Category Archives: Uncategorized

Amazon shoppers: Here’s an easy way to help Amara

Amara has come a long way in the past 4 years, growing from a humble prototype into a powerful open platform! Today, Amara is used by millions to create, share, and view captions and subtitles — making it possible for more people to engage, participate, and benefit from all of the amazing content online.

Developed and maintained by the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), a non-profit ( 501c3) organization, Amara is built by a small team of individuals who share the belief that everyone deserves to communicate globally, with full access to the richest media on the web.

If you’re an Amazon shopper, especially if you’re doing holiday shopping, you can support Amara with each purchase you make. Simply bookmark the link below and use it any time you browse or buy on Amazon. A portion of each purchase will go to PCF, which ultimately helps us keep Amara going.

Automatic Option (easy!): Install browser plugin (Firefox or Chrome) and then visit this link one time – now all Amazon.com purchases will always benefit Amara.

Bookmark Option: Drag this link to your bookmark toolbar: Amazon + Amara

Animation of dragging Amara + Amazon link to bookmark  bar

November Subtitler Spotlight

Each month we are spotlighting two of our team members so we can get to know each other a bit better, and recognize their individual contributions to Amara’s mission.

This month’s spotlight is on Mary Beth Strawn and Sebastião Nascimento! We caught up with them to hear about their favorite videos they’ve worked on, what’s happening in their lives right now, and what motivates them at Amara.


Sebastião Nascimento

What I cherish most about Amara is that there are constant opportunities for learning about fascinating people and captivating projects, whether we are dealing with architecture, culinary, music, cinema, radical sports, design, programming, you name it. Some videos are so exciting we just hope a sequel will pop up anytime on our task list, like that one documenting Fela Kuti’s candidacy for president of Nigeria, or the one tracking the thorough decomposition of one of Ryan Heffington’s choreographies into its most basic elements, or that one celebrating Reggae’s influence in the pioneering development of video game music.

Looking back, many of the most captivating videos are themselves the result of a creative field generated by the reciprocal influence between cultures. And that is precisely what I consider to be Amara’s most valuable asset: the scope of life’s experience of its translators stretching across so many cultures. Working within the Amara community we are constantly in touch with people who are passionate about languages and diversity, traveling and learning, people who instead of feeling torn between places, choose to turn their lives into bridges connecting other people, and not shying away from the efforts needed to make the allure of plurality transparent and accessible to others. Friends and people we admire may have brought us here to Amara, but then we come to admire the people we work with and they also become friends. What we do and the kind of people we become while doing it is what makes this so interesting and stimulating.

227499_6807718338_5936_n

 


 

Mary Beth Strewn

Hello everyone! I’m Mary Beth. I live in Boquete, Panamá, in the western mountain region near Costa Rica.

Some unique things about me are… I’m pregnant with my first child. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time! I work for a Spanish school helping people plan their trips to Panama for a Spanish learning experience. I grew up in Georgia, USA.

I’ve subtitled for Amara for about 8 months now and I have to say that I really enjoy working with our team and producing quality content for clients, who I know appreciate it. A recent project I enjoyed is one where Tracey B. and I worked on a difficult video for a scrutinizing client. Although it was a bit of a frustrating task overall, I am appreciative of the teamwork that went into it and the new understandings I have for some of our guidelines.

I’ve enjoyed working with a few of the videos for an arts-related client. They always focus on interesting topics such as cooking, fashion, photography and art. Art is universal, so I love that we are able to help the client translate these videos into multiple languages for the viewing pleasure of thousands (millions?) of people.

 

Mary Beth Strawn in Jamaica

dev updates 2014-10-17

Updates to amara.org 2014-10-17

Screenshot from 2014-10-17 21:43:12

 

  • New Amara homepage #1229
  • Speedup team activity page #1781 (pr)
  • Space between sendback and approve buttons #1780
  • At Typing step, display warning if any empty subtitles block syncing #1763
  • Change VideoUrl uniqueness to (url, type) #1750
  • Allow overriding subtitle editor video URL #1748
  • Properly refuse to log in users with no password #1745
  • Integrate notes more seamlessly into editor #1739

August 2014 Subtitler Spotlight

Each month we are spotlighting two of our On Demand team members, so we can start to get to know each other a bit better, and to recognize each other’s individual contributions to Amara’s mission.

This month’s spotlight is on Tracey Hill-Bensalem and Brendan Ferreri-Hanberry! We got a chance to hear more about their daily lives, and their advice to a new team members.


 

Brendan Ferreri-Hanberry
I am located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I am currently attending graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill in the information science program. I recommend the area if you like pine trees.

Subtitling is actually my idea of a break; it is more entertaining than much of my schoolwork. Other than that I read books, largely nonfiction relevant to politics, and practice meditation. One tip I’ve found is to use the Tab key to start and stop videos. I used to use the mouse to click on the play/pause button and it slowed me down somewhat.

I found out about Amara through Rick Doblin’s appearance on Joe Rogan’s show (which I had never heard before that night). He mentioned that the videos of the Psychedelic Science 2013 conference, sponsored by his organization, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, were available for volunteers to caption on Amara. I started captioning them as a volunteer and that was my first involvement with the company. I was hired as a paid team member soon afterwards. So thanks, Rick. Also, I like languages and information science, and Amara lets me deal with material relevant to both.

me34b

 


 

Tracey Hill-Bensalem
After spending most of my 20’s in Spain and France, working and studying, I got a job at The New Yorker magazine. I assisted with their transition to a digital workflow, first learning how it had been done for so many years (the Smithsonian actually came and photographed us amidst the pieces of cut paper, sentence fragments that were then pinned to boards, glued, and faxed to Chicago for typesetting! Imagine splitting a line by literally cutting it in two!)

I came across Amara while taking a few online classes via Coursera, where a professor suggested we might volunteer to improve the captions for their videos, and I did. With so many friends and family from other countries, many non-English speakers, as well as my love of learning, I am keenly aware and supportive of the importance and transformative power of giving people access to information.

My advice to new captioners? Nothing they don’t know already, being such a talented, bright group of people. I guess just take the time to make sure it’s your best work. Listen to the speakers, review your transcription as a reader, and watch the video as if you were a viewer. Good captioning, like good translation, should be transparent, smooth. If I learned anything after my time in publishing, it’s that no one is perfect, and we all can benefit from feedback and an extra set of eyes. I also learned that words…well, they are everything and they are magic.

thb photo3

Amara Team Leader Highlight

We always want to keep the lines of communication open at Amara, and getting to know each other and our roles within the organization is a great place to start.

This month features Marília Correia, project manager at Amara!


I live in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, and in my spare time I like to hang out with my friends and my fiancé and spend time with my family. I also love to travel to different places and meet different people.

At Amara, I’m both a freelance translator and a project manager. As a Project Manager, I work closely with Jenny, Aleli and our On Demand team to set up projects, organize teams of translators and captioners, assign tasks, monitor the workflow, and make sure that all projects are done by the deadline, and in compliance with the Amara Style Guide. In addition, I help our subtitlers with any questions that may come up. I’m passionate about what I do and I want to continue to help the team to grow even more. Being part of Amara is one of the best things that happened to me!

marilia-square

Photo of Marília Correia.

Subtitling Spotlight

Each month we are spotlighting two of our On Demand team members, so we can start to get to know each other a bit better, and to recognize each other’s individual contributions to Amara’s mission.

This month’s spotlight is on Melanie Ty and Michael Wilson! We got a chance to hear more about their daily lives, and their advice to a new team members.


Melanie Ty
I’m a proud and happy subtitler from the Philippines who is a work-at-home mother with three kids. Working with Amara On Demand has really provided me a steady income, which gave me enough to save for my daughter’s school fees. Aside from the financial benefits, I also gain knowledge from the videos I work on every day.

I still find challenges working at Amara. Sometimes we may have different interpretations of the guidelines, rules or instructions. What I’ve found is to always look on the brighter side of things and that it’s never wrong to ask for clarifications if you feel that you’re not doing it right. This is a team. We work as a team and we achieve things as a team.

Mel and girls
Melanie with her three children.


Michael Wilson
I live in San José Tepenené, Hidalgo, Mexico, where I teach English, computer skills, and science. My wife and I spend our free time as a traveling cinema show and are working on a documentary about our own town’s history.

I’m so proud of my kids… my daughter works to promote Fair Trade, my son is doing research at UCSC, and we have a two-year old boy who reminds me to play every day!

My advice to new Amara On Demand Subtitlers is to focus on teamwork – leverage the network. Also, be patient and practice slowly at first, to build skills before speed. When I factor in learning with making a living, and the way access to new information stands to improve my own life, as well as others lives in so many ways, it’s clear to me that this is a very worthwhile undertaking.

amara newsletter bioMike and his four children.