Video translation through subtitles is largely useless if the media cannot be distributed. There are many issues that come up when considering how to distribute subtitled video. First, file format differences and preferences can affect the accessibility of your content. Second, the method of distribution, actually how the video is sent out. Third, the resting place or home of the video content is important. Lastly, the license and re-usability of the content must be considered. All of these topics are dependent both on the intentions for the video and the audience which can change significantly from project to project. Therefore, some basic definitions and concepts are explained for further explanation and exploration of the options available.
You can choose to burn in the subtitles onto the video, ie have video editing software permanently render the subtitle text, at the correct times as indicated by the subtitle file, over the top of the video image. This means the video can be distributed as only one file, and the users dont need to worry about separate subtitle files and enabling subtitles in their players. However, you cannot get rid of the subtitles from this video, and need to produce separate video files for every translation you have.
On the other hand, you can simply produce separate subtitle files for every language which gives you and your audience extra flexibility. You need only distribute one version of your video, however now you will need to distribute subtitles for multiple languages, generally available as separate downloads.
Its also possible to explore the video container formats that allow embedding subtitles within the container, which provides the best of both worlds described above - the ability to not show subtitles, or one choosen from among the translations you make available, all within one file. Patent-unencumbered copyleft video container formats that support this include Matroska Multimedia Container (MKV) and the Ogg container format.Lets briefly describe the tools you would use to render or distribute the subtitles you produce for your video. Avidemux, a FLOSS video editor, allows you to render subtitles over a video, and re-export this video with the text permanently embedded into the video. For distribution of web video, you can combine certain FLOSS video players, such as Flowplayer, with SRT files for embedding your video into a web page, and allow users to see subtitles render over the top of the video. At the cutting edge, you can experiment with the new <video> tag of HTML5 for playback of Ogg Theora video with Firefox 3.5 , using Java Script to control playback of the captions from SRT files.
There are a few ways in which subtitles can be associated with the media they are translating:
Fortunately, there are many FLOSS video hosting services that allow people around the world to see their videos and find out about the information important to them. One of the advantages of using an FLOSS hosting service is that both the multimedia content and the software platform is open to community contribution and collaboration. As with most web services, each has its own flavor and advantages.
EngageMedia.org is a video sharing site centered around social justice and environmental issues in the Asia Pacific region. They aim to create an online community based on open video. Video uploads are focused on social justice and the Asia Pacific. The not-for-profit Engage Media collective sponsor the software development of Plumi - http://plumi.org/ - a FLOSS video sharing platform, which is the software that powers engagemedia.org
EngageMedia have also produce a guide for activists and NGOs on distributing video online - http://www.engagemedia.org/guide-to-digital-video-distro
Another option for distributing video content online is the use of BitTorrent. This method allows a user to upload video (or other content) onto a network, in effect "seeding" the network with the content. Peers on the network are then able to download the content and can become seeds themselves. In this way, the information for a large amount of content is spread out across a large number of users as more and more people download the content. The more people that then have the content and offer it as a seed, the more likely a successful and quick download will occur. This method is best for content that needs an efficient method of distribution rather than publicity and visual exposure.