Preview of Amara Team Dashboard


We are planning to roll out a new dashboard that will make it easier for users to find new videos to help with and know where their skills are needed, and we’d like to welcome you to try them out.

Please feel free to join the volunteer team on our staging server and try out our new dashboard:

The dashboard is still in development, and even after the initial release, it will continue to get improved, so please let us know what you think!

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Hi Jules,

Thanks to you and the Amara developers for setting up this preview of the dashboard and letting us play around with it. Some first rough impressions:

Announce the preview on top of Amara pages?

This might bring more volunteers: this help forum is not very much used, and then, the "Updates and News" board is a relatively new one, which is kind of "below the centerfold" (i.e. you have to scroll to see it).


Preview team v the real team: members seems to have imported the whole content of - including member profiles. So maybe Amara could/should message all of them about their automatic enrollment in the preview team: some might even wish to actually participate.


Preview team v the real team: new subs

It would be nice if new subs - either in a wholly new set or completing an existing set - made in the preview could be easily transfered to the real team.

Actually, when I translated a few subs into French for the "Life In Prison: A Project Envision Documentary" video yesterday, I bungled and did them first in the real subs

But when I tried to transfer them by upload to the preview version, the widget refused, claiming there already was a set of French subs. Actually there already are two - one translated from the English subs and one translated directly from the video - in both the preview and the real version.

Anyway, I just copy-pasted what I'd done in the real version, into the Preview version. But it'd be nice if there were a simpler way to update the other version when one is modified.


Permission settings

The preview team - and the real team - list 2 tasks, yet none was created when I added these few French subs. How come? Are they leftovers from when Amara imposed workflowed tasks on teams that didn't want them in June, then withdrew the imposition at the beginning of July?

Once more: please make team settings, in particular permission settings, viewable by all.


Dashboard v video list

In present Amara teams, there are 2 URLs for the video list: and and no dashboard page.
In the preview, the .../teamname URL is used for the new dashboard and the video list is only at .../teamname/videos . As the dashboard is very similar to the video list presently, this is a bit confusing. What about doing the contrary: i.e. keeping .../teamname/ and .../teamname/videos for the video list and having  a .../teamname/videos/dashboard URL for the dashboard?

Dashboard itself

Maybe the video thumbnails could be removed from the dashboard: if it were only textual, the difference with the video list would be clearer.

And a link to a documentation page explaining its purpose and workings would be useful.

E.g. I fail to understand why, when I click the "Add a new translation" buttons, the dialogs that pop up overwhelmingly suggest I translate the subs into other languages than French, in spite of my having indicated French as my preferred language in my profile. Oddest instance: Life In Prison: A Project Envision Documentary where the dialog suggests I should translate the incomplete German subs into Greek, when - apart from Greek not being my "preferred language" for translating into - there is a complete set of original English subs

Sure, these suggestions can be modified by using the droplists. But wouldn't it be more efficient to just add a "without [languages drop list] subtitles" in the "Filter and sort" feature of the video list?


Users' languages

And then, maybe the dashboard suggestions would be more to the point if users could describe their language competences more precisely, as in the Wikipedia:Babel feature of Wikipedia profiles:


enThis user is able to contribute with a native level of English.
en-5This user is able to contribute with a professional level of English.
en-4This user is able to contribute with a near-native level of English.
en-3This user is able to contribute with an advanced level of English.
en-2This user is able to contribute with an intermediate level of English.
en-1This user is able to contribute with a basic level of English.
en-0This user does not understand English (or understands it with considerable difficulty).


This way, the dashboard software could be programmed to only suggest translating into languages for which the user has indicated a competence level of 4 (near native) or above, and from languages in which s/he declares at least a competence level of 2 (intermediate).

(now let's see what happens with the above table when I save)



Hi Claude, 

Thank you for your feedback, it's been passed on to the Developers!

Just to clarify, the staging environment is only for showing and testing:  none of the content will be brought into the "live" site (production) and it should not be used to do work that should go on the actual site!

Treat the volunteer team on staging as completely independent from the one on the live website, it was just more convenient to send all of you to a team with existing videos and enough translations to play with than to start one from scratch. 

Tasks are created either by clicking on "add task" or by adding in a new video.  Currently for this team, tasks are created automatically when you add a video to the team, but this team does not have review and approval tasks: only transcribe and translate tasks. So when adding a translation language, no tasks will get created.  Later on we might change these settings to continue testing differently.

We will certainly have information on the new dashboard in the Solutions area when it goes live, describing the different features and actions.  Let me know if you'd like to help draft it out!

Thanks for the explanations, Jules. So OK, if we do any useful subtitling in the staging version, it's up to us to transfer it to the corresponding video on the actual site. So in case of already in progress subs there, it's better to download the staging subs as .txt, as they'll be easier to copypaste.

Re  changing the settings to impose workflowed tasks later on, it would really be great if the settings were viewable by all, otherwise people will wonder what on earth is going on, as when the "no workflow" settings were overridden by Amara last June.

Of course, I'd like to participate in  drafting the documentation about the new dashboard: this way maybe I'll understand how it works ;-) Half joking: I'm still puzzled by the software wanting me to translate the subs of an English video from incomplete German ones into Greek.

And I forgot one thing: it's really useful to be able to see other members' subtitling activity in their profiles: this way, when you are looking for someone to collaborate on a given set of subs, you can see what kind of videos they are interested in.
Will that only be for team members, or for all Amara members?
Hi Claude:

Your member profile on Staging has Greek listed: even though French is preferred, the system will still recommend tasks in other languages on your list: that could be why it shows and suggests those languages, specially if there are already subtitles for all the rest of your languages listed:

Claude Almansi English Italian German Greek Spanish French

 The profile view is also available outside teams: every person will have the activity list!
Hi Jules,

Thanks for your explanation about the languages suggested by the dashboard. But this is precisely the reason why I suggested a more accurate language description in users' profiles, on the Wikipedia model.
I've now checked my dashboard suggestions in the staging version of Global Voices. For the first 10:
  1. : video in Portuguese: subtitle in English from Portuguese
    - even though a) there are no subs in French, my main language, and b) Portuguese is not listed in my languages (in the Wikipedia classification I'd list it as PT 0 or probably not at all)
  2. : video in Spanish: subtitle in French from Spanish - usable suggestion.
  3. : video in Spanish, Argentinian: subtitle in German from English
    - even though a) there are no subs in French, my main language, and b) I can translate from Spanish.
  4. : create subtitles in English and set the language for the video
    - as Spanish, Columbia is not an Amara language, suggesting that someone whose first language is French decide which Amara-covered variant of Spanish to set for the video is a bad idea. Then why create subs in English? Why does the video appear on the 1st page of my dashboard
    : video in Spanish: subtitle in French from Spanish - usable suggestion.
  6. : video in Spanish: subtitle in French from English
    - as there are no Spanish subs yet, usable suggestion.
  7. : video in Portuguese, Brazilian: subtitle in French from English
    - as there are no Portuguese, Brazilian subs yet, usable suggestion.
  8. : video "in English" : create subtitles into French
    - actually, the video is in Spanish, presumably Bolivian, and there are full subtitles in Spanish, Mexican (probably the closest Amara-covered option) and in English, but the software banged a Draft only banner (without corresponding task) on them, prevented their editing, their showing in the player, and their being read by non team members.
  9. : video in Spanish, subtitle in German from Spanish
    - as there are already complete subs in Spanish, English and French, the suggestion is less absurd than other ones. Nevertheless, the software should only suggest that people translate in their main language.
  10. : video in Spanish, create subtitles in French. Actually, there are English subtitles in progress, but with a Draft only banner (see 8)

A proportion of 4 usable suggestions out of 10 does not justify this Dashboard feature. Especially not if its implementation in the main team page entailed the scrapping of the project pages of the /p/ subdirectory, which now is identical to the list of videos, in teams that have projects: see Teams: project descriptions don't show anymore, comment dated Sun, Nov 25 at 12:28 AM.

Alternative to the Dashboard: in the team's video list, present the videos with a droplist of existing subtitles  and their percentage of completion for each, as in the Watch Subtitled Videos page.

This way, users would decide themselves whether to collaborate to an in-progress set of subs or start a new one, according to the languages they know, whether they have indicated them in their profile or not. And developers wouldn't have to further complicate the lace-work of ifs that presently generates the Dashboard suggestions to make them more accurate.

They'd just have to check that this droplist is usable by blind people with a screen reader: the Fangs screen reader emulator doesn't seem to recognize the down arrow left of the "Languages" entry that opens the droplist. But then they'd have  to do that for the Watch Subtitled Videos page anyway.
Hi Claude, 

I don't know what we'd do without you! Thank you so much for your feedback.

The new dashboard is geared towards newer users... as users get more experience in Amara they learn of different ways to find translation or transcription work through the video and tasks areas (and the more advanced filtering).

For the more advanced users, The task system will also get a facelift in the coming months: We're going to be improving the collaboration model soon, which will enable us to do some of what you're suggesting about finding things in-progress or taking new projects.   

Have you taken a look at the user profile area in staging yet? What are your thoughts on how work history is showing up? 
Thanks for your thanks, Jules, but my experimenting with the new dashboard is self-serving: I'm admin at two - admittedly small - teams. So I'm experimenting lest we all get caught unawares, as when Amara imposed workflows on non-workflowed teams last June.

So re:
The new dashboard is geared towards newer users... as users get more experience in Amara they learn of different ways to find translation or transcription work through the video and tasks areas (and the more advanced filtering).
I didn't mean filters that need twiddling, but the droplists next to the number of languages for a video. They don't only appear beneath the videos in in the Watch Subtitled Videos page, but also on the Amara home page, which is the first thing someone new to Amara encounters.

These droplists give factual info, valid for everyone, and their use is self-evident: you click an in progress language, you get taken to the corresponding subtitling page. You see that a language you can subtitle in doesn't have subtitles yet, you go to the main page of the video and start some.
So having these droplists on teams video pages shouldn't be too much of a cognitive hurdle.

With the dashboard scenario:  imagine someone who has recently started participating in a team, and is used to have the video list on the team's main page. Instead, that main page has become the dashboard, but s/he might miss that, because it also has a list of videos that roughly looks like the former one, but doesn't show the same videos (1). Perplexing.

OK, there's also the dashboard's initial message:
"In the section below, look for a video that interests you. Beneath the video you'll see what we need help with. Click and you're on your way! "
however,  it doesn't indicate that these videos are a selection made according to his/her profile languages.

But admitting s/he understands that: s/he clicks on an indication below a video, and gets asked to translate a video from an incomplete set of subs into another language that's not his/her first one. Baffling. And if this incongruence with what s/he can actually do happens with 3-4 more suggestions s/he tries (and it could happen), it becomes definitely off-putting.

For the more advanced users, The task system will also get a facelift in the coming months: We're going to be improving the collaboration model soon, which will enable us to do some of what you're suggesting about finding things in-progress or taking new projects.   
I'm looking forward to seeing that, but hope that it will remain possible NOT to have tasks in a team. Otherwise Music Captioning and Captions Requested will have to close, because the videos they use don't belong to them, they are just added to them. So these two teams can't have tasks  slapped onto these videos, because that would hamper their subtitling by others.

Have you taken a look at the user profile area in staging yet? What are your thoughts on how work history is showing up?

Great - as I wrote here on Nov 20 at 5:14 PM  ;-)

The new dashboard may be puzzling, baffling, even off-putting, but it's also almost humanly touchy and tenacious. Remember that Life In Prison: A Project Envision Documentary  it wanted me to make Greek subs for from incomplete German ones? (otherwise, see my Nov 19 comment).

Well, I had dared ignore its wish, adding a few lines to the French - translated from English - subs instead.  And this morning, when I revisited it to see how it looked that way (no diff), and clicked again the link under that video, again, it asked me to do Greek subs from incomplete German ones, but it also resentfully added:
"The French subtitles you selected were translated from English. If you're translating into French from German, you'll need to start from scratch."
(see attached screenshot)

Dashboard Knows Best, kind of.
I've revisited the dashboard of the Volunteer team on the staging platform. Droplists have been added, but not the ones like on the Watch page of the normal Amara, which tell you what subs are done or in progress, and let you decide whether to start a new set or complete an in progress one,  according to the languages you know, as I suggested.

No, the droplists now added to the videos in the dashboard only list languages from those I've indicated AND for which there are no subtitles at all.

Example: the dashboard now lists nothing for  Life In Prison: A Project Envision Documentary.  Were I new to Amara teams, I'd deduct that someone else has completed the French subs I've been collaborating to. Wrong. They are still incomplete. The only good thing is that the dashboard has given up making me translate subtitles from German (incomplete) into Greek.

So again, can we please have, for teams,  a video page with a droplist for each video like the one on the normal Amara Watch page. See  the droplist for Mozilla Story 2012 on that page:

14 languages
100% English
100% French
19% Italian
100% Chinese Traditional
100% Portuguese, Brazilian
100% Romanian
-> View all

I'm also attaching a screenshot because I just noticed that even in that normal Amara Watch page, there's already some uncalled-for customization based on the languages I have indicated in my profile: the list is different when I'm logged out and even then, it varies according to the language of the browser I'm using.

But such droplists -  provided  Amara developers eliminate that confusing customization - would be perfectly clear in teams' video pages: if a language you can subtitle in is  100% complete, you skip it. If it is less than 100% complete,  you can collaborate to its  subs. If it isn't mentioned, you can start subs for it.

Summarizing: no amount of twiddling data about users' languages with the software can come near in accuracy to what users themselves know they can do in the languages they know. So please stop trying to do that. Just inform us factually about the language situation of existing subs.
Moreover, I just noticed that the present droplists in the dashboard, meant to indicate tasks in the languages I know, are at times inaccurate: for instance, for Basic Trigonometry II, the droplist says:
5 languages needed:
Create Italian Subtitles
Create German Subtitles
Create Greek Subtitles
Create Spanish Subtitles
Create French Subtitles
In spite of the fact that French, Italian and Spanish subs have been 89-90% complete for at least 11 months.

And the dashboard suggestions for Life In Prison: A Project Envision Documentaryhave changed again since my last reply a few hours ago, when there were none: now they are:
4 languages needed:
Create Italian Subtitles
Create German Subtitles
Create Greek Subtitles
Create French Subtitles
in spite of the fact that there are already subtitles in progress for  Italian, German (2 sets) and French (2 sets)
The same obtains for all videos with "N languages needed:" suggestions, except Leopards Mate In A Tree (HD), where the 4 "Create Subtitles" indications do correspond to languages that don't have subs yet.

Moreover, the accessibility issues for people reading to the dashboard with a screen reader seem to still remain.
So now you have enacted the kind of moderation in the Volunteer team of the preview that blocks subtitling, prevents non members from seeing subtitles in progress, yet does not create tasks one could grab to continue working.

The only 2 tasks of the team are the ones left over from Amara's imposition of workflowed tasks last June. They also happen to be the only two "help requested" suggestions I now see on the team's dashboard: to wit, Translate subtitles for and Yet on the left, "Your tasks" says 0

As I'm not interested in these two videos, I started French subs for  the video added by Darren Bridenbeck, When I did save and exit, editing these French subs got blocked and a banner saying "Draft only Subtitles translated from English. Showing Revision 0, created Today by Claude Almansi . " was added on them, but no task was created that I could grab to continue work. Same for the allegedly Portuguese subtitles, which only repeat "Test Portuguese translation", where the banner says: "Draft only Subtitles translated from English. Showing Revision 0, created Today by darrentester . "

However, I could actually continue editing the French and Portuguese subs by using the drop menu under the player in the main page for the video. Not via "Improve these subtitles", because neither French nor Portuguese are mentioned as existing subs, but via "Add a new translation", where Portuguese and French work (aren't grayed). But having to use "Add a new translation" to continue work on an existing one is daft, isn't it?

But there's a further twist: after that, I continued the French subs for Life In Prison: A Project Envision Documentary(see my former replies to this thread). With these French subs, doing Save and Exit did not block - for me at least - working on them. However, when non team members - and perhaps other team members - view these French subs, they only see the message:
This language contains subtitles that are still waiting to be moderated. Check back later.
In other words: this is a repeat of the unholy confusion created in June by Amara's imposition of moderation on "no workflow" teams. Back then, I removed all the videos I had added to the Music Captioning team, because they had been put online by others, and I demoted myself from admin to participant, because I refused to be answerable for the paralyzing of the other videos that had been added to the team by others. 

So pretty please: DON'T impose that chaos on the real Amara teams again.
Hello Claude,

This change is likely the result of testing and work being done on the staging servers today. Please keep in mind that staging servers are experimental areas and as such, are less stable than the public environment.
Silver lining: Amara didn't impose this moderation chaos on all teams of the staging version, this time. I was able to replace the "place-holder"  English subtitles for Adele 'Rolling In The Deep' (21 Album Version), made by "maggie_s" (Revision 0) with real ones (present Revision 1), and to start French subtitles for it.
The only casualty was the deletion of the "Arabic" subtitling made by "maggie_s": no link for themin the left column, but there is one - Arabic subtitles - in the Activity subpage of the video. Though that's the usual glitch present in normal Amara too, it really should be eliminated.
But re the chaos created by the enacted moderation in the staging Amara's Volunteer team: this really shows how important it is to warn team admins of the messes they might create by restricting what people can do via the settings/permissions page. 
Or maybe it would be even safer not to let admins impose such restrictions. Yeah I know, TED does so successfully  in their team. But there are still members of the TED team who come to this help forum, baffled by the effects of these restrictions. And how many team admins are as competent as the TED team's?
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