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Is Amara going to work for me?

I'm an Sign Language Interpreter who works for a school district.  We have run into a lot of problems with trying to get teachers to use videos with captions.  So I'm trying to find a solution for them to get videos captioned through Amara.  I have limited experience with Amara myself so I want to be sure that Amara will be able to be a viable solution for me.  My idea is that when a teacher has a movie that they plan to show the class, they can send it to our honor students who can caption them and count that towards their community service hours.  

Problem is that teachers never own any of the content they show and not everything they show is on Youtube.  I tried doing a quick test caption to make sure that my captions would appear on Youtube and they don't.  They only show in Amara's website.  It would be fine to just show the Amara video in class but the video will not show full screen and I'm not sure why.

Can someone tell me if Amara is going to work for me and what kind of obstacles I might run into?  I'm not a programmer so I'm not sure how to fully utilize these tools.

1 Comment

Hi Maddison

Your idea of involving the students in captioning as community service is stupendous, and Amara should indeed work for that. Here are a few points that might help you in implementing your idea:

1) Video sources that can be used on Amara:

From the Submitting a video for subtitling FAQ:

"A URL from one of the following supported sites will be accepted:

  • Youtube
  • Vimeo
  • Daily Motion

Or you can enter a URL for a video in one of the supported formats:

  • Theora (ogg, ogv)
  • WebM
  •  MP4
  •  FLV2"
  • [and actually, MP3]

2) Re the subtitles you made on Amara that show on Amara but don't show on the original video:

That's normal.

However, if you are the uploader of the original video, and it is on a platform that supports CC subtitles (YouTube, Vimeo, Internet Archive), then you can download your Amara subtitles and add them to the original video, following the instructions of the platform for that.

And you can also direct students to the Amara page for viewing the subtitled version, bearing in mind:

3) Possible issues with viewing subtitled videos on Amara:

  • They don't seem to work on IOS portable devices (but do on the Android ones)
  • Captions don't show in the Amara player in full screen mode, but you can use the browser's zoom to increase the player's size to almost full screen.

Then to convince reluctant teachers, you might tell them that beyond the main goal of equal access,

  • captioned videos are way easier to study, even for non-deaf people, than uncaptioned ones, and the captions can also be downloaded as a plain text transcript (without time codes) that can then be edited and annotated;
  • the Amara tool being collaborative, several students can work together on the captioning of a long video;
  • it can also be used for preparing and timing audio descriptions of the significant visual content for blind students - there is even a "Metadata: Audio Description" language for that; and that's something deaf students could help with;
  • it can also be used for other things, like asking / answering questions directly on the video (better use one of the other "Metadata" (Geo, Twitter, Wikipedia) languages for that, and leave the real languages for subtitle translations);

Maybe your best bet would be to find 1 or 2 teachers who are willing to give your project a try, and tell them to feel free to ask any question on this support forum.

Best wishes


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