This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

How Ugly Feet inspired me to Think Globally

On the subway ride home last night, I was staring at everybody’s ugly exposed pale feet (an unfortunate side effect of warmer NYC weather) and thinking about online video, close captioning/subtitles, and globalization.

-feet are gross

“Nerd!” “Trekkie!” “Feet Hater!” You may be shouting at your monitor, well whatevs bub. Hear me out.

ps: I know I said I wasn’t going to write in here anymore this week, but I’m at work early and well, deal with it.

Podzinger claims that it is unleashing the content within audio and video, and it is…. But for now, only from the tip of the online video iceberg. Currently, they are (correct me if I am wrong but I’m probably not) only successfully transcribing/providing click points within video/audio for English language content. Podzinger was beefing up their Spanish search/transcription capability, but as of today it’s really not that useful.

The biggest example is of their partnership with YouTube. In theory, you can search through all YouTube content by keywords, and locate video where those words are actually spoken, providing users with a smarter search tool. Beyond the keywords provided by those who upload, you can actually find clips where people say “I love eggs”, if you are so inclined, even if “I love eggs” wasn’t a keyword. You also have access to a transcript of the entire clip. But again, this is limited to English language content. If I try to locate Non English content on YouTube with Podzinger, they don’t show up in my searches. This is, to put it simply, lame.

I hope that podzinger or a competing service will soon provide word search/transcription within video on content in every language, as well as automatic translation/subtitling of content, like when you go see a french film with subtitles, or watch cool Korean soap operas with subtitles on public access stations. Only, this should be an option on all video online, ever made, and in as many translations as possible.

Who would benefit from this? Everybody who likes cool video content, and doesn’t want to limit their searches and understanding of content to their native idioma.

I want to be able to watch user generated short films from kids in Dubai, and be able to see, in subtitles, a translation in English or Spanish, depending on my mood. I want to be able to do this online, on my mobile device, through any p2p video streaming service like JOOST or Democracy TV. I want to be able to encode any footage I want and upload it to a free service that will automatically translate it in several languages for me, so I know that people all over the world will be able to understand what I am saying.

If I am forced to think as a money grubbing capitalist, this would also potentially open up new consumer bases for companies of all sizes, from all over the world. What if there was a fab hair product only made by a small company in Thailand that I could order online? I only speak Spanish and English – How am I going to know about it if the company can’t afford to create a commercial in those languages? I don’t care enough to search online for hair products, but if it was introduced to me in an ad that was already part of an online clip I was watching, and subtitled/translated, I might be interested. The global marketplace becomes that much bigger of a candy store, for anyone with internet access or mobile device.

Is this too much to ask for? I don’t think so. I feel that all the elements are already in place, and it’s just a matter of working together. We should all be able to share any video content with anyone, without the limits of language barriers. Maybe it’s in the works as I type this. If it is, cool. If not, there is now a permanent record of a girl’s desire to appreciate online video content from ever country, on a deeper level, through automatically generated subtitles.

…Now, how did ugly feet inspire me to this conclusion? Simple: If I ever post a video whining about how much I loathe bare human feet in confined spaces, I want the entire world to understand what I am saying, and feel my pain. Or you know, something less ridiculous.

In closing, let’s continue to look towards the future…. In the year 2000. (Thanks Ju’)

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