Speech to subtitles and translations: a streamlined process

I've translated quite a bit, just because I started a long time ago. Old age!

Over several years, I translated two thousand pages of Edward de Bono's educational material into Spanish. It used to be in edwdebono.com/spanish but I have no idea where it is now, or if it even exists. I did learned about the thinking tools. :shrug:

I only work very openly now. I've always done stuff so I might learn (from the very first page), and recently because it is just easier to translate and link than to tell 200 hundred friends one by one. Lazy! :-)

So, I may be missing something, but at least I've done some fluwiki texts, some open source ecology videos and texts, an akvo set of documents on "water day" (*link*), Hans Rosling's "200 countries x 200 years in 4 minutes" (more than 40 languages), and videos by Vinay Gupta (too many to mention, but see a recent what and how) and EdgeRyders. Also, one short piece about the scaffolding of imagination. Have I learned!

I've also translated some of my own videos, fooling around with mindmapping while I speak, and then translating that. It's a cool way to convey ideas, but I have yet to use that to my fullest, and for example do my own "complex systems" talk. (Give me some time, later in the year ... oops!)

I'll add links to all of this later, and of course you can just look at what Amara.org, TED.com and others are doing - but just let me tell you about the process itself:
  • Upload video to youtube. It does pay to have good sound, so use a good microphone close to the person speaking.
  • Use Google2SRT.sf.net to download automatic transcription. (Folks, we need an open tool for speech-to-text. Any links?)
  • Polish the transcription. You probably need to get rid of timestamps; I usually do, and there's some script in my hard-disk somewhere. For the actual text editting, if you work alone, use oTranscribe.com or Amara.org itself. If you work with other people, use Etherpad.org as in this animation.
  • Cut the transcription to 42 characters per line, as suggested by Amara. (I guess that advice comes from practice and is shared by other subtitle platforms such as *fill in name, was it dotsub or something like it?*).
  • Upload to amara and synchronise video and sound there.
  • Now, in Amara, you (and people you don't know!) can translate into whatever number of languages. (Did I say Rosling's has more than 40 languages? Yes I did. See above.)
You need to check at every stage, but it's not like you can break much, so just have fun while you learn and cooperate. Ah, a tip from my experience: do only the easy half, and never do the second half. It's too expensive, and others can do it so much better than you, so just ask for help!

Ok so, while we're at it, can you lend a hand with our current project, which is a talk by Vinay Gupta on leveraging BitCoin and other blockchain tools to, well, "do poverty"? The etherpad instance is http://piratepad.net/vinaygupta-bitcoin-2. Thanks!

PS: I'd also love to do New World Order but they may be doing it already, and differently. :-?


#WHP1: exploring a thinking tool

#WHP1 is Want, Have, Possibilities, 1st step. It can be a mindmap or a set of lists or a conversation. It's a thinking tool because it helps you focus on one aspect at a time, yet build a fuller picture. It's a loop if you make it so; I do.

(It's an action tool too. Not that neurons are different for thinking and acting. It's just that some neurons are connected to muscles. But I disgress. Anyway.)

Say our current focus/center is "a better room". Wants is experience, function, purpose: a place to hide, work, talk, cook, give to ourselves, or whatever. Haves is square meters, windows, existing furniture; but also some money, friends to ask advice from, and any other resources we can muster. Possibilities include making, buying, giving away, repositioning, and maybe even swapping rooms. First step is you select what you can do in 2-5 minutes, one afternoon, or a week. Give the whole round 3-10 minutes, or a few days. Then you go back to Wants, and see how it's now enriched.

Try it on a few examples, maybe working together with other people, or first round alone and then ask and listen. You now own the tool. It can stay in your toolbox, unused. Yours.

I've used #OODA, John Boyd's Observe, Orient, Decide, Act loop, which is good for objective, complex, extra-personal situations. I used it together with SCIM (Vinay Gupta's Simple Critical Infrastructure Maps) for severe pandemic influenza, because SCIM is great for "orientation" around Needs and Provision. It's linked from http://ResilienceMaps.org and, frankly, may we never ever need it. (But I'm glad I did my homework.)

OODA is different from WHP1. I wonder if parallel teams, sharing output, would give us some interesting insights. But in my experience any tool is often better than no tool... Even if, or particularly when, you find the tool doesn't cover the thinking you feel is needed for that particular situation. As in "hey, #WHP1 doesn't let me look at this-and-that".

That's probably why I wrote the "I'm not my phone" song, over at http://imacan.bandcamp.com/album/evolution, and the Acceptable Fairies Observation elsewhere in this blog. Because we stay limited in our thinking, no matter what we do: small photographic cameras, huge-moving-smelly landscape. But you already knew.

Anyway, I hope this helps somewhat. :shrug: :-)


The Excubator Project (20141119)

Hazmat suits for Ebola are safe if used well, but apparently quite inconvenient: time-consuming, hot, not always available, etc.

So I thought of an inverse incubator: a box with gloves sticking out.

Some other elements emerged quickly: a window, a back-door, handles to move the box to the bedside, maybe an apron-pocket for supplies, and of course some protection for the feet, and quite possibly an air filter.

Friends suggested wheels, a spiral slide for supplies, a cylindric shape, or turning it into a wall screwed to the side of the bed.

So here's one of the first images of the thing, posted on twitter;

I asked for a refrigerator box, and found I could move it around and cut windows in it. Here's the very first video:

I felt slightly silly, but not enough to stop me, when I asked for barbie dolls to make a 1/6 scale prototype, and later when I placed the (8 minute) video on the internet:

Another refrigerator box, which I took to the local hackerspace, and there a friend grabbed the cutter and showed me what they mean by "fast prototyping". In less than two hours, we had this (1 minute) video:


(Yes: it looks like we've found a way to increase visibility and motion range. I thought it for the face. Sergio did it for the whole upper body. It seems to work!)

We still need to do proper sleeves and gloves, protect the bottom, add an air filter at the top. And we will. Shortly.

But I feel it's mature enough to take some heat from the internet:
  • What's wrong and what can be improved?
  • Who has the expertise we evidently lack?
  • Should we just kill the project, as it's obviously worthless and even potentially harmful if people think it's safe and it isn't?
Even if this particular idea doesn't work, the problem is still the same:

WHO tells us "High-quality supportive care is thought to have contributed to the larger number of survivors. However, two limitations compromised the quality of bedside care: staff were too few in number; and the duration of time spent providing care at the bedside was too little, due to dehydration and over-heating of clinicians wearing personal protective equipment."

Could the excubator - or something better - help? What next?

FWIW, in parallel with the prototype, I've drafted two wikipages over at appropedia:


Questions about climate change

Yesternight I listened to a very basic talk by a climate expert, one who's been measuring and coordinating meetings and compiling the science and putting the information out there for all to see and for govts to act upon.
I asked "how many trees per person", and really sensed there was a reliance on government response. Our #OneHotPotato idea on twitter was dismissed as "nice" (it's intended to make people just smile).
Climate analogs should give us which trees. Huge distributed computer power, with global and local models, should give us the tree element of the equation. If it's 100 trees per person, I'd plan mine in a couple of months and move on to help others.
So, again: which trees and how many?


Some small changes

I've quit Twitter, at least for some time. A minor eyelid infection did the trick. After 10 days, I find my attention slowly fills up with things I'd half-forgotten.

It feels like lifting the needle of an old record player.

I'm digitising old tapes. Stuff I recorded using guitars when I was half my current age. Hours and hours of crappy sound, repetitions and some not-too-bad stuff. Some i-didn't-know-this-at-all stuff. Stuff I will soon be able to refer to with simple coordinates: t12m34s56 will be tape 12 and a specific moment within that (digitised) tape. After that's ready, I'll be able to access that memory, select some, build on it. And maybe I'll feel free to start new stuff too.

I may also do mindmaps on video. Mini-worldviews and mind-models and landscape-summaries. It's also about making content available. Nothing that will change the world, but I'll put it out there, and maybe become a child again. Maybe.

A cork in the Niagara falls. Such a fine feeling. Relaxed and, who knows, maybe a bit more ready for whatever comes next.

Will I think about emergency permaculture, learn stuff, build with my hands, create some music for the fun of it? Again, maybe.

Nothing big. Not soon, any way.


Understanding for change

This may be dangerous, but not going may be dangerous too, so here I go.

There's understanding systems, and there's changing them.

To understand a system, we'd need to know it's elements and the relationships between them; the levels, flows and delays; the units and numbers and how they relate to units and numbers we know; the feedback loops and the overall mode of behaviour, growth and failure; and maybe other things I don't know about.

To change a system (both to improve and protect it, and to guide it in the direction of becoming something else), we'd need to know its strengths and vulnerabilities; our strengths and vulnerabilities; our allies and counter-allies; and maybe other things I don't know about.

We could crowdsource the understanding part using some sort of wiki: ask the questions, look for the answers, link to the answers, make the pages known for others to double-or-triple check, tag the answers as (non-)checked, etc. If different models exist, then fork the page (maybe keeping most links).

Similarly, once sufficient understanding emerges, we might ant-ize the movement. Possible actions are wikified, each ant decides what's in our power to do, and we do it.

Imagine this for (renewable) energy.

Is this silly?