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How to translate YouTube videos

Want to increase views on your YouTube video? Then keep on reading.

81% of internet users have used YouTube… yep! That is 81% of almost 5 billion people. Without a doubt YouTube is still in the top 10 most used social media networks, serving up long-from and short-form content for users to enjoy.

With such a large and diverse audience potential, businesses, brands and individuals need to be conscious about how they create inclusivity with their content. And the best way to do so is by adding subtitles to YouTube videos.

With approximately 466 million people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, 71% will leave a video they cannot understand. And it’s important to note that 60% of the total views YouTube videos receive, are from non-English speakers.

Subtitles are traditionally used for viewers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speak a different language. However, there are more and more people who use subtitles as a means to watch videos when at work or in silent settings.  By having subtitles, the content can be accurately translated and expand your reach even further than your native language audience.

According to the YouTube Product Team, they’re always looking for new ways to make information more accessible and inclusive for all users globally. When searching for videos in a particular language, YouTube will now show videos with automatically translated captions, titles and descriptions (if the translations aren’t available). So, brands and creators who add professional and SEO-friendly subtitles to their videos are sure to have an edge over others.

Benefits of adding subtitles to your YouTube videos

Apart from the obvious benefit of widening your audience watching, there are other valuable benefits to consider as well. These include improving a video’s watch time and engagement by letting people watch the video with the sound off. This is applicable for people who are in public areas, like a shared office or on the train, who would like to watch a video without disturbing everyone around them.

Subtitles help your viewers comprehend and learn better too. If your brand creates educational content or wants to share information about their product or services, subtitles are essential. Along with audio-visual content, subtitles add a text component to your videos. It helps your viewers comprehend and grasp the information better.

Lastly, subtitles improve your video’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) ranking. All the text that is uploaded along with your video on YouTube, contributes to your video’s ranking in search engines. If you include popular keywords in the video’s title and description, your video will rank higher when people search for those keywords.

Important to note, search engines do not index YouTube’s automatic captions. Therefore, it is incredibly wise to invest in getting your captions and subtitles done by professionals.

Automated vs professional YouTube translation

For automatic captioning, YouTube can use speech recognition technology to automatically create captions for your videos. But even, YouTube has shared this functionality with a disclaimer:

These automatic captions are generated by machine learning algorithms, so the quality of the captions may vary. We encourage creators to add professional captions first.”

And even though YouTube is constantly improving its speech recognition technology, automatic captions might misrepresent the spoken content due to mispronunciations, accents, dialects, or background noise.

Pros of auto-captioning

- You can publish more content, more often, faster.

- YouTube gives 60 – 70% accuracy.

- It is free and automatic.

Cons of auto-captioning

- Less quality translations.

- YouTube gives 60 – 70% accuracy. It may struggle with accents, dialects or picking up other noise, therefore lowering the quality and accuracy.

- It will not be as accurate as the real script, and you lose out on SEO ranking benefits.

Therefore, we agree with the YouTube team that rather be safe than sorry and provide your videos with the actual transcript or hire a professional to transcribe for you. Especially if you are a business or brand channel that values quality content and excellent customer engagement.

Steps to translate your own YouTube videos automatically

You have the freedom of choice when it comes to adding subtitles and captions to your videos. You can either:  

  • Let YouTube auto-caption your verbal speech on a video

  • Auto-sync your transcript

  • Or, let you choose to type or paste a transcript of your captions and subtitles in one go where the timings will be set automatically.

How to add subtitles and captions to your own YouTube videos

For auto-captioning, once you have signed into your YouTube Studio and uploaded a video file you can use the following steps to add subtitles and captions:

  • From the left menu, select Subtitles.

  • Click the video that you'd like to edit.

  • Click ADD LANGUAGE and select your language.

  • Under subtitles, click ADD.

Otherwise, you can also select upload file, then choose between With timing or Without timing, then select Continue. From there you can upload a file and save.

Auto-sync allows you to create subtitles and captions by entering them in as you watch the video. You will need to set the timing to sync with your video with this option. Bear in mind your transcript must be in the same language that's spoken in the video. Transcripts are not recommended for videos that are over an hour long or have poor audio quality.

Last option is to type it manually. With this option, your subtitle and caption timings will be set automatically. Steps to follow:

  • Select Type manually.

  • Play the video and enter your captions or subtitles. Don't forget to add text like [applause] or [thunder], so that viewers know what's going on in the video. You can also pause while typing.

  • Select PUBLISH.

Translating YouTube comments, showing transcripts and other Apps and chrome extensions

It is good to know that YouTube for Android and IOS provide a translation button next to comments that may be picked up as foreign on your device. Also, a very neat trick to get a transcript from an existing video is to go to the video, click on the three dots next to the title and click on Show Transcript.

In addition, you can also add third-party translating tools to your device to help ensure the content you consume is as accurate as possible. Here are five popular apps and chrome extensions to consider:

Using a professional translation service for your YouTube videos

By now, you may have picked up that everyone, including YouTube, is routing for professional, quality text to accompany your video.

This is imperative for content creators associated with corporate, educational, informational, or product/service-based content because it widens the audience reach and displays key characteristics you want associated with your brand: quality, inclusivity, trust and diligence.

Using professional translation services like DMME, it guarantees timeous quality, additional diligence with regards to valuable SEO keywords, and accurate use of foreign language with regards to linguistic nuances.

In general, using video content for your broad marketing strategy will have a higher conversion rate and user retention. Translating your content for foreign viewers to consume, allows you to double or even triple the results!

Therefore, if you’re trying to find shortcuts and tips & tricks to get more views on your YouTube channel, it may be as simple as just adding quality, professional subtitles and captions to your videos, in addition to adding different language scripts too. You can even go back on old videos and optimise content to reach a new audience.

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