Almost all the videos on our YouTube channel now have subtitles in English. You can tell which ones do, by the small CC symbol beneath each one:

mySociety YouTube channel

Watching our videos with subtitles

To switch subtitles on or off, you click the CC sign at the bottom right of every video:

Where to find the CC button on youtube videos

If we’ve already provided subtitles for the video you’re watching, that’s what you’ll see. If you’ve picked one of the few we still haven’t got round to, you get YouTube’s automatically-generated subtitles which — while they do obviously represent great strides in voice recognition technology, compared to how things were only a few years ago — can still be a bit hit and miss.

Subtitles make videos more useful for all sorts of people, from the hearing impaired to those who just want to watch without disturbing others. But of course, English subtitles aren’t necessarily useful for people who speak other languages.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) recently asked whether we’d mind them translating some of our subtitles into Arabic. Mind? We were positively delighted.

Video with Arabic subtitles

It turns out that YouTube has really upped its game on subtitles, making it much easier to add them to our own videos, and providing the means for others to contribute too.

Here’s how to view subtitles in another language:

Click on the ‘settings’ cogwheel at the bottom right of the video:

settings cogwheel on youtube videos

You’ll see a short menu pop up. Click on ‘subtitles/CC’:

settings menu on youtube videos

Then select the language you require: in this case, you have the choice between Arabic, our own English subtitles, or, for potential comic value, the auto-generated version.

language menu for subtitles on youtube

Incredibly, you can also select ‘auto-translate’, which takes the English transcript and gives you what appears to be a fairly reasonable version (presumably run through Google Translate) in any one of more than 100 different languages.

Here’s how to contribute subtitles in another language

If you think our videos might be useful for organisations, researchers or students, but that they would benefit from being able to read the subtitles in their own language, you are more than welcome to contribute a translation.

Begin by clicking on the three dots next to the word ‘More’, and then selecting ‘transcript’ from the drop-down menu:

youtube where to find the 'add transcript' menu

This will show you the existing transcript in written form. At the top you’ll see a dropdown menu with options for the transcripts which are already in place, and at the bottom, ‘Add subtitles/CC’:

where to find the 'add transcript' menu on youtube

Again, you’ll be shown a list of the translations that we already have, and invited to search for the language that you wish to add — in this case, let’s say Greek:

select a language to translate into on youtubeClick on the name of the language, and you get this simple translation interface, with a box below each section of the existing transcript for you to type your translation into. And as you type, you’ll see how the subtitles will look on the video.

translation interface youtubeOnce you’re done, you just click ‘submit for review’ on the top right, and that sends us an email to tell us there’s a translation waiting.

And that’s it! You’ve benefited everyone who speaks your language… and of course we here at mySociety will also be very grateful.


Image:
© European Union 2012 EP/Pietro Naj-Oleari (CC by-nc-nd/2.0)

Original source – mySociety

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