Product Manager, OOONA
Online subtitle editors first made their appearance approximately a decade ago. Originally elementary in functionality, they were introduced to the wider public through platforms such as Amara’s as a means for anyone to easily add subtitles to online videos. They banked on ease of use and access from anywhere, on any machine, coupled with a free subscription model for the basic package. Digital nomads loved them, and such platforms quickly got a large fan base that allowed them to grow and eventually spin out professional packages. One could even say that such online platforms had a lot to do with democratizing subtitling.
Founded in 2012, OOONA was a pioneer in the online subtitling market and one of the few software providers that do not also offer language services. With a user-first culture, OOONA embarked on developing fully cloud-based professional subtitling solutions. It aimed to be at the heart of the media localization business and now leads the market in online tools, servicing thousands of users in over 100 countries.
Online subtitle editors have since been adopted by most top media localization providers, typically integrated into a translation management system. Work allocation and completion are thus managed and controlled more effectively and transparently with in-built communication tools that facilitate remote and collaborative work. Production can be scaled up easily as requirements change.
Primary factors for the selection of online subtitle editors by businesses have always been the data security and ease of deployment implicit in all cloud computing applications. These have been major selling points for the OOONA Integrated platform as many prospective clients look for secure solutions in which subtitlers can work with DRM-protected videos in a browser.
"Becoming a fully invested cloud facility has been at the core of our international growth plans so as to best manage security and complexity across our global offices," explains Eutdel Garcia, Vice President of Engineering & Facilities at The Kitchen International which recently partnered with OOONA to materialize this plan.
Despite the fast adoption of online editors by language service providers, subtitlers themselves had been holding on to their preference for desktop tools for many years stating two main reasons: functionality and internet connectivity. The latter may have been true ten years ago but 63% of the world population is now connected to the internet with the northern hemisphere enjoying much higher internet speeds than the southern. Sophisticated subtitling functionality such as audio scrubbing has become available in online editors and one can already note a discernible shift in user preferences which is expected to continue as internet penetrates the remaining part of the world and connectivity issues become sparser. The thousands of unique OOONA users who log onto the platform on a monthly basis are testament to this. “Only last weekend we had a record number of users online simultaneously without a single helpdesk ticket raised,” says Adam Tal, OOONA Software Architect. “You know the system is solid when this happens.”
So what can users expect from online tools in the near future?
Translators have been vocal about the lack of translation aids in subtitle editors. Examples are concordance and termbase searches, predictive typing and dictation support, all of which are ideal for integration in online tools. Similar suggestions came up in the #OOONA2022 contest that we run among our users. More automation is certainly on the roadmap for OOONA Tools. We have already integrated a selection of ASR and MT engines, so clients have the option to select the right engine for each language they work in. A deeper integration of such tools can easily be envisaged, with support for customized solutions, toggles for the use of available metadata and quality estimation indicators, to assist users in reaping maximum benefits from language engines.
“One of the reasons we decided to use OOONA’s platform is their responsiveness and their forward-thinking attitude,” says Marcy Gilbert, founder and CEO at IDC Digital and IDC LA. “We have been looking for ways to not only streamline our work but also to increase our staff’s productivity. OOONA was the right fit for us.”
Another favorite functionality rolled out recently is the ability to display multiple subtitle tracks simultaneously. This is useful for Japanese where one of these layers is displayed vertically instead of horizontally to satisfy the specific requirements of the Japanese subtitling conventions. This new feature also facilitates multilanguage QC as well as being an integral part of our tools’ scripting functionality where different speakers’ dialogue needs to be represented simultaneously – as is common in voiceover and dubbing workflows – or simply to add audio description tracks to the same project.
“We are currently focusing intensively on developing our scripting tool further,” says Wayne Garb, OOONA founder and CEO. "Our vision is to create an all-encompassing tool which can be used for any type of script, be it regular post-production, audio description, voiceover or dubbing script.” This is related to the integration of synthetic voice technology which we have recently made in collaboration with Veritone. The latter can be used to voice such scripts automatically. A preliminary demo was given at the April 2022 NAB Show in Las Vegas and the next release is scheduled to include over 100 synthetic voices.
“We were looking for a partner to help us make our library of stock and custom voices available to our clients so they could streamline audio descriptions within a single localization platform,” says Drew Hilles, senior vice president of Global Commercial Sales at Veritone. “OOONA’s market reach and stellar dev team make them the ideal partner.”
Such API integrations with state-of-the-art third-party tools and platforms are part of our core business strategy for the future in order to best serve our clients’ interests and allow them to provide seamless media localization services. We strongly believe in secure workflows, so we provide a full API for OOONA Tools which have been integrated into multiple management platforms. One of our most popular products is the Convert API which allows easy conversion from and into over 50 subtitle and caption file formats. It can be purchased at a click of a button as a plug-and-play product straight from the OOONA Shop.
At the same time, we stay true to our philosophy of making our suite of state-of-the-art tools accessible to independent users as well as large enterprises so everyone can enjoy them for as little as a simple weekly subscription.
For more information on OOONA products, visit our shop at https://shop.ooona.net.
 Joseph Hohnson (2022-05-09). Internet penetration rate worldwide, April 2022 – by region. https://www.statista.com/statistics/269329/penetration-rate-of-the-internet-by-region/
 Fastmetrics (no date). Median and fastest internet speeds by country – August 2020. https://www.fastmetrics.com/internet-connection-speed-by-country.php
 Yota Georgakopoulou (2022-06-08). LinkedIn post. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/yotageorgakopoulou_online-desktop-subtitling-activity-6940301599969824768-7dUW?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=member_desktop_web
 AVTE (2021-09-13). Press release: AVTE manifesto on machine translation. https://avteurope.eu/2021/09/13/press-release-avte-manifesto-on-machine-translation/