Thanks to Bionic Ear, I found out about PLYmedia, which offers professional subtitling/captioning tools and services for online web clips. They recently launched SubPLY which offers a plugin for your video player so you can simply send the url of the video clip to SubPLY human translators who will take care of the subtitling work. Within 24 hours, you’ll automatically see the subtitles if you watch the video clip using their plugin.
In short, it’s a simple A-Z solution with no additional work on your part beyond submitting the url of the video clip. I believe this is the “pay” part of the service. It would take a lot of burden off businesses by making their online video clps accessible immediately and everywhere it’s shown embedded.
However, right now, they are offering a free service for your YouTube video clips.
When you submit one of your youTube video clips to SubPLY, they will send back a subtitle file which you upload to the matching youTube video clip. After youTube processes the subtitles, anyone will be able to turn on subtitles when watching your youTube video clips.
While this will be a nice break for Bill Creswell, a champion of captioning online web clips of movie trailers, it’s of no benefit for the Deaf community using American Sign Language. While I would love to have subtitled version of my ASL youTube clips, I highly doubt SubPLY has anyone on board who knows ASL. I cannot submit my AMERICAN sign language clips to them since it’s their current policy to accept only English-spoken clips. Somewhat Ironic in my eyes considering the country of origin for ASL …
However, this is a great step in making more content accessible to others! Is it worth the hassle of subtitling? Here’s some research from TechCrunch:
Is captioning videos really worth the hassle? YouTube clearly believes as much and PLYmedia’s internal research supports this claim as well. SubPLY was piloted with a video publisher that tested ten different videos for a period of six weeks, in three different languages (English, Spanish and French). Here are the results for videos watched with captioning:
- Foreign language usage and viewership increased over 700% in a 5 week period.
- 19% more viewers watched videos to completion than those without subtitles.
- The share function (sending the video to others) was used by viewers watching subtitles 171% more often (the viral effect was boosted).
- A 37% increase in both users who watched the video in full screen mode and users who replayed video.