When it comes to foreign language films and TV programs, purists usually argue that subtitles preserve the vocal performance of the original actors. But I have to admit to a general preference for dubbing, mainly because I don’t like taking my eyes off the actors for extended periods (but maybe that’s just because I’m a slow reader). Researchers at BBC Research & Development could sway me to the other camp with a new system that frees subtitles from the shackles that have traditionally kept them at the bottom of the screen.
Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), the non-profit organization that makes Miro - the cross-platform, free software video player and downloader - has embarked on a Herculean task of subtitling all videos on the Web. PCF is creating Universal Subtitles, an open standard protocol that will allow clients such as Firefox extensions, desktop video players, websites, or browsers to find and download matching subtitles from subtitle databases when they play video. But first, the company needs the subtitles. That’s where you come in.