Autoplaying Brightcove Captions and Subtitles

We recently had a customer ask us how to have captions autoplay in their Brightcove player without any changes to their pages.  It turns out this is not currently possible. Since this is such an important and simple use-case, we decided to not only solve it for our client, but also to release the code on github for anyone to use.

If you are familiar with Brightcove you’ll know that there are two parts to any plugin. Flash and Javascript versions of a plugin need to be created.

First lets look at the Flash component. Brightcove provides the ‘CustomModule’ interface as a starting point for your plugin. All we have to do is override initialize() and set captions enabled to ‘true’.

package {

import com.brightcove.api.APIModules;
import com.brightcove.api.CustomModule;
import com.brightcove.api.modules.CaptionsModule;

/**
 * A Brightcove plugin that auto loads captions.
 */
public class CaptionConfigurationModule extends CustomModule {

    override protected function initialize():void {
        var captionModule:CaptionsModule = player.getModule(APIModules.CAPTIONS) as CaptionsModule;
        captionModule.setCaptionsEnabled(true);
    }
}
}

The Javascript plugin is just as simple. Once the player is ready we set captions enabled to ‘true’.

(function() {
    function onPlayerReady() {
        var captionsModule = player.getModule(brightcove.api.modules.APIModules.CAPTIONS);
        captionsModule.setCaptionsEnabled(true);
    }

    var experience = player.getModule(brightcove.api.modules.APIModules.EXPERIENCE);
    if (experience.getReady()) {
        onPlayerReady();
    } else {
        experience.addEventListener(brightcove.player.events.ExperienceEvent.TEMPLATE_READY, onPlayerReady);
    }
}());

There you have it; two simple plugins to enable caption autoplay on your Brightcove player. You can also see these plugins in our GitHub account: https://github.com/dotsub/api-samples/tree/master/brightcove-autoplay-captions

Dotsub.com October Statistics

Here is the November edition of our regular section giving you, the Dotsub community, an idea of where in the world our users were using Dotsub and what languages they were working in during the month of October, 2014 and as always a fascinating piece of geography trivia at the end, this month with some Natural History thrown in.

20Languages

English, Spanish and Portuguese are well established at the top of the rankings these days and the rest of the world is coming in a poor fourth. The major European languages French, Italian and German are always there or thereabouts and most of the other entrants in the top 20 are European languages with Japanese, Chinese and Korean the exceptions. This month languages 18-20 Hebrew, Catalan and Romanian were new replacing Slovakian, Hungarian and Arabic which were in those positions last month.

As always I have removed the top few (4 in this case) to make the graph a little more discernible.

15Languages

 

In the countries section, Canada reclaimed its second place, and Spain pushed up to 3rd pushing Brazil down to 4th. Greece climbed a few spots while Japan and Germany fell down the charts a little. Welcome to Peru who made it in at #18 at the expense of Slovenia.

And removing the US allows everything else to be seen a little more easily.

 

Geography Trivia. The intriguing part of the data to me, as regular readers know, is the countries and/or territories that are at the other end of the list with only one or two visits. This month we primarily had unique visits from islands or groups of islands. Of the singletons, 6 of the 8 fell into that category.

The island group we will mention this week is Comoros. This sovereign archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean is located at the northern end of the Mozambique channel off the eastern coast of Africa. Comoros has endured more than 20 coups or attempted coups since gaining independence from France in 1975. In 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared independence from Comoros. In 1999, military chief Col. AZALI seized power of the entire government in a bloodless coup, and helped negotiate the 2000 Fomboni Accords power-sharing agreement in which the federal presidency rotates among the three islands, and each island maintains its local government. Its main languages are Arabic (the official language), French and Shikomoro (a blend of Swahili and Arabic). Its population of about 770,000 is 98% Sunni Muslim.  One of its major industries is perfume distillation as it is a major producer of ylang-ylang (a perfume essence) – making up about 30% of Comoros’ exports.

One of its claims to fame is that the Coelocanth –  a so-called living fossil – can be found off its shores. This fish is thought to represent a very early step in the evolution of fish to terrestrial four legged animals like amphibians. The fish was thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but one was found in 1938 and started a heated debate about how this creature fits into the evolution of land animals.

Its flag …

Comoros flag

See you next month.

Captioning Your Videojs Videos

For a little change of pace, I thought it might be fun to do a write up on adding captions to an open source video player. Using Dotsub’s API, adding captions to most players is dead simple.

I decided to use videojs’s HTML5 player for this demo. Video.js is a great player and comes with built in subtitle support. This support is provided by HTML5’s track element. Dotsub’s API allows you to directly access various subtitle formats. Video.js uses WebVTT files which we can fetch from the Dotsub API using this URL pattern:

http://dotsub.com/media/<video_id>/c/<language_code>/vtt

This will fetch the WebVTT file for your video directly from our servers. We, by default, enable CORS on all WebVTT file requests, so you do not have to worry about same-origin policy issues.

Adding captions to a video player then only requires a track tag for every language you want to add. A simple player like:

<video id="dotsub_example" class="video-js vjs-default-skin" width="640" height="264" poster="http://video-js.zencoder.com/oceans-clip.png" controls preload="auto" data-setup='[]'>
<source src="http://video-js.zencoder.com/oceans-clip.mp4" type='video/mp4' />
<source src="http://video-js.zencoder.com/oceans-clip.webm" type='video/webm; codecs="vp8, vorbis"' />
<source src="http://video-js.zencoder.com/oceans-clip.ogg" type='video/ogg; codecs="theora, vorbis"' />
</video>

Becomes caption enabled by simply adding:

<video id="dotsub_example" class="video-js vjs-default-skin" width="640" height="264" poster="http://video-js.zencoder.com/oceans-clip.png" controls preload="auto" data-setup='[]'>
<source src="http://video-js.zencoder.com/oceans-clip.mp4" type='video/mp4' />
<source src="http://video-js.zencoder.com/oceans-clip.webm" type='video/webm; codecs="vp8, vorbis"' />
<source src="http://video-js.zencoder.com/oceans-clip.ogg" type='video/ogg; codecs="theora, vorbis"' />
<track kind='captions' src='http://dotsub.com/media/5d5f008c-b5d5-466f-bb83-2b3cfa997992/c/eng/vtt' srclang='en' label='English' default />
<track kind='captions' src='http://dotsub.com/media/5d5f008c-b5d5-466f-bb83-2b3cfa997992/c/spa/vtt' srclang='es' label='Spanish' />
<track kind='captions' src='http://dotsub.com/media/5d5f008c-b5d5-466f-bb83-2b3cfa997992/c/fre_ca/vtt' srclang='fr' label='French' />
</video>

Now you have a beautiful video.js player that supports captions:

 

Around the Globe: Second Languages

This fascinating info-graphic shows the second most used languages in countries throughout the world.  The rise and fall of these secondary languages are of wide interest to companies and organizations that serve – or sell to – these populations.  Dotsub translated combinations of over 50 different languages in recent months, often to meet the demands of non-primary language speakers.

There are, of course, many different and intertwined reasons for the rise and fall of particular language usage.  There is history: war, occupation and migration.  Examples shown here include Tatar in Russia and Nahuatl (informally known as Aztec) in Mexico.  Then there is proximity that enables trade such as the use of Swedish in Finland and the use of Danish in Iceland.

Immigration is a driving factor as well.  In the U.S., the Spanish speaking population is the fastest growing population which has fueled powerhouses like Univision and Telemundo.  Meanwhile, in England, a large wave of Polish speakers have migrated to the UK since Poland joined the EU in 2004.  Still, that Polish is England’s secondary language is surprising but it shouldn’t be.

second-languages-map-1350px

Wukchumni?

The BBC recently reported that a new study has “found that minority languages in the most developed parts of the world, including North America, Europe and Australia, are most at threat” of extinction.

In North America, the Native American tribal languages are certainly at risk.  According to UNESCO, there are 139 Native American languages and that more than 70 of these languages could die off completely within five years if immediate efforts aren’t made to preserve them.

Why do we care?  Because language is part of the tapestry that is culture.  Watch this tender and moving story of Marie’s determination to save Wukchumni.

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/12/06/oklahoma-schools-push-keep-native-languages-alive-146133

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/19/opinion/who-speaks-wukchumni.html?_r=0

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29037168

 

New Feature: Upload Directly from Your Dropbox.com Account

Dotsub has added the ability to upload videos directly from your Dropbox.com account into your Dotsub account. This new addition makes adding files from Dropbox fast and simple.

On our upload page you will now see a ‘From Dropbox.com’ tab.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 2.03.45 PM

Just hit ‘Choose from Dropbox’ and select the file from your account:

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 2.04.43 PM

Hit upload and *poof* your video is on Dotsub ready to be captioned and translated.

Translations from Radiolab

monet

 

 

 

 

 

 

NPR, National Public Radio, is an American privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization.  One of its most popular shows is Radiolab, a Peabody Award-winning program that examines big questions in science, philosophy and the human experience through compelling storytelling.

Recently, Radiolab took up the topic of Translation.  The Dotsub Community is naturally well informed about matters of translation, so it was very interesting to hear this wide-open, far ranging exploration.  There are 8 stories including a blind woman “seeing” the world through technology, a look at the chicken and egg dilemma, and a telephone interpreter on a particularly harrowing call.

Between each story are charming well known American songs sung in various languages.  Also, please note that story “Deaf Comedy Jam” is a bit graphic.

There is more at their website:  http://www.radiolab.org/story/translation/

 

Dotsub Awarded Patent For Its Value Added Platform

Value added online platforms create sustainable marketplaces, allowing supply and demand to combine with the addition of specialized components to enable the desired service to be delivered on the platform itself.

Dotsub is such a value added platform. At its core it makes videos fully indexable by search engines, more easily findable by interested people in any language, understandable and engaging for those who don’t speak the source language of the video. However it doesn’t stop there! Through easy-to-use, intuitive interfaces, Dotsub allows the very process of time coding and captioning of the videos to happen within the browser. Without changing the paradigm, or switching to an off-line tool, once the video is captioned, the translation into any target language follows seamlessly and intuitively. These translations can be done by machines, by the crowd, or trained human professionals.

Screenshot 2014-11-08 15.16.16

Additional steps for reviewing the quality and bringing it up to the expected levels are also part of the user experience. The entire process is guided by a specific tool, once again available simply through the browser, that simplifies workflow management, assignment of tasks and allows the creation of triggers and alarms to automate and notify user project managers of successive handoffs. This is the environment we call the Dotsub Translation Content Management System (TCMS).

The integration of Dotsub with the online video platforms completes the sequence for an end to end solution where content owners can add relevant value to their videos in a simple, cost-effective and high-quality solution. Through our Enterprise solutions, or simply via our ecommerce portal, these services can be delivered to our clients at high quality, rapidly, easily, and cost effectively.

Screenshot 2014-11-08 15.13.21

Being able to create systems that are innovative, easy to use, and sustainable in delivering value to their users is a clear challenge that all startups must necessarily face. We believe that Dotsub successfully faced this challenge, with the help of everybody in our team! This is the reason why we are so proud that the innovation embodied by Dotsub’s approach has been recognized by the United States Patents and Trademarks Office which awarded us with US Patent 8863220 on Oct 14, 2014.

Lovely Language Tree

Arika Okrent over at Mental_Floss pointed us to this beautiful illustration of the usually dreary language tree.  It is by Minna Sundberg, creator of the webcomic Stand Still. Stay Silent,

LangTree

 

Halloween

turnip

Irish carved turnip

This day is most often linked to the Celtic festival of “Samhain”, which comes from the Old Irish for “summer’s end”.  And for me it certainly was that – I grew up in New England and the night was always cold.  Challenged by coats topped with costumes and masks that made it impossible to see, we would march bravely into the night seeking candy.  We would only go home when our hands were too cold, bags too heavy or my father too bored.  My most memorable Halloween was spent in Las Vegas many years later – but that’s a story for another time.

Please follow these links for more history and to see celebrations from around the world.

http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/haunted/articles/halloween-around-the-world

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween

http://www.wsaw.com/feature/misc/60362977.html