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Let's Translate the World's Videos, Starting With This One
© Image: Screenshot by Eric Mack /

Let's Translate the World's Videos, Starting With This One

Amara is an organization on a mission. It wants anyone, anywhere to be able to understand the universe of video that's now available online. Gee, this sure sounds like a job for the crowd...

Amara is, in fact, an award-winning crowdsourced subtitling platform that likes to refer to itself as a ‘Wikipedia for subtitles.’ Tens of thousands of volunteers have been participating for some time now in translating and captioning all sorts of videos, from the State of the Union Address to last year's inescapable Kony video, in dozens of languages.

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Amara's enterprise services also provide tools for organizations such as Netflix, Twitter, TED Talks, Khan Academy and Google to build their own subtitling communities.

Recently, Amara turned its sights on an obvious target -- the world's largest video community, YouTube -- with a new app that allows users to connect their YouTube channel to Amara and encourage the crowd to caption or translate their content. According to Amara:

For YouTube users, the functionality is simple. They visit, connect their YouTube channel, and any videos in their YouTube channel will include a link inviting users to help subtitle. When subtitles are created by a user, for example a Spanish translation, they will be synced automatically back to the YouTube account and will be available on any site in which the video is embedded.

This caught my attention, and the obvious thing seemed to be to take it for a spin. I invited Amara co-founder Nicholas Reville to join me in a Google+ Hangout On Air for the purposes of explaining a little more about the new YouTube app and the mission of Amara.

And because all Hangouts On Air automatically get archived on YouTube, it's also the perfect opportunity to test out the new app, by inviting you, our uber global and multi-lingual audience, to caption and translate the video below.

Nothing says meta like translating the video about translating videos.

So, check out the video below, or better yet, go here to view it on its special Amara page where you can translate or transcribe while you watch it.

 - Eric Mack is Managing Editor for  He has covered business, technology and politics for more than a decade for major outlets including CNET, CBS, AOL, NPR, Wired, and the New York Times.  You can contact him at Find him on Twitter and Google+. Also be sure to follow on Twitter and join our Crowdsourcing community on Google+.

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