What would it be like to watch any videos on the web with subtitles? No matter the format or the host of the content?
Even better - what if there were a universal protocol for websites, browsers, and browser extensions to follow, and a way for your browser to match up subtitles to whatever you're watching?
And... if you wanted to get involved in subtitling, or give your input, what if there was a website full of collaborative tools for you to utilize?
Take a look at the Universal Subtitles project. The project, whose primary motivator is accessibility, is being sponsored by the Participatory Culture Foundation, which is "work[ing] to build a fairer, more open, and more democratic media space," and it has seed money from the Mozilla Foundation. If that sounds familiar, they're the people behind the Firefox browser, the Thunderbird email client and other open source initiatives.
Universal Subtitles is composed of three parts: a user-friendly interface to add captions to videos on the web, a protocol that will allow browsers and other clients to access quality subtitles to pull from, and a collaborative website that will allow people to form projects, recruit people, track projects and more.
I just heard about this project today from SignCasts. They need about $25,000 to get things moving along, and Mozilla is matching donations dollar for dollar. This sounds like a great cause - and it could turn into something wonderful for everybody.