Drumbeat/unisubs/one-pager with roadmap

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Universal Subtitles

A global wikipedia for subtitles

Universal Subtitle is a software project and online community that aims to subtitle, caption and translate every video on the web. We're building the world's simplest subtitling tools, an open standard protocol, and a global community and wikipedia-style web site to create the largest open source collection of subtitles ever. Drawing on contributors around the world to make captioning and translating video free and open.

Subtitles currently are too difficult to create and share.

As web video rivals television, subtitles and captions are crucial for translation, accessibility and search. But until now, there's been no good open resource for subtitling -- locking online video behind language barriers and obstacles for the hearing and vision impaired.

We need simple subtitling tools everyone can use.

Universal Subtitles is building the world's simplest subtitling tools. Including a simple widget and user-friendly interface for adding captions to any video on almost any site, without the hassle of re-transcoding or re-uploading. And a Universal Subtitles protocol, a new open standard that will allow clients like Firefox extensions, desktop video players, websites, or browsers to look up and download matching subtitles from a whitelist of subtitle databases as they play video.

And a global community to translate and ensure quality.

We’re also building an open community and web site for collaboratively subtitling and translating the world’s videos -- a global "Wikipedia for subtitles." The site will include tools for versioning, incentives for different types of collaboration, and all subtitles created will be available in any context through our open protocol.

Crossing language barriers. With video accessible to all.

Together, our goal for these tools is to enable a layer of collective action over the video we watch, working constantly to break down language and accessibility barriers. Creating a simple and ubiquitous way to request, create, and translate subtitles for any video. Working with others to define open protocols. And creating a community space for global collaboration.

You can get involved

  • Become an alpha tester
  • Volunteer your translation and captioning skills
  • Suggest partner organizations
  • Make a contribution at drumbeat.org/universal-subtitles

Project Roadmap

18 months

The definitive open toolset for subtitle and caption creation.

  • 100,000+ videos captioned
  • Community site established as the "wikipedia for subtitles"
  • User communities around the world
  • 100+ organizations using toolset
  • Open subtitle lookup adopted by major video players and hosts
  • Established web standard for sharing subtitles across sites

End of 2010

Stable toolset. Scaling up community.

  • 1.0 subtitling widget released. Polished toolset stable and ready for broad use
  • Scaling up subtitling community. Translation teams established
  • Organizations with dedicated pages on community site ‣
  • Summit meeting to explore collaboration with other open captioning projects ‣
  • Collaborations with organizations on metadata and html5 accessibilty standards

September 2010

  • Refining the toolset. Building community.
  • Beta subtitling widget released
  • Users able to test subtitling and embedding videos
  • Organizations begin using the toolset for their videos
  • Community website launched
  • Firefox subtitling extension released