¡Yo hablo español, 中文 and हिन्दी too!

2 mins read

One in five Americans speaks a language other than English at home. CIS
85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. DigiDay
The message is clear: caption and translate videos to maximize their impact.

How does a small campaign on a tight budget:
(a) decide what languages to translate their videos into?
(b) how to add captions in different languages?
Fortunately there is an app for it! This blog explains how Stephanie Moore, a candidate running for office in Michigan captioned her campaign video and translated it into Spanish for $25.

Finding the languages to translate your message into?
Statistical Atlas is a free resource that lets you better understand the demographic characteristics of your target audience – including the languages they speak. Community Analyst is another more detailed resource. Stephanie used these apps to decide to translate her campaign video into Spanish in order to reach more potential voters.

Translate & Caption
Most video hosting platforms including YouTube offer free captioning for videos hosted on their platform. These captions are machine generated and prone to errors. What’s needed is a way to:
1. Caption videos so that they can be distributed broadly – independent of the hosting platform
2. Have human review of the machine generated translations in order to fix any errors
3. Translate from both English to other languages and vice versa
New machine learning software makes this fast and affordable. Details on this solution are being shared selectively so that it is not misused for hate speech. Learn more about the solution here.

Happy 4th!
We also used the app to caption a video from the Movement Vote Project about Native-led organizing groups at Mount Rushmore. Watch the original video with narration by Mark Ruffalo. Here is the captioned version:

Take away
Make the most of your videos. Caption and translate them. Happy 4th!

Deepak
DemLabs
Title image credit: Photo by Jhon David on Unsplash
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Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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