Crunchyroll President Says “AI is definitely something that we think about,” Including for Subtitles

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Technology site The Verge recently spoke to Crunchyroll president Rahul Purini in a lengthy, wide-ranging interview for its Decoder show. Towards the end of the conversation, Purini mentioned the company’s considerations towards AI and said that subtitling was “one of the areas” where testing was being done.

“AI is definitely something that we think about at a lot of different workflows within the organization,” Purini said. “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.”

The answer was in response to The Verge’s Nick Statt asking whether Crunchyroll was “thinking about” technologies like “potentially AI” for subtitling and dubbing. Right before that, the two were speaking about the Crunchyroll service that attracted paying the customers the best, with Purini answering “streaming and early access to shows from Japan with subtitles and dubs.”

“So that is, I think, the biggest thing,” said Purini. “The sooner we can provide them, the easier we make it available to them — both in however they want to watch it, whatever subtitle languages are dubbed — has been the single biggest driver for converting people over. Because pirate sites do provide that content as soon as possible, but then most of the time it is in a handful of languages, maybe not the language they want. Sometimes they don’t have the dubs. So if we can do that consistently and as fast as we can, I think that’s the biggest opportunity we have.”

Purini doesn’t think that AI is good enough for dubbing work yet, but revealed that Crunchyroll is “playing in other areas like personalization and discovery and how we can use generative AI in making that a better experience for our users.”

Earlier in the interview, Purini told Statt that Crunchyroll’s localization side was among the company’s biggest teams “because we are not only just taking this content with the Japanese audio and subtitling it into 10-plus languages, we are also dubbing it into 10-plus languages. And so we have teams that are focused on localizing, and we do that in-house for most of our territories.”

Last October, Crunchyroll received flak for the subtitling quality of The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons‘ first episode, with some accusing the streaming platform of using machine translation. The situation was bad enough that Crunchyroll told Anime News Network that it was working with the anime’s licensor “for updated subtitles” and later reuploaded the episode with new subtitles.

Source: The Verge

Anime Trending News Writer who writes about all sorts of things, including upcoming anime series and movies, anime-related video games, animated music videos, manga and light novels, VTubers, and anime collaborations. Once in a while, he'll put out a review too. Every anime season, Melvyn looks forward to discovering new standout episodes and OP/ED animation sequences. Some of his free time is spent self-learning Japanese.
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