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Crunchyroll President Reacts to Controversy Over Proposed AI Subtitling

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Rahul Purini, the president of Crunchyroll, mentioned in a recent interview that the company was experimenting with using AI for subtitles. This got a generally negative response from many anime fans, with their main contentions being that AI cannot properly translate Japanese with its subtleties, and that AI would take jobs away from people.

Purini responded to these controversies while talking with Polygon, remarking, “AI is new, we are curious to see what it can do, what it cannot do, to understand it better. Quality is of paramount importance for us, and if we find out the technology is not to the level that it can create the best subtitles we want for our fans, then we will wait until the technology gets there. And if it never gets there, then it never gets there.”

The part about people potentially losing jobs was not brought up.

Crunchyroll COO Gita Rebbapragada also said some things about the controversy, commenting, “We hear all of those concerns. The two things we are solving for are: We want to provide a meaningful viable alternative to piracy [and] we want to share in success with the creators and our partners. When the content is pirated, we are unable to share in that success with them and that is something that’s very important to us.”

Piracy is a major issue facing the anime world, and Purini said using AI could get anime released faster to audiences.

The fact that Funimation’s digital copies aren’t transferring to Crunchyroll is another bone of contention with many fans. A recent The Verge article followed a Funimation subscriber trying to get help from Crunchyroll and not receiving it.

Purini talked about this as well, saying, “We are helping customers as they reach out to us on customer service. We are trying to make them whole. That could mean a discount to our subscription service, or it could mean giving them the value on a different service where they can get access to a digital copy.”

Have you had luck getting help from Crunchyroll if you have digital copies from Funimation?

Source: Polygon


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.