Universal Subtitles

November 28th, 2010 in open source, PlanetGNOME, Web/Tech, webapps, Would you do it again for free?

I found the coolest tool, Universal Subtitles. With Universal Subtitles you can easily transcribe a talk, add subtitles or captions or translate any video on the web.

I’ve been trying to transcribe my Would you do it again for free? talk forever and I always give up – I can’t type fast enough to keep up and manually pausing required more hands than I have. Universal Subtitles let me type and automatically paused and let me catch up whenever the video got ahead of me. Then I could go back and edit, adjust the timing, etc. Now I could also go back and translate the subtitles into other languages.

Universal Subtitles is an awesome tool to help people share videos and presentations in other languages. Not only does it give you the tools you need to do the job, but it makes it very easy to cooperate. So for example, I could transcribe a GNOME video and then someone from the GNOME Hispano community could translate the subtitles into Spanish and then someone else from the GNOME localization team could translate them into their language. Others can go back and make corrections and adjust timing.

(Note that while the Universal Subtitles tool is awesome, transcription is still hard! I was transcribing myself and I still had trouble at times!)

Universal Subtitles is open source software and funded in part by Mozilla through Mozilla Drumbeat.

Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla.

9 Responses to “Universal Subtitles”

  1. Debianero says:

    Wow, that’s really cool indeed.

    I’m going to translate all (all means as many as I can ^_^) promotional Linux videos to Spanish.

    stormy Reply:
    November 28th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Which videos are those? Post a link back here to their Universal Subtitles website once you get them set up there!

  2. sankarshan says:

    It would be nice to have that talk transcribed. And, thanks for writing about the tool.

    stormy Reply:
    November 29th, 2010 at 7:15 am

    If you mean my Would you do it again for free? talk, it is transcribed. (Using Universal Subtitles.)


    sankarshan Reply:
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Thank you. This actually makes the talk a great candidate for installation fests and LUG meets.

    Do you plan to make the subtitles available as an .srt file ? That could allow interested folks to attempt a translation and link it with the video.

    stormy Reply:
    November 29th, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Click through and you can download it in several different formats, including .srt, directly from Universal Subtitles.

  3. Alan Kelly says:

    Thanks, Stormy. I read your post at …


    I am all on board and helping drive the train towards captioning greater numbers of videos, especially toward accessibility goals.

    And I wish to state to any readers with interest that bots are not the way to caption human speech if accuracy is desired.

    I do know Google autocaption bots despite it’s brainless ease, results in a meaning so divergent from the original as to create confusion.

    I think that entities, persons and corporations which value their personal or corporate message must understand that if they leave it up to a bot to _trashscribe_ their video, that _trashscript_ indexed and available for search engines, and not their content will become known to the public.

    Online and offline programs for transcribing, editing, tweak timing, and captioning are available. Using these can result in immediate captions available for translation into other languages.

    I know of: dotSub, CaptionTube and StartStop.com


    Alan Kelly, of VerbatimIT
    serving before “peak AOL”

  4. Dread Knight says:

    This tool might come in very handy for us over here at Freezing Moon Games.

    We’ve recently started doing some tutorials, mainly video ones (about blender), for which we had made versions in different languages (same video, but the audio recorded again and swapped).



  5. sankarshan says:

    Indeed. Silly of me to not notice that there was a click-through. Thanks once again and especially because you took the time to transcribe what is indeed a very popular talk.