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Amara on Limited Internet Connection

Start this topic to discuss issues and experiences using Amara on limited internet connections in Timor Leste and West Timor.

In particular in where Amara is embedded by default in their html5 (i believe) player.

Firstly, congratulations to Amara team that in Timor Leste districts (where we pay by the minute for slow and unreliable cdma mobile connection) we can quickly load the subtitling app, wait patiently for the video to buffer, and turn off our internet connection until we are ready to upload. Heaps good.
Its actually a lot easier than in West Timor, where the adsl2 (i think) connection is on again off again and so is the electricity and we are constantly being logged off to allow for other users to edit the subtitles.

However in both these situations the Amara button (widget thing?) at the bottom of the video hosted by is the last thing to load, and often does not appear at all, even while the video itself is able to load completely.
(using firefox 12 or chrome 21.0.1180.82, also older versions)
Occasionally the button does appear but says that subtitles are unavailable.
Its not as fun as it could be subtitling videos.
And its really not reliable that viewers will be able to read the subtitles and understand.

A workaround could be to subtitle the video directly from
however links to videos on engagemedia return the message:
You must link to a video on a compatible site (like YouTube) or directly to a video file that works with HTML5 browsers. For example: or Contact us if there's a problem. 

Engagemedia is the most Amara friendly website I've come across,
I'm also guessing that all the videos hosted there are all played using HTML5.

Otherwise loving it friendlier interface than offline subtitlers I've come across and easy to teach people,
But people learning things like things to work, atleast the first time they use them.

Would appreciate your ideas...

2 people have this question

Hi tr@verser11, firstly thank you very much for contributing to the EngageMedia subtitling team on Amara.

I'm sorry that I missed your post on the issues you've raised before. I'll be sure to reply properly to them by the end of the week.


Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights. Your input is crucial in addressing challenges with Amara on limited connections. Hoping for collaborative solutions!


Ricky Martin 

I want to express my gratitude for your patience and clear explanations. As I continue to develop and learn, I'm working on improving my skills in handling various situations. Your feedback is highly valued, as it provides valuable insights that contribute to my growth and improvement. Thank you for your support in helping me enhance my abilities. 

Sorry I missed your post, Vanatta Thomas.

About your first question: Universal subtitles was the original name of the project. Its name was changed to Amara in 2012: see

As to your second question: from this Wikipedia article, the internet situation in Timor Leste seems indeed very difficult. The only thing I would recommend is to have fewer possible application using the Internet at a given time. 

So if you are translating subtitles with Amara, don't play the video until you fine-tune the synchronization of your translation.

And if you are making original subtitles, try first to find an existing text transcript of the video, copy it in a UTF8-encoded .txt file, slice it into approximate subtitle length chunks separated by a blank line, then upload it to the Amara video tool , then sync it. If there is no existing such text transcript,  try to find someone with a faster connection willing to do the first transcript on Amara for you. Amara is a collaborative tool! See for instance The Recipe for a Nourished Brain, which I had started transcribing then was unable to continue: two other people completed the original subtitles.

Good luck


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