Open Source Video Subtitles for Accessibility with



Amara logo

Amara, formerly Universal Subtitles (which I thought was a better name) is an open source tool to let your audience contribute subtitles to your videos, wiki-style. You post your video to a service like YouTube or Vimeo, give Amara the URL, and it gives you a “wrapper” to put around the video that allows any visitor to contribute text captions for your video in any language.

It has a great interface for transcribing videos to make it easier for your contributors to get the timing right, and it encodes all transcripts in an open, accessible, and human-readable text format for easier accessibility. Once you’ve got a transcript you’re happy with, you just get the embed code to post it in your own website and let your viewers contribute further edits and improvements as needed.

If you or your school are looking for a good, cost effective way to provide accessible video that meets Section 508 guidelines, Amara is a great alternative to using a paid transcript service. This makes it possible for student workers, motivated classmates, or even outside viewers to contribute to your open source video subtitles.

It’s just so stupendously useful and good, I love to spread the word about it. Please share in the comments how you use it!

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Written by

Ted Curran is a Learning Experience Designer/Developer for Autodesk. He is committed to empowering educators and learners to create transformational change through effective pedagogy and technology integration. You can follow Ted on Mastodon, LinkedIn or learn more at my 'About" page. These thoughts are my own.

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