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Michael Smolens on dotSUB

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dotSUB is a browser based tool that enables web based video to be time-coded captioned, and subtitled in any language by anyone, anywhere, on any operating system without any downloaded client or any previous training in subtitling or translation. Anyone who is engaged with media who is bilingual, would like to know that it is easy to do and make that content available on their native language. We work with professional translators who do this for a living, but they normally use traditional proprietary technology and they are using ours, and find it significantly more efficient, but we are developing a huge following of the crowdsourced subtitling, because people get very engaged with specific content From a technology point of view and an implementation UI point of view it is just very, very simple. It takes 30-40 seconds to register at dotSUB. But a more profound question is that we are an enabling technology so very much like Microsoft takes no responsability for the quality or the accuracy of what is typed on Microsoft Word documents, as Word enables people to write Word documents we are enabling people to subtitle so the various owners of content have to make their own decisions, whether they want to have anyone, in which we call an open wiki, like Wikipedia, so that anyone can access content in any language, or a controlled crowdsourcing like TED or some of our other clients where they ask people to send emails to them requesting the ability to translate video X in language Y and then they might be asked specific questions to be filled out, and then are given permission only to do Turkish for video 73 for example So our technology is very flexible which allows any content owner to control the level of access and permissioning as to who can have it from totally closed to totally open. As a default, all of the videos are defaulted to Creative Commons because we are very big supporters of Creative Commons. One of my partners Lory Racine is on the board of Creative Commons and we think that's a very important part of the media ecosystem Like the TED talks, like Osho the spiritual meditation guru, like for example Singularity University, all the way from the non-profit, one of our very early customers was a company called Global Oneness in San Francisco that has hundreds maybe four hundred videos that they take, short videos where they interview people around the world. And they are having those videos in multiple languages. RocketBoom, the very first video podcast, had their videos professionally, their daily video podcast in eight languages. TED in the last four months has had over fourtyfour hundred videos done in 79 languages by 2800 translators. Sony Corporation is doing television programming in multiple languages Full Tilt Poker, the Dublin based second largest online poker company in the world, has instructional videos with Black Jack Charlie about how to play, and they have it in eighteen languages. The US Army is having ten to fifteen videos a day captioned for the hearing impaired in English. And the list goes on... We are in the middle of putting together a final documentation to raise our first round of external funding. We have a very large demand for our service and we need to hire more people and expand our technology base which requires developers, and we need to hire sales and business development people as well as we are looking to expand into an online subtitling marketplace. Our immediate short term goal is to raise our first round of external capital, and our medium term goal is to update our website. Our website needs a lot of work: it has been static, it gets no attention, it has no social networking features at the moment. So we are going to be adding those, to make it much easier for people to use dotSUB and for clients to understand what are the various options. The long term goal is to expand into enterprise business with corporations and organizations, and build that up to hundreds of organizations using it. At the same time to create our "touchless carwash" marketplace, like Elance, or iStock Photo, where any individual or small publisher, medium publisher, large publisher of video content can choose that they want their video assets into these three languages, and they are going to be working with our network of tens of thousands of translators who are using our tool, to give them the opportunity to start making money, in a new way, and to provide this to the world. I spent 32 years of my life doing business in a lot of different emerging economies around the world. And at the turn of the century, when all of my friends around the world started saying how they really really were not liking and respecting the United States, I did a lot of thinking. And realized that language was the real impenetrable barrier that did not allow people to understand the true profound needs and desires of people in other cultures, and traditional media both print, and film, and television was only going to be telling those stories that they could sell advertising or sponsorship again. So much of the really important stories will never be told especially in lot of the lower end of the more remote 600, 700 languages. Because the world is more and more focusing on English centric, and French centric, Chinese centric. The trigger event happened when I saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" when it first came out and I left the movie and said "Wow, here is a documentary film in English, that perhaps could change the course of the US Presidential election. What would happen if we could create a technology that would allow any video to be in any language." That is the story of this journey!

Video Details

Duration: 7 minutes and 34 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 399
Posted by: davidorban on Oct 7, 2009

Michael Smolens talks about dotSUB's features, ease of use, future plans, and why he started the company

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