Finally… a deploy

I feel like it’s been 2-3 weeks of me saying “we have lots of new API code for you to test, just wait for us to deploy it in the next few days”.  Well, the code is finally deployed.  If you have an API client, I would definitely recommend testing it against the new stuff.

Some of the highlights:

For more details, check out our RTD page: http://amara.readthedocs.org/en/latest/new-api.html

I didn’t implement a lot of new things last week, mostly just fixed bugs in order to deploy this code.  I’m really eager to hear the results of API client testing against these endpoints.

Also on the way is the Videos URL resource.  It’s currently deployed to staging, so it should make it’s way to production over the next few days.

The main things that still need to be implemented are:

  • Team-related endpoints (team members, tasks, projects)
  • The Video Activity resource
  • Partner-specific API endpoints

NYC Event Tomorrow: Translation-Machination (Feb 27, 2015)

If you’re in NYC tomorrow afternoon, a member of the Amara team will be joining a discussion panel at 3:30 pm, at the NYU event Translation-Machination.

This event explores the changing circumstances of linguistic exchange and considers the implications of translation as a language technology from a media theoretical perspective.

It’s a free event and will no doubt spur some interesting conversation!

Event Time: February 27 1:00pm – 5:00pm EST
Event Location: 239 Greene Street, NY NY
Registration: (free) Bottom of this page.

Lots of API code ready… almost deployed

There’s a ton of new API code that’s pretty much ready, but unfortunately it’s not quite live yet.  We just need to do a few more tests and then we will push it (hopefully like today or tomorrow).

The last endpoint I implemented was the users endpoint.  It went pretty smoothly.  The one notable thing was that I made the first non-backwards API change, which was to remove the user list as an API endpoint.  I couldn’t think of a reasonable use for browsing all the amara users, but please tell me if there is one.

The other notable change was in the browser endpoint view.  I added a checkbox for all optional fields when doing a POST/PUT.  By default it’s checked, but you can uncheck it to not send that field.

One thing that I always found very strange about APIv2 was how it treated several values: the absence of a field, the value being the empty string, the value being null, and the value the string “null”.  In some endpoints it would treat those things as being the same and others would treat them as distinct.  If you rely on that behavior, please test it out.

Ben

Amara Newsletter (Feb ’15): A Fashionably Late 2014 Recap

Most orgs did 2014 wrap ups in the first week of January, but that gets a little overwhelming. We’re doing ours fashionably late instead – please enjoy!

Accessibility volunteers, making a difference for others

In 2014, we learned about reddit.com/r/CaptionPlease, an amazing community of accessibility-minded folks who caption short videos for anyone who requests them. They are a friendly community, and are always looking for volunteers – visit the link above for info on getting involved and/or requesting captions.

@SubtitleYouTube has single handedly (double handedly?) captioned a LOT of videos during the year. It’s an inspiring effort, @SubtitleYouTube!

And of course Amara is home to some really neat accessibility groups as well, including the Captions Requested team as well as the Music Captioning team. Definitely worth a look.

Are there other volunteer accessibility communities we should point to? Please let us know!

Amara platform development in 2014

2014 was a HUGE year for Amara development! Here are a few highlights: Amara Editor and Embedder both went gold, the website speed and performance massively improved, we did a full integration with Vimeo. The improvements will continue in 2015!

Translation highlights from 2014

Volunteers rallied around Aaron Schwartz’s story, translating the feature film into over 12 languages and helping spread this imporant story worldwide.

Attitude Live, an amazing nonprofit organization, produces compelling stories about people living with disabilities. Their volunteer community translated an inspiring video about a woman named Maia Amai into 20 languages. The video tell’s Maia’s story, where she overcomes significant adversity to join the New Zealand wheelchair rugby team.

Another group of translators made Scientific American’s what happens when you die video available in over 24 languages (which has since gone very viral in Hungary!). Overall, we saw a LOT of fun and inspiring videos translated into all kinds of languages.

And every year we give a big shout out to the TED Open Translation Project, which continues to grow and evolve at an astonishing rate.

Do you have any inspiring translation stories we should be sharing? Please let us know!

Design in 2014: Websites, blog, and new tutorial video

We launched two beautiful new website designs: Amara.org and Amara’s Professional Services Site, in addition to a cute and informative Meet Amara video. The Amara Blog also got a facelift and we’ve been posting there more regularly.

To sum it all up, we’re pumped about 2015! If you’ve been thinking about video accessibility or translation, please drop us a line (just reply to this email).

Best,
The Amara Team

Corrections: We mistook @SubtitleYoutube’s account name (though the link was correct).

New API Progress: Subtitles API

This week I worked on one of the more complex API endpoints: the subtitles resource.  The reason for the complexity is the atypical output format.  Normally API endpoints return an object that’s encoded into JSON (or XML, YAML, or something similar).  The subtitles resource follows this pattern, but it also allows users to get the subtitles as straight DFXP, SRT, Web VTT, or any other format that we support.

This leads to a lot of weird corner cases, like what if the user requests DFXP, but there’s an error with the request.  There’s no way to encode that error as DFXP, so what to do?  In the new code I just used JSON as a fallback.  I think the old code did the same, but I’m not really sure.

Anyways, that endpoint is complete and live on production right now.  I’ve said this pretty much every week, but again if you write API code I urge you to check it out — especially in a browser.  One of the big wins from the API change is browsable API endpoints, and I it’s especially nice to use with the subtitles resource.  Try sending actions along with the subtitles to simulate a user hitting the publish/save draft/approve/send back buttons in the editor.  You can get to the subtitles API endpoints by starting with any video (https://amara.org/api/videos/<video-id&gt;).  Then following the links to to get to the subtitles.

Oh yeah, the API documentation should be building again.  There was an error from a change I made last week, but now it’s up-to-date again.  You can check it out at http://amara.readthedocs.org/en/api-refactor/new-api.html

Every Frame a Painting & Satoshi Kon – Subtitles in the Wild

Satoshi Kon, acclaimed director, animator, screenplay writer, and  manga artist, made an impact on filmmakers around the world. In this video, YouTube channel Every Frame a Painting, dissects some of the unique techniques and ideas that Kon pioneered. The video also reviews specific points of influence Kon had in other filmmakers’ films.

Daily News Agency, a Japanese aggregator of news, tech, food, and media, featured the video (with Japanese subtitles) in this recent post.

Screenshot of japanese site dailynewsagency.com with Kon articleAt Amara, it always excites us to see videos, such as this, shared across cultural contexts. We’ll continue to keep our eyes peeled and share anything that looks intriguing or neat.

What are Subtitles in the Wild?  We’ve been keeping an eye on popular videos with posted on the web with using the Amara embedder – when we see something interesting or exciting, we’ll share it.

An Important Note: Amara blog authors aren’t fluent in every language. If you see any factual errors, cultural faux pas, or have notes or other blog-related ideas to share, please let us know in the comments or at blogs@amara.org We love conversation!