“RIP translators”: Crunchyroll’s Decision to Try a Hand in AI Generated Subtitles has Fans Rioting Over Comprising Quality

Crunchyroll aims to integrate AI more into its structure, starting with generating subtitles.

“RIP translators”: Crunchyroll’s Decision to Try a Hand in AI Generated Subtitles has Fans Rioting Over Comprising Quality

SUMMARY

  • Crunchyroll CEO reveals interest in resorting to AI for creating subtitles at a quicker pace.
  • CEO Rahul Purini claims it will allow them to provide the most authentic experience to fans.
  • However, fans aren't sold on this idea, as they cried foul against the industry's growing shift towards AI.
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One of the major talking points in the Hollywood strike last year involved AI. Following its rapid growth, writers and actors feared studio execs might use AI to replace human involvement to cut costs. And with Crunchyroll CEO’s new statements pointing in that direction, fans haven’t backed away from showcasing their dismay towards this practice.

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Instead of relying on dubs for animes, most fans usually prefer watching them with subtitles in order to get the closest experience to the original Japanese release possible. And while for years, professional translators were given the job of creating subtitles that don’t lose the essence of the original, it seems, the studios are aiming to replace these professionals with AI.

rahul purini
Rahul Purini – Crunchyroll CEO

Crunchyroll Is Looking to Integrate AI Into Its Structure to Create Subtitles

Crunchyroll, known for distributing and licensing anime, is aiming to integrate AI more into its structure to create subtitles at a rapid pace according to CEO Rahul Purini. In an hour-long interview with The Verge, Purini explained they want to make Crunchyroll a more viable option for anime enthusiasts. While they’re looking to incorporate AI more into their workflow in the future, as of now, they are testing AI to create subtitles to provide fans with the most authentic experience possible.

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Crunchyroll

“A.I. is definitely something we think about at a lot of different workflows in the organization. Right now, one of the areas we’re very focused on testing is subtitling and our closed captioning where we go from speech to text. ‘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 that we’re focused on.”

Reasonably, the direction Crunchyroll is heading caused a lot of fans to cry foul, especially after experiencing the low-quality subtitles in The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons‘ debut episode last year.

The Yuzuki Family's Four Sons
The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons

Furious Fans Shared Their Dismay With Crunchyroll

Debuting last year on the platform, The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons was criticized for its low-quality subtitles, as apart from being awkward, it was also nonsensical at times. Crunchyroll eventually took it down, and fans doubted that the subpar quality of its subtitles was a result of AI. And with the Crunchyroll CEO officially stating that they’re looking to go in that direction, fans are less than thrilled about it. Not only did fans share concerns over translators potentially losing jobs, but some are convinced nuance in language is best captured by humans, rather than AI.

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Crunchyroll

While many are furious about the seeming direction the industry is taking, unfortunately, this might be not the last time we will hear about studio execs replacing humans with AI.

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Written by Santanu Roy

Articles Published: 1368

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with The Everly Brothers, Billy Joel, and The Platters. Having expertise in everything related to Batman, Santanu spends most of his time watching and learning films, with Martin Scorsese and Park Chan-wook being his personal favorites. Apart from pursuing a degree in animation, he also possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a writer at Fandomwire with over 1000 articles.