CASE STUDY - INTO THE
Into the Fire: The Hidden Victims of Austerity in Greece
is a film about
the situation of refugees and migrants in one of the European border
countries at a time of severe austerity and rising, at times murderous,
racism. The documentary is based on interviews with people from all
over the world, including Somalia, Nigeria, Kenia, Egypt, Pakistan,
Greece, Britain, Guinea, Iran, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Morocco. Spoken
languages include Arabic, English, French and Greek.
Many are speaking in a language other than their native language, or
are speaking in a specific accent, or background noise means their
words are hard to make out without subtitles. While the film's main
language is English, we didn't want to decide whose English was
understandable or 'acceptable' and whose wasn't. So we decided to
subtitle the whole film.
To do this, we uploaded the film to Vimeo, set to private and
password protected, and then dropped the link onto Amara. Amara is
award winning web-based software for collaberative subtitle creation.
It is published under the AGPL licence.The transcription interface was
very intuitive. Remembering only a couple of keystrokes helped to
move swiftly through the whole film and transcribe interviews and
narration. In all, the Into the Fire subtitles consist of 577 lines for a 38
We wanted to offer the film in different languages so it would be
accessible to audiences that don't speak English. Already while filming,
there was a lot of interest in Greece, so it was clear we would need
Greek subtitles. Making the film on a shoestring meant we didn't have
any funding to pay for translations. So we asked online: On our
website, facebook and twitter we put out a call for volunteers to help
Everyone who got in touch with us received short instructions by email
and the relevant links and passwords. And then we watched how
translations grew and more languages were added.
Into the Fire was released on 21st April with subtitles in Albanian, Danish,
Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish. On the
release date, the Czech translation was almost finished and Polish,
Serbian and Swahili translations had been started.
Most translations had more than one person working on them. The
advantage of Amara is that people can contribute to a translation,
then save it and someone else can pick up where they left off. Working
with other people, and working with people who aren't physically near
you is very simple.
For the most part, our translators, many of whom we've never met
and don't know, have been able to work independently, with very basic