Otaku USA Magazine
Crunchyroll Expresses Interest in Using AI Instead of People for Subtitling and More

Crunchyroll is making waves in the anime industry over its decision not to let digital copies people bought on Funimation transfer over, and The Verge recently wrote an article on how difficult its writer found getting any kind of help from Crunchyroll. Now another controversy is rising because Crunchyroll President Rahul Purini expressed interest in using generative AI.

Purini said in a recent interview, “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.”

Piracy is a major issue anime faces, and Purini seems to think that AI can be used to help the problem.

Purini also said that AI wasn’t being used for dubbing, but gave the impression this might change in the future, saying, “We don’t find the technology to be there yet . . .”

Many anime fans have protested online, with disagreements ranging from the ability of AI to properly translate the nuances of Japanese, to concerns of people losing jobs. Some fans have unsubscribed or threatened to if AI is used. Parade Magazine, in covering the topic, noted, “Many [fans] also pointed to recent price increases for the service, asking why Crunchyroll would be asking for more money if it was planning on paying fewer people to deliver a worse service.”

Crunchyroll got in some trouble last year for a poor subtitling job in The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons. While it was not confirmed that the subtitling was done by AI, there is a general assumption this was likely the case.

Source: The Verge


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.