Amara is a large source of non-profit, crowdsourcing translations. The platform was launched by the creators of YouTube to translate as much video content on the web as possible, into as many languages as possible, as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible.
What are the positive aspects of crowdsourcing translations?
More and more people worldwide choose to watch documentaries, films, TV series and other kinds of video content via the Internet instead of on television or via cable. The difficulty lies in not always being able to understand the languages spoken in online videos or in not being able to hear the content of the videos if you happen to be deaf or hard of hearing. Amara is a platform which hopes to eradicate these issues through crowdsourcing translation and so far it has proven itself to be very, very successful.
On average, Amara can translate and upload captions onto any film in 22 different languages within 24 hours. This effectively means that, in an incredibly short space of time, the content of that film can be watched across the globe and be made accessible to the deaf community or the hard of hearing. The most astonishing factor of Amara’s success is that the people who translate are volunteers – they’re people from the online community who simply sign-up to the platform and start translating in languages that they speak.
What are the possible problems faced by crowdsourcing translation platforms?
One of the biggest feats involved in the management of video content online, however, is the sheer volume involved. Translating online videos into 22 languages in the space of 24 hours is an impossible task for any ordinary translation company to take on, particularly when taking into consideration that all translators in translating companies are paid for their work. Amara recruits translators from all over the world for free, simply by reaching out to a community of online video-content enthusiasts who are only too happy to help when it comes to making internet content available to all.
One of the main issues with platforms like Amara is whether or not they are sustainable. If the Amara community begins to dwindle and volunteer translators stop translating at any point, the system will fail. In addition, there are lots of measures which have to be put in place in order to check the quality of the community translations and these measures require time, manpower and monetary investment. Amara’s philosophy is, without a doubt, a positive step forward for globalization and for the deaf/hard of hearing community, but the maintenance of the platform might prove to be unmanageable in the years to come.
What do qualified translators have to say?
Most translation companies and freelance translators who hold high-quality translation certificates show little support for platforms like Amara for obvious reasons. The idea that “anyone” can produce trusted, quality translations through crowdsourcing undermines the skills, qualifications and experience of professional, paid translators. It would appear that few people would argue with this point.
Crowdsourcing translations are no real match for the quality of paid translations by translation experts, but the translation of online video-content is such an overwhelming huge task that in some cases online users would argue that some kind of translation is better than no translation at all. Amara gives the deaf and hard of hearing community access to more online video-content from all over the world than ever before. The positives of this fact are indisputable.