We recently released an update to Universal Subtitles that fixes lots of little bugs and adds more polish and functionality to the website. If you’d like to try it out, I suggest subtitling a video (get started now). We’re full steam ahead on development and plan to do a release every few weeks. Technically we’re still in alpha right now, but the tools are already very useful in the real world, as you can see below!

We’re excited to see people and organizations beginning to use Universal Subtitles in their everyday workflow! Mozilla Drumbeat (a big early supporter of ours) is using the subtitle widget (the little tab) to encourage people to get involved and subtitle/translate their videos. Within 24 hours, the video was subtitled into the original language (Spanish) as well as English, which is great real-world progress. I’ll embed that below; it’s fun to see how the subtitles can easily move from site to site with a video.

{‘video_url’: ‘http://webmademovies.etherworks.ca/guillermo.ogv’}

Example of Mozilla Drumbeat using Universal Subtitles. This is an html5 ogg video, so you’ll need a browser that supports this format.

Another organization that’s trying out Universal Subtitles is WITNESS, who specializes in human rights video. You can see their recent blog post that includes a Universal Subtitles enabled video. Similarly to Mozilla’s experience, in less than 24 hours, a contributor translated the video into Polish (check out the comments—Bryan even got a chance to thank them!). Super inspiring stuff and we’re clearly just at the beginning. I’ll be updating this blog more often with examples of videos that could use some help with subtitles and translations.

This latest release adds more video compatibility, so we now support Theora, WebM, YouTube, and blip.tv. We’ll be adding more support for things like Vimeo, mp4, mp3, and flv in the very near future. We fixed a number of minor annoyances and gave the website a big boost. A great example is the new revision history, which creates snapshots of subtitle modifications so everyone can see a revision history and compare different versions of subtitles; it works a lot like Wikipedia’s article history.

In the coming months, we’ll be making it far easier to enable, embed, and spread subtitles for videos and there will be lots of website improvements as well. We’re also working on new features: a better interface and tools for translators, a slicker “subtitle me” tab for embeded videos, automatic machine translation for both translators and viewers, additional video formats, and TONS more!

Make sure you’re on our email list for updates (use the sidebar to sign up).

10 thoughts on “Universal Subtitles: New Version Released

  1. When I checked that Spanish video, I noticed:
    Translating from subtitle to subtitle would be good.
    A local translation from the English translation is better than nothing after all. And it can still be improved by those speaking the spoken language later on.

  2. Subtitles are translations, hence encouraging people to “subtitle/translate” their videos is encouraging them to do the same thing twice. Though we both know that your users are mostly illegally translating videos of which they are not the copyright owner.

  3. @ Joe Clark

    You said “your users are mostly illegally translating videos of which they are not the copyright owner”

    I can’t see how a copyright owner will mind getting their video subtitled by strangers seeing as first, it is being done 100% voluntarily and second, it is costing that copyright owner absolutely nothing.

    If any copyright owner has a problem with that, they can go bury their head in the sand. It hasn’t been called Universal Subtitles for nothing.

    1. @aboodilankaboot

      Your statement is an ambiguous argument. You cannot copy protect speech in this case copy protect accessibility. Your comments is a direct insult to the entire Deaf/International audience. I dare you to copy protect my boogers!

      1. Sorry this meant to be for Joe guy the one who thinks it’s illegal to caption video. Listen buddy either you or the said movie is responsible for captioning your media or the public will your choice. Don’t be an idiot please. Thank you.

      2. Booger Bender here,
        I gave it a lot of thought about public websites and how the public responds to a comment anyone says. While everyone should respect free speech, this includes myself. Personally, I apologize to anyone who were/are offended by my post. I wholeheartedly take back my recent post torwards Joe or anyone reading. Free speech should be respected in forms of educational information and worldwide care. It was wrong for me to use certain wording on here since I do represent and promote Universal Subtitles. My apology for those felt uncomfortable with my comments. This is my respect to Universal Subtitles and everyone here. Let’s make this an example why free speech should be respected as well open source community.
        I look forward to providing the community and everyone worldwide positive and humorous open arms welcome to this project for everyone equally.
        My very best regards to all, Peace.

        Booger Bender

  4. Holy Flaming Booger Balls!
    This is friggin awesome!
    Thank you guys for such brilliant work on video captioning. This is like a dream come true for the Deaf and International culture. Imagine deaf people for the first time in their lives perhaps entering a cinema to watch a movie with subtitles. I see millions and millions of people who rely on closed captions not just Deaf culture but, the International Audience of Cinema. Accessibility brings flourish entertainment; not the other way around.

  5. The new alpha version looks great. You guys seem to be doing a good job responding to feedback and fixing glitches.
    One glitch the site has right now is I’m not able to upload .srt files to videos anymore. Just thought I’d let you know so you can get right on it.
    Thanks and keep up the good work!

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