YouTube adds a Translation Service

Late last year Google added a subtitle translation function to make it easier for video uploaders to transcribe their videos and to then have others translate them.

Of course, sometimes you want that Swahili subtitle translation but you don’t know anyone that will do it.

Google has announced an initial collaboration with two translation services so you can get a translation done for you:

When you request a translation for your captions in YouTube, we’ll display a list of vendors along with their estimated pricing and delivery date so you can easily compare. We’ve initially collaborated with two companies, Gengo and Translated.net, to make their services available to you and to streamline the ordering process.

There are two aspects to note here: two weeks ago Amara (previously Universal Subtitles, mentioned here often) announced an update that automagically sync’d subtitles to your YouTube channel – the timing of this move by Google’s is cynical in the extreme.

Amara are still doing a better job of it – who else has a Closed Captioning (CC) request service:

These are videos that our deaf and hard-of-hearing users have asked the Amara community to caption. Join the team – via http://bit.ly/Join_CR – and help us make these videos accessible to everyone. Are you deaf or hard of hearing? Feel free to submit a video to this team or send your request to our Deaf HoH email list: http://groups.google.com/group/universal-subtitles-deaf-hoh

Did you see that? A deaf/hard of hearing subtitle request list. Fantastic. This type of development gives me faith that while the Google Translation engine will impact upon translators incomes, there is still room for groups to make a living if they think outside the box.

More importantly and fascinatingly, Amara also offers a Music Captioning service:

The place where music is captioned to bridge the gap between hearing and deaf world.
Everyone is welcome join this team – via http://bit.ly/Join_MC – and share and create a worldwide audience to enjoy music in every language of the world.
We also have a Google group where you can discuss the captioning/subtitling of each video:
https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fromgroups#!forum/musiccaptioning
See also our “Guidelines about collaborative captioning / subtitling” there:
https://groups.google.com/d/topic/musiccaptioning/HNPz-1sw56E/discussion .

My other concern, or more correctly the obvious conclusion, of this development, is that Google will be using these subtitles more and more to help it with its voice recognition and understanding service, Google Voice Search – one of the most important steps to integrating robots and AIs into our lives.

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