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Best practices for captioning mixed language videos?

What are the best practices for captioning mixed language videos?


I'm captioning videos that are primarily in Indonesian language but mixed with local/tribal languages/dialects. I am now trying to italicize the words spoken in local dialects in the primary subtitle and trying to add another subtitle, also in Indonesian, as a proper Indonesian translation.


As Amara editor doesn't support italics I have to do the first pass on Amara, then download the subtitles and use a subtitling program (I'm using Aegisub) to do the italics. I then upload the adjusted subtitles to Amara to finish.


Does this sound like a good way to do it?


Thanks,

Anto.


Best Answer
Hi Anto,

Yes, re 2, that's what I meant.

Maybe an example might make the "meta" stuff clearer: in http://www.amara.org/en/videos/2hvKFS5lsko2/info/un-medico-allinferno-medicina-e-dolore-nellinferno-dantesco/ , the original video is in Italian and Latin, and it has important in-video texts and illustrations from Dante's inferno that are not accessible to blind people.

So a group of participants in a course for Italian teachers set Italian as the video's language, because there is more stuff in Italian, and used:

  • Latin for the subtitles of the parts in Latin 
  • Metadata: Geo for original subtitles in Latin and Italian
  • Metadata: Audio Description for scripting an audio description of the parts that are inaccessiblle to blind people.


The goal of the activity was sort of a hands-on reflection on accessibility and usability of multimedia content, so the teachers stopped there, having got the point.


But in theory, they could download the Metadata: Geo subtitles, reupload them as Italian, and then translate the Latin parts in Italian there. And as you say, before that, they could italacize the Latin parts in the Metadata: Geo subtitles.


(And they could record the scripted audio descriptions, integrate them in the original video, then upload this new audio-described video somewhere, create a new Amara page for it, and reuse the text transcripts produced by the various subtitles of the first Amara page to make subtitles for the new page. But that would be a bit of an overkill for a < 2 min. announcement of a conference that took place 6 months ago :D)

 



Hello,

It's great that you provided a concrete example to illustrate the use of metadata and subtitles to make content more accessible. The scenario you described highlights the flexibility and collaborative nature of platforms like Amara in enabling users to enhance multimedia content for different audiences.

The example of translating Latin parts into Italian in metadata and adjusting subtitles accordingly demonstrates the adaptability of these tools for accessibility purposes. This approach allows for a more inclusive viewing experience, particularly for individuals who may face language or accessibility barriers.

Your explanation of potential steps, such as downloading, reuploading, and translating, adds clarity to how users can actively engage with the platform to contribute to accessibility efforts. While the process you outlined might seem intricate, it aligns with the principle of user empowerment and participation in making digital content more accessible.

Depending on your target audience and platform, you could explore providing separate subtitle tracks for each language (Indonesian + main dialect). This can benefit viewers who only need one or the other.

Of course, adding a second subtitle with a proper Indonesian translation after italicizing regional dialect phrases in the original subtitle is a clever way to caption videos in many languages. Thus, more people can view and understand the film.




dumb ways to die


Of course, your method of adding a second subtitle with a suitable Indonesian translation after italicizing the words in the original subtitle that are spoken in regional dialects is a smart way to caption videos with several languages. A larger audience will be able to watch and comprehend the film as a result.

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Answer
Hi Anto,

Yes, re 2, that's what I meant.

Maybe an example might make the "meta" stuff clearer: in http://www.amara.org/en/videos/2hvKFS5lsko2/info/un-medico-allinferno-medicina-e-dolore-nellinferno-dantesco/ , the original video is in Italian and Latin, and it has important in-video texts and illustrations from Dante's inferno that are not accessible to blind people.

So a group of participants in a course for Italian teachers set Italian as the video's language, because there is more stuff in Italian, and used:

  • Latin for the subtitles of the parts in Latin 
  • Metadata: Geo for original subtitles in Latin and Italian
  • Metadata: Audio Description for scripting an audio description of the parts that are inaccessiblle to blind people.


The goal of the activity was sort of a hands-on reflection on accessibility and usability of multimedia content, so the teachers stopped there, having got the point.


But in theory, they could download the Metadata: Geo subtitles, reupload them as Italian, and then translate the Latin parts in Italian there. And as you say, before that, they could italacize the Latin parts in the Metadata: Geo subtitles.


(And they could record the scripted audio descriptions, integrate them in the original video, then upload this new audio-described video somewhere, create a new Amara page for it, and reuse the text transcripts produced by the various subtitles of the first Amara page to make subtitles for the new page. But that would be a bit of an overkill for a < 2 min. announcement of a conference that took place 6 months ago :D)

 


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Thanks for the reply Claude.


I didn't know about the italics support in the editor. I'll try it.


On the second part, you meant I should upload a "Meta: geo" language subtitle with the non-Indonesian passages italicized, then "translate" from that to the Indonesian subtitle (and using that as the main language for the video), correct? I just realized that I can't add 2 subtitles of the same language.


I guess I'll use "Meta: geo" as the real caption/transcription, and add Indonesian, English, and other translations starting from that.


Thanks for all your suggestions Claude. I really appreciate it.


Cheers,

Anto.

Thank you very much for this question, Anto. There is probably no universal best practice for these videos: you have to decide in each instance, according to the main / other languages proportion and bearing in mind usability for the audience.

This is what you have done for the video you mention, from your description. Two possibly useful hints, though:

1) You can make italics in the video editor by putting the text between single asterisks. Double asterisks will bolden it. When you download the subtitles, italicized and boldened passages will be marked with the normal HTML tags in the file.

2) You could also start with a multilingual set of subtitles, i.e without, in your case, the Indonesian translation for the passages in other languages, using the  "Meta: Geo", "Meta: Twitter" or "Meta: Wikipedia" pseudo languages.
Then you can download these subtitles and reupload them as the main language, in your case, Indonesian, and then just translate into Indonesian the parts that are in other languages, without leaving the original.
You could mark these translated passages with italics and/or indicating the ISO language code (when there is one) of the original text between brackets.
This could be handy when the person who speaks in another language talks fast, which would make bilingual subtitles cover a big part of the video.

Best,

Claude

 


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