Udacity, a website offering higher education technology classes for free in a mission is to democratize education, has partnered with Amara to produce subtitles and translations of more than 5,000 educational videos that will expand Udacity’s courses to a global level. Amara is an open source toolkit comprising a subtitle creation and viewing tool, collaborative subtitling website, and open protocol for subtitle search/delivery.
“The online education space has emerged as the production and consumption of online video has exploded,” said Nicholas Reville, CEO of Amara. “Video is the central medium that allows online education to flourish globally. But video is harder and more expensive to translate and is not as searchable as text. That’s where Amara comes in.”
Currently, Udacity’s course offerings include Computer Science, Entrepreneurship, General Sciences, Mathematics, and Programming, with advanced courses in areas such as Cryptography and Artificial Intelligence. Plans call for adding courses in support of a range of high-tech job categories starting in the spring of 2013. The most popular Udacity videos are translated into over 10 languages, and 90% contain subtitles.
Even though Udacity’s courses are free, college credit is offered by Colorado State University – Global Campus as well as several universities in Austria and Germany. Udacity also offers Certificates for completed courses and job referral services.
The efforts of the student-driven volunteers with Amara helps Udacity to reach their global audience. This volunteer base, which Amara refers to as a crowd-sourced approach to translation and subtitling, currently produces translations and subtitles for a range of videos for online consumption, including TED and PBS Newshour. Amara boasts over 68,000 users, subtitling more than 200,000 videos in over 100 different languages. In addition to volunteers for captioning and translation, Amara is seeking volunteer testers, and programming support.