our community translation work to include video," said Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla. "We are proud to support Amara as they build a crucial part of the open Web."

Amara, a project of the Participatory Culture Foundation, also has won major awards over the past 8 months including the Federal Communication Chairman's Award for Advancement of Accessibility, the United Nations Intercultural Innovation Award and the 2011 Tech Awards.

About Amara

Amara is a product of the Participatory Culture Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit in the model of Mozilla.  It has recently been renamed from 'Universal Subtitles' to 'Amara' along with the launch of the enterprise side.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

About The Mozilla Foundation

Mozilla is a global, non-profit organization dedicated to making the Web better. We emphasize principle over profit, and believe that the Web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold. We work with a worldwide community to create open source products like Mozilla Firefox, and to innovate for the benefit of the individual and the betterment of the Web. The result is great products built by passionate people and better choices for everyone. For more information, visit