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Crunchyroll President Discusses Implementation Of AI In Subtitling And Dubbing Processes

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In a recent interview with The Verge, Crunchyroll President Rahul Purini shed light on the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in various workflows within the organization, particularly focusing on subtitling and closed captioning.

According to Purini, the area they are very focused right now is utilizing AI for subtitling and closed captioning. This technology would streamline the process of converting spoken Japanese dialogue into subtitles in various languages, allowing Crunchyroll to launch content internationally much closer to its Japanese release date.

AI is definitely something that we think about at a lot of different workflows within the organization. Right now, one of the areas we are very focused on testing is our subtitling and closed captioning, where we go from speech to text and how do we improve and optimize our processes where we can get the subtitles done in various languages across the world faster so that we can launch as close to the Japanese release as possible. So that’s definitely an area where we are focused on.

However, Purini expressed reservations about using AI for dubbing content at this stage. He explained that Crunchyroll’s dubs involve creative adaptation beyond direct translation, requiring teams to tailor humor and dialogues to suit specific regions, all while adhering to lip-syncing constraints.

While AI is not currently deemed suitable for this nuanced process, Purini acknowledged its potential in other areas like personalization and content discovery.

Dubbing, not so much yet for a couple of reasons. Our dubs tend to be adapted dubs, they’re not direct translations. So it’s a creative process. So we have teams that are focused on adapting the dubs to each region. Humor. We also have the thing that we have to dub and we can’t edit the animation itself, so we have to get the match to the lip sync correct. So it’s definitely something that we are playing with. We don’t find the technology to be there yet, but obviously we’re also playing in other areas like personalization and discovery and how we can use generative AI in making that a better experience for our users. So yeah, a lot of different areas across the organization we are testing AI.

Crunchyroll had previously received some backlash for using AI in subtitles for The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons. The subtitles were reportedly riddled with inaccuracies, grammatical errors, and nonsensical phrasing, leading to complaints and frustration from viewers.

The use of AI in subtitling and closed captioning has sparked concerns within the anime community, not only regarding quality but also about its potential impact on human employment. Some viewers worry that widespread adoption of AI could lead to job losses for translators and captioners, as automated systems become more efficient and cost-effective.

Source: The Verge

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