How Crowdsourced Video Translation Works: Webinar Q&A with Amara
“Want Your Video to Go Global? The Power of Community Translation” was an insightful webinar presented by Darren Bridenbeck of Amara Subs. Amara is a platform for crowdsourcing video translation to create subtitles in multiple languages.
Darren walked us through two case studies of companies that used Amara for crowdsourced translation for their online video libraries: Scientific American and TED Talks.
At the end of the presentation, Darren answered questions from attendees about how to successfully scale video translation for their own organizations. Excerpts from the webinar Q&A are below. Watch the full recording on the video above.
Where do volunteer translators come from? How do you get them to translate your videos and build a community?
- DARREN BRIDENBECK: Amara has a public platform where people can add videos from their own personal YouTube channel and start subtitling them. And in that way, we’ve built a large, public community of volunteers similar to Wikipedia.
“The most die-hard translators are fans you already have – they just didn’t have the opportunity to help before.”
Some organizations want to recruit our volunteers help us subtitle their videos. But nine times out of ten, the most passionate volunteers are folks that are already fans of an organization’s content who learn there’s an opportunity to translate and subtitle their videos.
So the most die-hard translators are fans you already have – they just didn’t have the opportunity to help before.
Can you make your own private team of translators in Amara?
- DARREN BRIDENBECK: Definitely. One thing that Amara teams have is a setting to make a team public or private. And additionally, you can control that team membership through an application or an invitation process. That comes in really handy if you have private content that shouldn’t be accessible to everyone.
Do you have to pay people to translate videos?
- DARREN BRIDENBECK: In Amara, there’s nothing stopping you from paying your translators and growing your team. At the end of a month, we’ll send you the activity that’s happening on Amara, and you can use that to pay your translators if you wish.
Most public translation communities on Amara are volunteer-based, so fans of your content are just coming in and helping out.
Amara has another offering called Amara On Demand, where you can order and pay for a video to be translated into the language you want.
What if I don’t have viral videos or name recognition, but my videos still have interesting content?
- DARREN BRIDENBECK: Consider this:
Do you have any kind of viewership, however small? Are they passionate about your content? Because it only takes a few enthusiasts to step up to the plate.
We actually see this happen in a lot of volunteer translation communities: there will be a translator who just takes it upon themselves to translate all of your videos into their language.
If you know that you have viewers that are passionate, it doesn’t take a whole army of translators to translate your videos. Sometimes it only takes one or two.
“It doesn’t take a whole army of translators to translate your videos. Sometimes it only takes one or two.”
Additionally, start finding ways to cross-promote to who would be excited about promoting your translation efforts with them. If you have a shared mission with another organization, engage with them.
We’ve seen a lot of really cool opportunities happen this way. For example, let’s say there’s a celebrity featured in a video, but the video itself doesn’t have a whole lot of views. Kind of nudging that famous person to tweet it out on their networks can really help you get more eyes on it and get more subtitles.
Can you translate and add subtitles to a video that you don’t own?
- DARREN BRIDENBECK: Oh yes, this is a common question, especially for educational video platforms.
This is getting a little bit technical, but you don’t need to host videos on Amara. You just need to have a streamable video that you can reference, like a link. So if the video is public on YouTube, you can submit the link to Amara and get subtitles for it.
Then, to display the subtitles, you can add code to your website that will wrap subtitles around the embedded video. 3Play Media has a tool for this called a Captions Plugin. This technique lets you have subtitles even though they aren’t uploaded to that YouTube user’s channel.
And of course there’s always the old fashioned way of contacting the YouTube user and telling them, “hey, I’ve got a German translation for your video. Do you want to it?”
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