YouTube Captioning Service Amara Rolls Out Crowdsourcing Feature


Not everyone who likes “Gangnam Style” can sing in Korean. Translating videos into multiple languages can help bring people together, says Amara executive director Nicholas Reville.  Today, is speeding up the process with the launch of a crowdsourced translation and captioning system for YouTube videos that puts the translations in the hands of the viewers.

Previously, channel creators had to provide their own captions for their videos. With the new app, creators can sync their YouTube accounts with Amara and invite viewers to add their own captions, translate an existing caption, or suggest an edit without having to worry too much about formatting or the timing of the words.

Many YouTube videos are still in desperate need of subtitles for hearing-impaired (and headphone-challenged) viewers around the the world. Reville said that hearing-impaired users are not the only people who benefit from the captions. Among practical uses like watching videos at work with the sound off, Google can also use the captions to index the keywords, which helps video creators with their search engine optimization.

Reville said that the viral nature of the application makes it easy to get a video translated quickly. Last year, viewers used Amara to translate the KONY 2012 video into more than 20 languages in one day. Since the announcement about the new feature went up earlier today, he added, approximately 300 users have already connected their accounts.

English is still the most popular language for captions, he noted, but other languages including Spanish, Chinese, French, German, and Portuguese are also gaining momentum. Said Reville, “The idea is that a video can become a hit in any language around the world.”

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