Subtitle Me!Universal Subtitles is organizing a private beta test of the subtitle and translation tools. We need people who are interested in trying the subtitling interface and providing us with feedback. You don’t need any subtitling experience (although it’s ok if you have some—we need both types of people). Fluency in multiple languages is a plus!

If you’re interested in participating, please sign up for our announcement list and we’ll send instructions for joining the beta test sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Beta test and launch announcements:

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17 thoughts on “Looking for a Few Good Beta Testers

  1. Shorter Universal Subtitles: We need people who actually get paid for what they do to do the same thing all over again for no pay alongside rank amateurs who don’t know what they’re doing at all. Both groups will assist us in improving a tool for “subtitles” that nobody wants and that will never produce high-quality subtitles, let alone captions, because untrained amateurs who can barely spell will be the only people using it. Just like every other such tool that’s been produced.

    Which part did I get wrong?

    If it seems like I am questioning the existence, purpose, and likely outcomes of your entire project from stem to stern, I am. We’ve been through all this before and you will not dodge the bullets that felled all your predecessors.

    1. Hi Joe,

      We think it’s really important to have good options for both professionals and non-professionals and we think Universal Subtitles will be used by both groups. Amateur involvement is important: the vast majority of people that create online video will never be able to afford to hire someone to subtitle, caption, or translate their work, but would love to be able to make their videos more accessible to audiences around the world.

      We expect that there will be paid professionals working with the Universal Subtitles toolkit as well as volunteers. In many cases, the content will be non-overlapping: organizations that want to have professional subtitling and translation done will continue to hire people for the job.

      We would love to get suggestions from you and others about what features and approaches would make what we’re building especially useful for the professional community.


      1. Most people in projects like Wikipedia are not professionals (well, they don’t get paid for doing it), but it seems like almost every one of them can spell. “Untrained amateurs” are often actually very good for projects like this.

        Anyway, I’d prefer subtitles that aren’t 100% correctly spelled over no subtitles at all.

    1. Hi dina,

      We’re still working on an initial list of languages, but whatever we start with will expand as the project moves forward.

  2. Hello guys,

    Great idea the one you have, especially the standardization of subtitle format, as you know, actually we have plenty of formats and it’s difficult to keep going with them all.

    I started creating a web application (using Flex) with some shared points with your project; the idea was to create an alternative to “Adobe clip notes” that not only users of Adobe applications can use, but everyone. This helps speed the creation of subtitles, clip notes, chapter markers.. and the sharing of them either in pdf format or direct export to editing application (such as; Avid, FCP, Premiere..)

    I’d love to know any information about the universal subtitle format you are developing, so that I can include it in my app.

    Thanx and keep the good work.

    1. Actually, we’re not developing a subtitle format — we’re working on a standard way that any client (video player, video host, etc) can check to see if subtitles exist for a particular video (similar to how CDDB provides a way for music players to look up information about audio CD’s). The subtitle repository will provide whatever subtitle format the client requests for a given video.

      1. Thanx Dean for the replay, and sorry for not making my request more clear; By substitle format, I mean, How will you store this subtitles in your database in order to serve them to the client?.
        As you know, today, there’s plenty of subtitle formats out there such as; SubRip, SubViewer, MicroDVD, SubStationAlpha.. Which one of this you will adopt as a standard format? or do you plan to release a new format? If for example I wanted to translate a show in youtube using your platform, ow will you store it in your database?

        Please check this artcle at Wikipedia:

        thanx again.

      2. Yeah, we’ll try to work w/ them all! So let’s say VLC is requesting subtitles for a video — VLC will specify what format it prefers and we’ll respond w/ the right format (.srt, let’s say). A different site or type of player might require timed-text, so we’d hand that out when requested too.

        We don’t have a comprehensive list of formats yet, but we’ll do our best to support the most popular types and maybe provide an API that people could use to adapt any format.

  3. As much as I am very please with the idea of Universal Subtitles, and would like to contribute to such a subject, what do you do about illegal streaming, like foreign tv series, or tv shows ? Adding an open source subtitles system would make them spread on the internet like wild fire, while going against copy infringement.

    And what about the aspect of community ? I’m sure this tool could kill subtitles streaming communities likes they killed the p2p subtitles community. Is it the next step in evolution ?

    I just hope you guys thought well about the legality of subtitling videos that might not be legal to be on the web and the fact that you’re replacing communities that already do that kind of service for us Internet users, and how you can prevent the first and help the second.

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