Photo shows a man wearing headphones and working on a laptop.
Photo shows a man wearing headphones and working on a laptop.
HLT, AI & Automization

plain X: A Top-Notch, AI-Powered Content Adaptation Platform

DW Innovation and Priberam have developed an innovative AI platform for teams dealing with the adaptation of large volumes of audio and video content: plain X. Over the past year, the software has been refined for internal use by DW journalists – and is now available for any user or team in need of a productivity boost.

Language translation has come a long way, and with the latest generation of AI tools, the quality of translations is almost perfect. However, to make AI platforms truly productive, two crucial elements must be combined – efficient workflows and a "human in the loop."

plain X is an ideal solution for multi-language adaptation, as it combines AI, optimized workflows, and human expertise to deliver unparalleled results. It enables teams to easily upload video or audio, generate speech-to-text transcripts, choose from multiple language engines, edit transcripts for quality, generate high-quality translations, place subtitles on videos, and create synthetic voice-overs. In addition, plain X makes handling high workloads a lot easier, as it provides a tidy status overview of all the files a team is currently working on.

How does it work?

After logging on to plain X, users can upload a video or audio file and either upload a transcript (if there is one) or generate a transcript using speech-to-text technology.

The platform offers a choice of language engines – including DeepL, Google AI, Meta AI, Microsoft Azure AI, and OpenAI's Whisper – and users can test which one works best for their specific needs. The transcript can then be checked for quality and corrected using the built-in plain X editor.

The translation feature uses different engines based on the desired language pair. This means it's possible to compare results of one language engine with another and to find the best solution available for a given translation task.

The subtitles are automatically generated and placed on the video. Users can define templates for placement.

The synthetic voice-over feature offers a wide range of high-quality voices. Users can edit the voice-over's pitch, pronunciation, pauses, and other optimizations to achieve a natural speech.

Who is it for?

plain X is ideal for teams who struggle with big workloads in content adaptation processes; this is where the platform can save users a lot of time.

Image shows a screenshot of the plain X transcription editor.
The plain X transcription editor.

At DW, plain X has helped speed up translation tasks by 30%, subtitling tasks by 70%, and transcription tasks by a whopping 100%. plain x ensures a big productivity leap due to its fully integrated workflows: A fast and good transcription provides the basis for a fast and good translation, which then makes creating subtitles a piece of cake.

Companies that will see direct benefits include: broadcasters and similar organizations publishing in several languages, news agencies with demand for fast transcription of audio or video recordings, and other media companies handling big projects with many files that need localization. In all these cases, it's possible to embrace the full workflow – or use just one of the modular functionalities, i.e. speech-to-text, translation, and subtitle output. plain X can automate everything, but always allows for human supervision.

plain X development history

The development of plain X took several years of research and development and was made possible by a close partnership with Lisbon-based tech company Priberam. In 2021 and 2022, the platform was thoroughly tested and refined by DW journalists and has since become a valuable tool for content adaptation in the broadcaster's daily workflows.

Image shows the official plain X logo.
The platform's official logo.

DW and Priberam plan on expanding the software's scope and use cases in the near future. As of 2023, plain X is available to all media organizations and companies in the field of content adaptation and translation.

plain X key benefits

To summarize, plain X is an almost revolutionary content adaptation platform that is based on the latest in AI and cloud technology and offers a unique solution for teams handling high volumes of AV content. With its intuitive interface and customizable features, it makes task automation, project management and collaboration an absolutely smooth experience.

Six really strong arguments for using plain X:

  • Human-machine tandem: Automate repetitive tasks (e.g. transcript generation) and free up resources to focus on higher-value work (e.g. better storytelling)

  • Plenty of choice: Access multiple state-of-the-art AI engines in one tool

  • Smooth project management: work in the cloud; upload files, assign tasks, track progress and communicate – anywhere and on a single platform

  • Versatile output: Create translations and subtitles in multiple formats.

  • Economy of time: Get things done in a lot faster than with traditional tools and workflows

  • Better accessibility: Use freed resources to make your content barrier-free and open to basically everyone (subtitles or voice-overs by default and beyond a lingua franca)

Would you like to test plain X?

If you're interested in taking our platform for a spin, head over to the plain X website and register for a free seven-day-trial: full access, all features, no credit cards, no tricks, no mandatory cancellation.

You can also directly get in touch with Mirko Lorenz.

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