Our subtitle editor is now more intuitive and effective than ever.

Here at Amara, we are always moving forward in our quest to make more content accessible around the world, and our user community has been with us on this journey since the beginning. Having our users to listen to helps us affirm that the software we build creates value for everyone. We still feel elated every time we hear a story of how Amara’s platform and subtitle editor made it easier for someone to manage their team’s workflows or to quickly subtitle a video for a time-sensitive project.

Now, thanks to feedback from users like you, we’ve optimized the Amara subtitle editor with great new features that will make your subtitling experience even easier and help you reach new levels of productivity. Using Amara will be more intuitive and effective than ever — so that everyone can save valuable time, improve productivity, and focus on what matters: creating accurate captions and subtitles so that your video’s message reaches as many people as possible.

Visit Amara to start subtitling or read on to see how these changes will help you and your organization.

1. An interactive progress panel for more flexible and efficient workflows

We’ve made the progress panel in the subtitle editor more interactive so that you can move between workflow steps faster and have more flexibility in the way you work. Now you can jump between edit mode (“Type what you hear”) and sync mode (“Sync timing”) with just one click.

Each of the workflow steps in the progress panel (upper right of the editor) are now active links, so that you can freely move between typing, syncing, or reviewing your subtitles without leaving the editor. In this new update, we’ve really looked for ways to reduce manual steps, add more workflow flexibility, and help everyone save time.

a mouse hovers over the list of steps in the upper left of the editor, showing that the text is a clickable link

To match workflows, the updated UI behaves differently depending on which mode you are in:

Editing (“Type what you hear”) mode: The cursor stays in the subtitle for editing even when the video is played.

Syncing (“Sync timing”) mode and Review (“Review and complete”) mode: Playing the video brings the focus back to the timeline and the syncing functionality automatically.

We’ve also added a new hotkey to improve workflow. To make the transition between editing and syncing even more efficient, you can now use the ENTER key to directly edit a subtitle sitting under the timeline cursor (the vertical red line). Now you can skip the use of a mouse or trackpad to navigate to the subtitle for a quick edit.

These improvements were made with the feedback of our users. The ability to stay inside the editor when switching between workflow steps offers a more intuitive way to work. These new features helps users cut down on mental context switching and sustain their focus and productivity.

2. Improved handle controls and new visual color alerts

Expanding the use of color on the video timeline represents a more dynamic and intuitive way for Amara to help users create perfect subtitles. The latest update improves the look and feel of the handle controls at the beginning and end of each subtitle on the timeline.

Each handle is now larger and brighter, so that they’re easier to grab and move. Additionally, when the handles of two subtitles are side by side, they’ll appear as merged handles and will be highlighted in a light blue when selected (more on that below).

With the new update, we’ve also improved the way we display character and line limit warnings. Now, if a subtitle exceeds the line and character limits listed in the guidelines (found in the info tray), the subtitle handles on the timeline will light up in orange to alert you on any issues during the syncing stage. This feature immediately lets you see errors, fix them quickly, and move on to the next step.

a subtitle with orange handles indicates limits have not been met for a subtitle

3. Real-time edits to unsynced subtitles now viewable in the video player

The video player inside Amara’s subtitle editor has always shown synced subtitles at the current time in the video. This feature allows visual context and immediate comparisons between what you write and how it appears on screen, thus improving subtitle quality and saving time.

With this latest update, we’ve taken it a step further. Now, whenever you click on an unsynced subtitle in syncing mode, the subtitle will appear on the video player, no matter where you are on the timeline. This change makes it possible for you to have visual confirmation of how the subtitle will look on screen without having to scroll and locate the unsynced subtitle. It can also serve as an extra point of reference within the context of the video, depending on the circumstance.

4. Enhanced syncing functionality within the video timeline

When subtitles aren’t perfectly synced, they can make for a poor viewing experience. To help make the syncing process easier, precise, and efficient, we’ve added more functionality to the video timeline.

With the latest update, the handles at the endpoints of each subtitle can now be selected either one at a time or as two joined together. When you click on two adjacent subtitle handles, both handles will light up to show that they are both selected. This improvement allows you to save time by adjusting two subtitles with one action. You’ll always be able to see what you select based on which handle is highlighted.

Above, only the subtitle on the right is selected. Below, both subtitles are selected.
To select two subtitle endpoints at the same time, the endpoints have to be exactly next to each other and will appear merged.

Nudge subtitles the way that works best for you

For fine-tuning subtitles on the timeline, we’ve added an additional nudging option for mouse and trackpad users. Whenever you have two adjacent subtitles and want to nudge the start/end times of the pair, SHIFT + dragging will adjust the position of both subtitles as one unit. 

If you’ve always preferred to drag subtitles via the old shortcut keys, the existing keyboard combos are still available, including for moving adjacent subtitles at the same time. If you’re new to Amara and have not seen these keyboard shortcuts before, check out the keyboard controls below.

You can also nudge subtitle beginning and end points by selecting a handle and using left and right arrow keys to adjust by small increments.

Close gaps between subtitles more quickly

In addition to these new syncing features, you can quickly close gaps between subtitles by dragging one subtitle to another. This is particularly useful when a a single voice is speaking or narrating for longer periods of time.

These new features are part of Amara’s continuing effort to respond to user feedback and create an exceptional user experience in our award-winning Amara subtitle editor. Part of our mission is to ensure that the Amara experience is both fun and productive, so that you can focus on subtitling content that you are passionate about sharing with others.

Talk to Us!

Like the new features, yet have more ideas to make the editor even better? Help us continue to improve our editor features by emailing us at support@amara.org or sharing your thoughts on Amara’s user forums. For anyone who has been accustomed to the old version, we’ve included the option to choose between the new and older styles of syncing. Learn how to switch settings in the subtitle editor.

Thank you for your contributions to support an inclusive and accessible media ecosystem!

4 thoughts on “Unlock New Levels of Productivity with Amara’s Latest Update

  1. Not good for users. It’s way too LAG! Make the timeline and click not correctly fit in same way. The speed of making a subtitle got slower than before. Please please fix it.

  2. Since this update( I guess), the subtitled videos before this update don’t show the sunbtitles anymore in the embedded sites. Is there any way to fix it? And I also noticed the new version keeps playing up and I can’t sync subtitles because it doesn’t let me. Does it have anything to do with browsers? I have tried internet explorer and google with no success…

  3. Love the color warnings, but please allow the user to adjust character and reading-speed limit thresholds.

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