How To Use AI To Save Lions, In Afrikaans

How To Use AI To Save Lions, In Afrikaans

Table Of Contents

As part of our process for testing the platform prior to go live, one of the things we look to do is test a large number of different languages. Part of it is good fun, the other objective is to try to change things around to see if we can break the platform and find bugs.

Realistically, this means looking for cool videos, and then trying things out with the videos. As an added bonus, we can reach out to the people who made the original video, and normally, people are only too happy for us to experiment with their content.

Today, we look at this video from the Kevin Richardson Foundation, starring Bongani the Lion, and Kevin. If you don’t know who these folks are, you should totally go check out their Youtube channel, because the work they are doing is amazing.

In today’s post, we are going to take this video from the LionWhispererTV and:

  • Use the Speech-To-Text AI Transcription to transcribe the video. We will choose English (South Africa) for our dialect as part of the video transcription process.
  • Fix up the results of the transcription.
  • Use the AI Translation from English to Afrikaans to translate the video.

Please note we have not cleaned up the Afrikaans text. The below video from LionWhispererTV is Bongani's Birthday. Bongani is the friendly male lion this video is about. In the video, Kevin refers to Bongani the lion as, 'a nice old man, but full of beans'.

LionWhispererTV: English (South Africa) with Afrikaans captions

We choose this video for two purposes, first the work that the Kevin Richardson Foundation is doing is pretty amazing. You only have to look at the video titled Lion Kisses here, to see what we are talking about. Trust me on this one.

Secondly, a large part of their work is in raising awareness. While we have no idea what the exact level of awareness in South Africa relating to conservation efforts is, we do know South Africa has a large number of languages, and getting information out remains a challenge.


  1. The original video was sourced from the LionWhispererTV’s channel. We are big fans of their work, and you should absolutely subscribe to their channel.

  2. Please direct your browser to, and then click on the Login button. Select myTemplate, or your preferred template, and create a new item. Note to follow this visual guide you will require only a video component in your template.

  3. Once in the new item, please upload your video. In this example, we upload the LionWhispererTV video, and your screen should look like below.

    Upload the LionWhispererTV video
    Upload the LionWhispererTV video
  4. Next, click on Actions -> Transcribe, and you should see something like the below. We have selected English (South Africa) here. Obviously, Kevin is South African, and the Kevin Richardson Foundation reserve is in South Africa, so this makes sense and we would expect the AI transcription to be pretty much on point.

    Transcription with English (South Africa) as our dialect choice
    Transcription with English (South Africa) as our dialect choice
  5. After triggering this action, the platform will close this item, and lock it. Once transcription is complete, this will automatically unlock.

  6. Open up the item, and have a look at the captions. The main task here, is to fix up the transcription. The notes section below covers some of the issues around this specific video. After fixing up, the end result is below.

    Bongani’s Birthday! Post transcription with English captions

  7. Now that we have our transcription sorted, we can translate. Click Action -> Translation, to trigger the video captions being translated. This is a pretty simple process, and can be seen in the image below.

    Translation of Bongani’s Birthday! from English to Afrikaans
    Translation of Bongani’s Birthday! from English to Afrikaans
  8. Once the translation process is complete, the below result is available. In the application, this looks like below. Also, please note the Origin toggle, allowing a user to flick back and forth - this functionality is for use when a human translator is checking the work of the AI.

    Captions post translation, in Afrikaans
    Captions post translation, in Afrikaans
  9. The final version of the video is shown below. In a real workflow, please ask your subject matter expert to eyeball the translation and verify suitability for your stakeholders.

    Bongani’s Birthday! Captions translated from English to Afrikaans


How do you work with many different dialects, specifically which AI should we use? In this video, we see the following features:

  • Kevin Richardson is speaking in clear South African English. So in this case, we obviously choose English (South Africa).
  • It should be noted, that the clean up process was very short in the case of this particular video.
  • One issue of note in Bongani’s Birthday! At 1:10 Kevin says, ’there go Suja and Bongani’. The AI completely missed this line. In the end, we did not add it in, because it does not make a lot of sense in the context of what content will be translated, but the change in tone made a huge difference to the output of the transcription AI.


In this post we tested the flow into Afrikaans, and with some luck, will be able to add more African languages in the future. We have Swahili in the translation AI, but Xhosa and Zulu currently require manual translation.

Please connect with us on LinkedIn, YouTube or Facebook for any comments, questions, or just to keep up to date with the work we do!

We are very grateful for your support!

The platform is currently in closed beta, while we work with early users to test/iron out issues. If you are interested in trying out our technology, please drop us an email at