How YouTube’s Translation Features Can Globalize Your Brand

Posted by | YouTube Marketing

According to YouTube, over 60% of the platforms video views come from outside the native country of the creator. If your brand hasn’t kept up with YouTube lately, here are a few other nuggets of information to bring you up to speed:
  • YouTube is #2 among search engines, just after Google
  • The majority of users of YouTube are in the age range of 16-34
  • Over 50% of marketers across the world say video content has the best ROI.
  • Vendors are missing a large potential customer base because so many viewers do not speak English
With all of this in mind, YouTube has taken some action that, in time, will prove to be really big. In November of last year, three new features – additional translations, availability of professional translations, and crowd sourcing of subtitles. Keeping in mind that SEO is a combination of website ownership (remember, YouTube is owned by Google) and website popularity, e-commerce sites that use YouTube can reach a far greater global audience with these new features. YouTube Translation Here is a short synopsis of YouTube’s translation features, so that you can understand how they will impact your global outreach.

Additional Translations

Titles, descriptions and subtitles are now offered in 76 languages to video creators. This capability of translating written content or audio of a video into languages of potential viewers will be a huge boon, especially given the statistic in the above infographic that 2/3 of viewers are watching in a different language. YouTube will display the video information (titles and descriptions) in the correct language for specific viewers.

Professional Translations

YouTube has had caption translations, but the quality of those translations has not always been great. Video creators have not been excited about using caption translations because of this “iffy” quality, especially when it came to humor. Now, however, a video producer can get high quality professional translations through YouTube’s translation marketplace. Video content can be translated into 57 different languages according to user preference. An additional feature that may soon be offered is bulk translation, so that a producer can contract for an entire set of videos at a time, rather than on a single-case basis right now.

Crowdsourcing of Subtitles

Crowdsourcing use for translations is becoming a more common practice, and that is certainly one of the reasons that YouTube has decided to offer this feature. Basically, crowdsourcing is the act getting content, funding, and other services through solicitation of a large, unknown group of people. Now, YouTube creators can invite others to provide video translations, and the entire process is managed by YouTube, and the original publisher can review and edit captions. There is a type of secondary verification process involved. When a video translation is reviewed by a certain number of “crowd-sourcers” and deemed to be accurate and of high quality, then the video will be published in that language. YouTube states that it will be publishing “tutorials” for publishers so that they understand exactly how to use this feature.

Two Successes – VICE and TED

YouTube has been running a pilot program to test the efficacy of its new translation features, and found some partners to participate in that testing. Two of these partners have been “VICE” and “TED.”

The HBO series “VICE” explores the “seedier” side of Los Angeles and has been an extremely popular show. “Vice” has been available on YouTube for quite some time. The decision was made to try translating the shows into Spanish and Portuguese. Portuguese speaking viewers doubled and Spanish-speaking viewers tripled. Pretty impressive.

Everyone is familiar with TED talks. For a long time, the directors have been using volunteers, through crowdsourcing, to translate several thousand videos into 100+ languages. TED became part of the pilot program that YouTube set up to test its new features, and 200 videos were translated into 11 different languages. TED saw an increase in views from 20 – 60%. Here is how Kristin Windbigler, the Director of the original volunteer translation project, summed up the pilot experience with YouTube. “For more than five years, we have been working to remove the barrier of language from TED’s mission in spreading ideas throughout the world…As one of our most important partners, YouTube has pushed the boundaries in making our videos not only accessible but also discoverable for viewers around the world.”

The Takeaway

Exploring what YouTube’s new translation features can do for you is certainly worth the research. In sum, here are the features you now have available:
  1. Add captions and subtitles: Think not just in terms of the benefits for non-English speaking viewers but also for a hearing impaired audience.
  2. Add translated descriptions and titles. Viewers will be able to find your videos in their native languages, and YouTube will manage getting the right language to the appropriate viewers.
  3. Through crowdsourcing, native language speakers and add subtitles to your videos in their language. The video will be published after a certain number of native speakers have approved of the subtitles as being correct.
  4. You can purchase translation services via your Video Manager. When the translation is complete, you will receive an email notification that it is and that the video has been published.
For more detailed information on these new features and how to get, visit YouTube.



John Unger a passionate writer, blogger and difference maker from Manchester. Many of John’s articles cover topics such as business and marketing issues, working to inspire and help his readers. Currently, John is an editor at BestEssay.Education. Feel free to connect with John via Twitter or Google+.