New Editor Feedback

Amara is in the process of switching to a new subtitle editor that is easy to use and also very powerful for professional work.  It is currently in beta but will become the primary editor soon. Take a look below to see how it works, and what's to come!

Advantages and features that will be available in the released version.

(most features are available now!)

  • Side by side comparison of any language / revision with your working vision.
  • No more artifical line-length limitations on upload.
  • Support for HTML5 video (mp4, webm, ogg), Youtube, Vimeo, and Brightcove videos, oga and mp3 audio formats.  (Currently dailymotion users will need to use the legacy editor.  Wistia users should add the html5 (mp4) url)
  • Localized interface.
  • Functionality from  the old editor (magical autopause may be delayed)
  • Clickable shortcuts
  • Additions keyboard shortcuts and help.
  • New reset functionality, for timing or text.
  • Ability to revert to the last saved revision.
  • Auto-save (every minute)
  • Ability to copy subtitle timing from reference to working version.
  • Ability to lock reference text with target translation.
  • Style guidelines (team configurable) available in editor view
  • Better cleaner and clearer dialogs
  • Improved recovery (in the case of a save error)
  • Help gutter for each subtitle showing the number of lines and characters / line and reading rate (characters / second).
  • New user help prompts at the start of each subtitling stage.
  • Button to switch back to legacy editor.


Help prompts for subtitling staging:

Amara Style Guidelines (configurable for Teams)

Add a new language dialog

To use the new Amara editor:

  1. Find a video without subtitles or add any supported via the front page of
  2. Click ‘Add a new language’ on the video page.

  3. When the editor opens, look for the link to ‘open in beta editor’ on the bottom right.  

  4. This will open the video in the new editor.  

Navigating in the new editor:

  • Use the Tab key to start and stop playback
  • Use hot keys "Shift + Control + ," to skip backward 4 seconds
  • Use "Shift + Control + ." to skip forward 4 seconds
  • Use "Shift + TAB" to quickly jump back 2 seconds
  • Click on a subtitle line to edit it.
    • The active sub displays on the video
    • A helper tray displays for active sub, showing:
      • start + end time
      • number of characters
      • character / second rate
      • characters / line if a multi-line text

Editing subtitle lines:

  • Click + to add a subtitle below the current line
  • Click x to delete a line
  • Type ESC to delete a selected blank subtitle line
  • Shift-enter will add a <br /> in your text - to split lines of text

Once all the text is typed into subtitles, click Yes, start syncing, to go to step 2, where you will add times to the subtitles.

Syncing the subtitles to the video

In step 2, play the video and press the down arrow to insert the subtitle at the right moment.

Syncing controls:

  • Down arrow to start sync
  • Up arrow to end sync
  • Down and hold to move start time of current sub
  • Helper prompts remind you of the action and display current location.

 The right side panel indicates when all lines are complete and synced.


Once all lines are timed, and there are no blank lines, you can move to the next step by clicking Start reviewing

Watch the video again, adjusting the timing using the timeline and fixing any typos.

Click Complete when done to save the completed version of subtitles.


If you need to exit the editor before subtitles are completed:

  • Clicking Exit will NOT save changes
  • Clicking Save, WILL save a new version of subtitles.
  • Both Exit and Save give you the option to return to the full (old) editor.

Adding a new translation:

  • When you open the new editor to make a translation, you can see the original language on the left side of the screen and the space to translate it on the right, below the video.
  • Use the menu on the left side to select the reference subtitles language and version.

  • The translation controls are the same as the transcription controls described above.
  • You can add and remove lines as well as change the timing as appropriate.

Keyboard Controls:

  • Tab key will start and stop playback
  • Shift + TAb to skip back 2 seconds.
  • Use hot keys "Shift + Control + ," to skip backward 4 seconds
  • Use "Shift + Control + ." to skip forward 4 seconds
  • Shift + Enter to add a line break. 
  • Enter to add a new line (in fast typing mode, timeline hidden)

Working Offline:

• Download the subtitle version that you want to use for offline work

• When editing be sure your edit confirm to the standard for the subtitle format type you are using.

ex: for srt format subtitles, italics are denoted as <i> italics </i> and you must properly close the tag. Unclosed tags won’t be parsed properly.  Lines with * italics * will remain unchanged.  

• When you have completed the editing, upload the subtitles via the amara ui.  

If you have removed lines from the translation choose  

in the upload dialog.  Otherwise your subtitle timings will be offset by the blank lines.

After uploading a new version carefully check your subtitles for any errors before continuing.  It is much simpler to correct errors before further edits are made and can prevent you from losing work.

1 person likes this

 I've subtitled about 4 videos on amara. I took a long time to subtitle first video.
But it wasn't difficult to understand how to subtitle a video using great UI of amara.

But I'd like to suggest improvements: (to make subtitling a mouse-free process)

#1. Most needed: a keyboard shortcut to make a new subtitle with all the text after the cursor (to be placed in the new subtitle)
You could use any shortcut, say Ctrl+Enter. Like Shift+Enter saves a lot of time.
But I need to do a lot of cut & paste to acheive this Ctrl+Enter functioning that I want to achieve most of the time.

I'd say introduce this shortcut & I'd not ask for the below shortcuts. Just kidding!

#2. Navigating between the different subtitles: Like pgup (for previous i.e. upper subtitle on the page) & pgdn keys or any keys you prefer. But one request if a person presses pgup, then the cursor should be at the last of the subtitle. & if a person presses pgdn key then the cursor should at the start of the subtitle.

#3. Like we get to see total number of characters in each subtitle line. It would be helpful if it could also tell the cursor (at current position) has completed "this many" characters.

#4. A keyboard shortcut to merge the current subtitle with the previous subtitle.

#5. A keyboard shortcut to merge the current subtitle with the next subtitle. (I think less use as of now but some person may find it useful)

#6. You can see this photo that the information on the right hand side (that shows the number of subtitle lines,etc) is placed a little bit below than it should be.
So to see this information, I've to scroll up everytime.

I've made a form here, you can also fill that.

1 person likes this

Yes, I meant to say cps of course

The present system of alerts is of no help if you are on under any other instructions than the standard ones
Ridiculous when you look at the varied instructions from job to job.

The cps rate changes whatever we do so that is fine but the warnings are of no use if I'm at 25  cps and not 20

Another thing is different sorts of characters when you are struggling to follow all the other rules
Is it so bad if I'm one character over and that character happens to be a full-stop.

This too needs to be programmable.

This is why I"m not so hot as you on the new editor. Certain things have got much better like alignment but Amara has really taken off and the editor has not managed to stay up with such changes.

This remark also links with my suggestion to try to 'bolster' it with add-ons perhaps rather than from the Amara platform at times

Ok, I'll try to make it a ticket for an improvement




1 person likes this

Two problems noted in the editor today:

Sometimes, Shift+Tab doesn't back up the video, instead, it scrolls the entire page down so that the video window isn't visible and in a way that makes it hard to see what caption one was editing.

Sometimes, the caption being edited scrolls off the screen -- sometimes WAY off the screen and there is no obvious way to have that caption brought back up into view so that one can see the effect of one's typing, such as in pressing Enter to move to subsequent captions, or in typing characters which, at this point, will be added to captions without the person editing having any idea of where they are being inserted.

This with the fact that, in many instances, pulling the right edge of caption A doesn't push the left edge of caption A+1, the caption to A's right.

And still, the narrow margin of error for grabbing a captions edge for syncing is making me take a very long time to make a small adjustment -- so much so that I am, again, returning to the legacy editor to do my work today.  The improvements are appreciated.  Hoping that soon the user experience in the new editor will be solidly superior to that of the legacy editor.

But it would sure be nice if Amara's software developers would fix the bugs in the Legacy editor so that we users aren't always having to gauge which of the two environments is the least annoying in terms of the unexpected and counterintuitive behaviors that we have to deal with in doing something that has to be mentally automatic if users are to have any hope of efficiently creating quality subtitles.

Hi Swe Holiday,

I saw you already made a ticket, so you'll get an informed technical reply from Amara's staff.

But as a user like you: Amara is a collaborative subtitling project. So if you can transcribe, but have problems syncing, you can ask others with a better connection to help you with that. You can do this in this forum (in the "Help me, please!" board) - and there are other venues too.


Also: whereas the legacy editor only allowed you to save and exit, with the new one, when you save, you also get the option to continue editing, which makes it easier to save often, which is a good idea when working with a weak connection. And if your connection completely goes, when you try saving a pop-up suggesting to download a back-up of the work you've done so far appears, as it did with the legacy editor. But there is a difference: with the new editor, this download also works if you are not connected.

I agree with Veroneblack that the active dragging area around the segment edges is much too small.  Hopefully, this will just be a matter of changing a couple of numbers in a couple of lines of code.  Happy to see that one can push and pull adjoining separators in one drag, though.   Thanks for implementing that.

Hi Safetex,

Your suggestion does indeed make sense: in fact the Transcribing and Translating FAQs about the new editor comprise one entitled: How do I split a subtitle into two?.  But the answer starts with "This feature has not been implemented yet." and proceeds with the same explanation you gave on how to do that presently.

As that FAQ is dated 30 May, 2014 at 4:42 am, would you go to it, click No after "Was this answer helpful?" and use the feedback form to ask if an implementation is foreseen, please? That will create a ticket.
I could do that, but then you couldn't follow replies to my ticket, whereas if you do, I can follow those to yours.




Subject: Redo Keyboard Shortcut

Curious as to why Ctrl+Shift+Z will be the redo command when, it seems to me that, at least in Windows, Ctrl+Y is pretty much the industry standard for redo.

Subject: Keyboard assignment feedback.

Please make keystrokes for moving up and down between segments parallel.  Right now the Enter key moves down.  Alt+Up is planned for moving back to the previous segment, but not yet implemented.  Perhaps parallel keystrokes could be added for both of these commands as currently implemented.  
UP = Alt+up.

DOWN = Alt+Down.

AND, at the same time.

DOWN = Enter

UP = Alt Enter.

For people like me who are going to navigate up and down a lot when it finally becomes possible to do so, it will drive me crazy remembering that Enter is down but Alt+Up is up.

So while I was away posting the last message, my editing session timed out.  So I clicked on clicked on "Try to resume work"  but got message: Sorry, could not restart your session."  

Useful trick (garnered from PCF Support's reply to a ticket):

When the new editor is used for translating, the alignment between the original subtitles and their corresponding translation boxes notably improves if you collapse the top  "Title" and "Description" entries (via the small triangles on their left).

Also, if you hide the timeline while you are translating, you'll be able to see more subtitles.


Subject: Keystroke for deleting a segment.

Happy to see that my suggestion to implement Alt+Delete for deleting segments is going to be implemented. :-)

Am curious why Alt+i was decided on instead of Alt+Insert for inserting a new segment.  No Insert key on the Mac?  If that's the case then I concur with this choice.  Maybe a redundant addition of Alt+Insert for those on a PC would be a nice enhancement as it is so parallel to the idea of Alt+Delete.

Thanks for the indication, Janet.

I've tried it to edit, i.e. the Italian subtitles of "Open Source Philosophy". It's great to have both the dragging and pushing and the possibility to use the down arrow to position the start of a subtitle.

One detail, though: when I split the subtitle:

"0:19 - 0:24 Stavamo studiando la propagazione delle onde e io non capivo questo problema, questa singola equazione"


"0:19 - 0:21 Stavamo studiando la propagazione delle onde
0:21 - 0:24
e io non capivo questo problema, questa singola equazione",

the English text on the left and the Italian text on the right became unaligned. So I unlocked the English text, realigned it with the Italian and relocked it. However, after a few more edits further along, the two sets became unaligned again.

  • with the legacy editor, in order to split an overlong subtitle in a translation, we have to altogether give up viewing the original text, so the new editor is an improvement upon that anyway;
  • realigning both texts is not much of a bother. 

However, it would be nice if it could be fixed, because some people/teams strictly go by the first of the  Amara Style Guidelines (linked in the new editor):
"Subtitle line length: Keep subtitle length to about 42 characters; avoid more than 2 lines per subtitle".
And often, even if the original subtitles go by this rule, a translated sub takes more characters, and hence has to be split.

Other instance where this might become an issue: videos that have several onscreen texts, e.g. interview questions, as those in the videos of the Listen to Me project of the PBS Newshour team. If these onscreen texts are not repeated in the original subtitles, new subtitles have to be added for them in the translations.


Other thing, re  subtitles marked complete/incomplete: in the legacy editor, when we saved and exited, we got asked to indicate if the subtitles were complete or not. Not so in the new editor, where the marking as complete seems to depend on clicking "Complete" in the "roadmap" on the right.

So as I didn't click Complete, my revision 10 was marked "incomplete". But maybe because revision 9 had been marked complete, although the "Translate title and description" stage hadn't been done, I was unable to translate them in Italian.

I seem to remember that you or Margarita once suggested making a resource page to explain what this complete/incomplete marking entailed, beyond changing the color of the dot. That would be great: the resource about connecting a YouTube channel to Amara already says that such a connection is made, subtitle revisions marked complete get automatically pushed to the original YouTube video. But apart from that?


Hello everyone, a little suggestion here

When multiple people works together, or when somebody updates captions that have been added long ago, or simply if someone is working alone on a very long video and it takes a lot of time to complete ; It then would be very very nice to get the abilty to add a fourth step when adding/editing subtitles, and this is to add a "Revision description".

Thus people could tell things such as :
- Created <language> subtitles ; v 0.1

- <language> subtitles work continued ; v 0.2

- Completed and published <language> subtitles ; v 1.0

- Improved syncing on <language> subtitles ; v 1.1

- Improved grammar and orthograph to <language> subtitles ; Removed some irrelevants captions ; v 1.2

These are only examples, and by working on a subtitle and wanting to save our work, we could have a checkbox to tell whether we did a minor/major revision to automatize the versionning

If it exists, my bad but I haven't found this option


Hi, this is a really good suggestion, and we are actually working on a feature where you can do just that.  You'll be able to add notes into the editor as you are working on it that you our future editors will be able to see.

What wizzardry is necessary to start the legacy editor in translation mode when a new translation is started?

Unfortunately when I neet to start a new translation this so-called new editor is started. When clicking on "Legacy Editor" right after that the old editor is started in transcribing mode and the subs in the original language are not displayed. Please fix this! Otherwise I won't be able to work for amara anymore as translating with this "new editor" ist just impossible. I'm not going to waste any time with fiddling around just to keep the original text and the translation next to each other.

The current amara style guide still mentions the posibility of using the <i> command for italics in subs. I worked on a tutorial video the other day where this markup in the subs would have been very helpful to point out menu items in a specific software. Neither the new nor the Legacy editor unfortunately display text in italics anymore. A couple of months ago I used all possible markups in the Legacy editor without any problem. Why has this been changed?

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