Volunteer Subtitling with Amara.org

One of my suggestion to beginner translator is to contribute time by volunteering, especially when someone will look at your translation and improve the quality. In fact, volunteering was how I landed on a very interesting job offer. But that’s a story for another day.

I joined TED talks subtitling community a few years ago, but failed to set aside enough time to contribute and I feel bad about it, as these talks are some of the best talks I’ve seen being spread for free. Over time, they moved their subtitling platform to amara.org, naturally I moved with them to the new platform.

Today, I got to spend the afternoon creating a new subtitle for a video and editing an old subtitle, but not for TED. When I peruse amara.org volunteer section, I noticed that Tastemade is on the list for several of their videos. A couple of days ago, I was so in love with their Thai Iced Tea video, so I decided to join and check their list of what they need to be subtitled via amara.

amara-join volunteer

Naturally, it consist of only their Pro Tips so far. If you check the Thai Iced Tea video below, you’ll see why it will be hard to create a one-size-fit-all subtitle for their videos.

Creating subtitle for these Pro Tips videos are not time consuming, because it’s very short, but since it relies on community, I immediately encountered two problems:

1. In the “How to get the best sound quality” tip, someone accidentally uploaded Korean subtitle into English subtitle. Luckily, it is easy to revert it back to the most suitable version.
amara-revision comparison

2. In the “Tips on talking to restaurant managers and staff” video, the available subtitle for Indonesian is quite bad, with inconsistent terminology used for ‘food fans’, using English words for ‘restaurants’, misspellings, usage of casual abbreviation, and some meaning was lost in translation. The old subtitle is on the left, and the improved one is on the right.

amara-bad translation

If you look closely, I also added additional subtitles, because the speaker talks very fast and to show everything to match the English version will result in a crowded subtitle per line. The blue lines on the right is to show that there’s actually the start of a new line in the subtitle, but amara interface on this particular page did not show it.

Adding a subtitle
Amara interface is very easy to learn. First, pick a video to add your subtitle from the list. And you’ll arrive in a page similar to the following. Click on the red-circled triangle, and continue by clicking on the place shown by the red arrow.

amara - start adding new subtitle

A dialogue will appear that will let you to pick which language you would like to subtitle into. I picked Indonesian and the following screen will appear.

amara - no subtitle

This screen shows that there are no subtitle in the Indonesian section, because originally this video doesn’t have it. On the left, there’s the English version 2. You can select other version too. It helps you because you can see what the speaker is telling you without seeing the video, especially if your connection is really slow, but I still suggest you to playback the video, as the English text may missed out a word or more.

On the middle top, you’ll see a pencil icon, you can click on it to translate the title and description of the video. But this can also be done after you finish with the subtitle, it’s the second step as shown in the right hand sidebar.

Communication voice or style
Right above the “Version 2″ section, you’ll see a link to the Tastemade Guidelines, for every project, I suggest you read them. Every client/party/company has some sort of “voice” or “style” of communication and if you understand this, you’ll be able to deliver better quality of translation/subtitle.

Tastemade is made of young at heart people, this is why I choose “teman-teman” (friends) for “you guys” and “kamu” for “you” when addressing their target audience. But in the “Tips on talking to restaurant managers and staff” video, the speaker is talking about how to address managers and staff, for the portion of her talking to the manager and staff, “you” is translated as “Anda”, a more formal version.

Start subtitling

amara - entering subtitle

Now you are ready to enter subtitle, you should play the video too, to see when your subtitle shows up or how it takes up the screen. Normally there should only be two lines of text per subtitle, each 30-40 characters, and Channel 4 suggest that we allow 2 seconds per line. To make new line in the same subtitle, use Ctrl+Enter. If you only use Enter, your cursor will move to the next subtitle.

Because the English version already have the time encoded, I can use this in the Indonesian version too. But when the subtitle becoming too crowded, and it will for Indonesian, just hover in any subtitle segment, the grey half circled plus sign will appear. Click on that to add subtitle segment just above the current one you clicked.

IMHO, this is the best interface to review the subtitle, when you click play, that area where you see red circles in the below screenshot will scroll to indicate the time of when the subtitle will appear, to adjust when a subtitle should appear, you just need to slide it, no need to write down the exact time or click at the exact moment.

amara - reviewing


When the subtitle is too long (Indonesian translation will be longer at some point), I added a new subtitle and adjust the time cue as well. You can see that in the below screen shot, the new subtitle segment did not match the English segment immediately on its left-hand side. We’re adapting the subtitle to the Indonesian audience, this is okay.

amara - adding new subtitle for lengthy sentence

You’ll see a hollow on the left of the slider in the screenshot, don’t worry, just slide your subtitles to adjust when it will appear. If the speaker has interval in between sentences, it’s okay to left it hollow.

Amara needs to have a link to alert the project owner about problems in their videos, like the Korean subtitle for English above and the incorrect description for “Tips for shooting in low lighting settings”, the description was copied from “How to creatively shoot your 3 seconds montage clips” video.

Last words
There it is, how I spent my afternoon today. This is not meant to be a step-by-step guide, but more like a highlight on how easy it is to use amara to subtitle videos. Maybe some will not be comfortable to use it in the professional setting, but some will consider it a good alternative.

Faktor-faktor Penentu Tarif Terjemahan

1. Acuan Standar Penghitungan Penerjemahan
Ini harus disepakati dari awal. Bisa per kata, baris, halaman, menit, atau jam. Acuan dari Himpunan Penerjemah Indonesia, 1 halaman biasanya 250 kata. Dari situs lain menyatakan bahwa, rata-rata 1 halaman ini bisa dikerjakan dalam 1 jam.

2. Jenis Terjemahan
Penerjemahan berikut berbeda-beda kesulitan penerjemahannya: laporan keuangan, manual ponsel, puisi, paten, laporan medis. Sama-sama sulit, bagi penerjemah yang tidak menguasai bidang bahan yang ditawarkan. Teks dengan topik umum beda tarifnya dengan teks dengan topik legal.

3. Nilai Hasil Terjemahan
Untuk Siapa - Terjemahan yang sifatnya hanya buat keperluan informasi bagi satu orang beda harganya dengan terjemahan yang sifatnya buat khalayak ramai. Tapi bisa saja satu orang itu Presdir, dan terjemahan buat khalayak ramai itu hanyalah teks yang menyatakan ‘toilet di sebelah kiri’.
Penghematan Waktu - Terjemahan juga bisa saja Anda kerjakan sendiri dalam 5 hari, penerjemah bisa menghemat waktu Anda bila dia bisa mengerjakannya dalam 2 hari. Dan Anda bisa fokus mengerjakan hal-hal lain. Bila tarif sang penerjemah lebih murah dari gaji Anda selama 5 hari itu, lebih baik lagi.

4. Waktu pengerjaan atau tenggat 
Semua orang tentunya ingin cepat, tapi perhatikan juga kapasitas kerja. Seorang penerjemah idealnya menerjemahkan dua ribu kata per hari, bila dia bekerja penuh waktu. Dengan batasan ini beliau bisa mempertahankan kualitas terjemahan dan menjaga kesehatan.
Tentu saja, penerjemah tidak membatasi bila klien ingin sesuatu dikerjakan dengan cepat, tapi biasanya klien dikenai biaya tambahan. Sama seperti biaya jasa cuci baju, semakin cepat, semakin mahal. Penerjemah juga butuh istirahat di akhir pekan, biaya tambahan juga bisa dikenakan bila klien ingin terjemahan selesai sebelum Senin pagi, sedangkan dokumen baru dikirim Jumat malam.

5. Kualitas penerjemahan yang ditawarkan
Terkait dengan jenis penerjemahan, kualitas juga bisa beragam. Bila terjemahan bersifat informatif (klien hanya sekadar ingin tahu maknanya saja), terjemahan bisa lebih murah. Bila terjemahan bersifat untuk publikasi, kualitasnya tentu lebih tinggi lagi, tidak boleh ada salah-salah eja, tata bahasa target yang bercampur dengan tata bahasa bahasa sumber, dan macam-macam kesalahan lainnya.

6. Biaya hidup di lokasi kediaman sang penerjemah
Berapa nilai KHL di Jakarta? Sekitar 2 juta rupiah. Anggap penerjemah bekerja penuh waktu, berarti 22 hari kerja dan 8 jam kerja, total 176 jam kerja. 11.364 rupiah per jam kerja. Jadi yang menawarkan terjemahan dengan tarif 5-7 ribu per halaman? Rasanya kok lebih sejahtera bila bekerja jadi buruh.
Tentu saja pekerjaan penerjemah adalah pekerjaan yang membutuhkan kemampuan khusus, jadi tidak layak disamaratakan dengan pekerjaan yang tidak membutuhkan keahlian/pendidikan. Pun penerjemah memilih profesi ini tidak untuk hidup pas-pasan, karena itu wajar bila mereka mengenakan biaya lebih tinggi.

7. Tabungan, asuransi, dan pajak pendapatan
Bagi penerjemah yang menjadikan ini sebagai profesi, mereka juga butuh asuransi, menabung untuk hari tua, dan membayar pajak pendapatan. Mereka juga tidak menerima THR, jadi penerjemah profesional juga memperhitungkan komponen-komponen ini dalam tarif mereka.

Indonesia: A market worth localizing?

Back from my sabbatical with fresh mind and ideas.

On the corner of my mind, I am constantly reminded by this 2010 article mentioned that Indonesian market do not monetize so well. Yet, there are many websites and games are being localized into Indonesian. Either using professionals, semi-professionals, amateurs, or even machine translation.

I won’t delve into the potential earning, the post will be very long, lets just say with the ever increasing middle class, the potential is huge. But why is it there’s still do not monetize so well comment?

All these websites are counting on monetizing via credit card and PayPal. Which is unfortunate, because Indonesia is a cash-based society.

Credit Card
Data from Indonesia Credit Card Association claims that on July 2013 there are only 14.7 million credit cards in Indonesia. With Indonesian population over 251 million* this year, that’s barely 5.8% of credit card penetration, if one person has only one credit card (which is not always the case). Then come along the new regulation from the central bank, on limiting credit card owner, on the basis of eliminating unnecessary debt.

Don’t forget the usage pattern. Since only people over 18 can have credit card, that means huge market of young gamers and spenders (13-17) are being left out. These are the age group you would likely find spending their time playing games in internet cafes (due to its size and geography, broadband internet infrastructure for common consumer in Indonesia is limited).

Indonesia middle class is currently 71 million people, these are the people that spend more than just basic necessities, they are consuming products. With only 14.7 million credit cards in circulation, how many potential market do you lose out because you only accept credit cards? As a frame of reference, those 14.7 million cards amassed IDR 125.100.633.000.000 (or USD 12,510,063,300) worth in transaction according to the Indonesia Credit Card Association.

PayPal is the bane of all freelancers in Indonesia. When they announce they’re coming to Indonesia, we rejoiced. However until now PayPal can only be used to accept payments to our bank account, with huge fee and less than favorable exchange rate. PayPal has yet to accept loading money from its local bank partner** or allowing us to receive money in USD to our local bank’s USD bank account. I am guessing maybe financial regulations.

What now?
There is actually a model that has been long standing in our ever loving cash-based society. Reload card vouchers.

Do you know reload vouchers for cell-phone credit? No? Here, we have the most freedom in choosing our mobile phone network operator, phone+service contract model here will not sell, no matter how anyone push it. There will be someone in Roxy or Ambassador*** that will unlock the phone for you. Ha!

Thus, the only way to make money is to have an all out war in giving the best service to its customers. Network operators, while also offers subscription-based service, their biggest number of customer are those with prepaid plan. With prepaid plan, when your credit balance is low you have to load more credit with a voucher number, easily obtained from any corners of Indonesia.

In Japan, I saw a chain of convenient stores selling iTunes gift cards, so people with no credit card can load their iTunes account with money. I wish someday some payment processor will do this with Indomaret or Alfamart, preferably Google Wallet or some other new startup.

It is better to build on consumption with money we do have, instead of credit card. Oh, and I want iTunes gift card in IDR too! Looking at you, Indomaret!

* Assumption was made on this data: Our last census was in 2010, Indonesian population was 237,641,326 people, with a growth rate of 1.03%)
** PayPal allows us to reload money from credit card (oh! circle of evil!)
*** These are malls prominent for their focus on mobile phone retailers.

Edited on Oct 5, 2013: It seems that back in April, a user reported on the ability of debiting your prepaid account or charging your carrier billing with Telkomsel. This is of course the easiest solution at this time. Hopefully, there would be more details to this soon, as Google Help page do not list Indonesia right now.

Added on March 26th, 2014: Apparently, this approach is ruled out by Bank Indonesia (Indonesian central bank) back in 2011 when it comes to buying physical goods, citing concerns over money laundering. The link is in Indonesian. e-books, tokens, LINE coins, do not fall into this rule, though.

10 kiat mengasah kemampuan menerjemahkan

1. Pahami bahasa sumber maupun bahasa target luar-dalam
Walau Anda jago sekali berbahasa asing, tapi kalau tidak bisa mengekspresikan diri dalam Bahasa Indonesia dan tata bahasa amburadul, jalan Anda ke tarif yang lebih mahal agak suram.

2. Banyak membaca dan menulis dalam bahasa sumber maupun bahasa target
Membaca meningkatkan kosakata, diksi, memudahkan kamu mengenali gaya bahasa dan tata bahasa yang dipakai sang penulis. Sedangkan menulis meluweskan gaya bahasa dan melatih kita memakai diksi dan kosakata pada struktur kalimat yang patut.

3. Kenali kesalahan-kesalahan yang sering dilakukan oleh penerjemah Indonesia
Buka daftar kesalahan-kesalahan penerjemah Indonesia. Saat mengecek hasil terjemahan Anda atau orang lain, perhatikan poin-poin ini.

4. Cari teman yang sama-sama ingin belajar menerjemahkan
Kalau bisa yang berani ngeritik karya terjemahan kamu habis-habisan. Jangan yang memuja kamu. Bahan untuk diterjemahkan?
a. Novel asing, yang ringan atau berat, terserah
b. Artikel Wikipedia, yang panjangnya sedang-sedang saja (200-300 kata)
c. Artikel dari situs berita daring (New York Times, Guardian, dsb)

5. Analisis teks terjemahan, bisa dilakukan dengan teman atau mandiri
Ambil 200-300 kata karya terjemahan untuk dianalisis. Baik itu dari novel yang kamu punya kedua edisinya, artikel Wikipedia (kadang ada juga yang ditulis independen dari bahasa Inggris), artikel majalah.

6. Cari mentor
Di proz.com ada program ini, ini model yang bagus karena kamu bisa menyerap ilmu mentor yang tentunya sudah lama bekerja di bidang ini. Biasanya Anda akan dikasih bahan terjemahan dari klien langsung dan beliau akan membimbing Anda supaya hasilnya lebih baik. Mentor bisa juga didapatkan dari tempat lain, pintar-pintarnya Anda mencari.

7. Ikut program TED Open Translation
Keuntungannya adalah karya terjemahan (video subtitle) kamu ditilik oleh pihak lain, sehingga kamu bisa tahu kalau ada yang kurang. Kekurangannya, kalau kamu ditilik oleh pihak yang kurang jeli.

8. Ikut kompetisi penerjemahan
Ini jarang ada dan biasanya tidak ada hadiah finansial. Di proz.com biasanya dilakukan pada awal tahun.

9. Ikut kursus penerjemahan
Demi tarif/honor lumayan, sedikit investasi nggak ada salahnya, kan?

10. Beli buku seputar topik penerjemahan dan membaca blog-blog kritik terjemahan
Gunanya untuk meningkatkan wawasan dalam menerjemahkan dan membentuk pola pikir kamu dalam menerjemahkan.



Bands, coming to Indonesia?

Indonesia concert business is booming, hell, scratch that. It’s explodingggggggg. In a month, we can see 10 concerts easy! But there are things that made me wonder endlessly.

1. Our favourite food is Nasi Goreng!

I wonder why all artists claimed that they love only ONE dish from Indonesia. Our country has over THIRTEEN THOUSANDS islands and our culinary delights is not limited to a NASI GORENG! It’s a simple and cheap dish to produce. Next time you’re in Indonesia, ask for some of those delights:
A. Sayur Pecel: a multi-vegetable dish with its own sweet peanut sauce. A similar dish is called Gado-gado (different peanut sauce and it had some protein: boiled eggs and fried tempeh)
B. Soto Ayam: a savory vegetable soup dish with shredded chicken topped with fried garlic. And there are multiple variations of this one dish, depends on which area you would like to try: Banjar, Betawi, Java.
C. Ayam Bumbu Bali: cubed chicken fried and then added Balinese-style spices, spicy, sweet, and savoury.

MAKE IT A POINT, write it in your rider that you want some authentic Indonesian food, OTHER THAN a plate of nasi goreng!

And do you know that we have thousands of snacks? Sample some of them, in glorious detail explanation and pictures. *sigh* I better get a free ticket for this!

2. Saying Aku cinta padamu as a translation for “I love You!”

I am still wondering who came up with ‘Aku cinta padamu!’ While it is a correct rendering of ‘I love you’ word-for-word, it’s culturally incorrect. “you” is rendered as “kamu” (singular), instead of “kalian” (plural). Unless you’re trying to say this to the one you truly love, and there’s only him/her in the room, it’s not working in the artist-fan situation. Even then, it would be awkward, Indonesian do not use a base word cinta, they use a properly suffixed word.

“Love” can be interpreted into three situations:
a. ‘kasih’, the ‘love’ described in the Bible, between fellow Christians and God towards human. Outside of this biblical context, a ‘lover’ is translated as ‘kekasih’
b. ‘sayang’, you say this to people you truly care about. Can be to your parents and your fans.
c. ‘cinta’, to your significant other. This is a base word, Indonesian add suffix, like: ‘mencintai’ (loving, active verb) and ‘dicintai’ (being loved).

So, please say “Saya/Kami sayang sekali sama kalian!”

Saya if you’re just one individual, Kami if you’re saying it for the whole band. To add to the scream, say an elongated ‘sayang’ (saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayang) and spread your arms as widely as possible. Or if your target market are teens, switch Saya to Aku, and sekali to banget. In fact, ask your interpreter/promoter how to say it properly!