In an effort to expand its global reach, YouTube announced a set of new tools Thursday to help translate the titles and descriptions of its vast trove of videos into multiple languages.
YouTube estimates more than 80% of its videos are viewed outside the United States and more than 60% of a YouTube channel’s views come from outside its country of origin.
But countless videos that might have been relevant to viewers went unseen because of a search process that was limited to a single language, said Vladimir Vuskovic, product manager for YouTube Globalisation.
With the new tools, YouTube offers the ability for titles and descriptions of the videos on its site to appear in multiple languages, “which helps with discovery of content,” Vuskovic said.
YouTube is offering three new services. Those who make videos can translate their titles and descriptions, as well as the subtitles for videos that contain them, into 76 languages, including Mandarin, French and Spanish.
In addition, vendors who offer translation services to Google Play developers can do the translation. YouTube said that included translation into 57 languages.
Finally, YouTube said it would let viewers do the translating through crowdsourcing, in which YouTube would screen multiple answers to determine the correct translations. It said that potentially enabled translations into any language.
In a test, the website Vice translated videos into Spanish and Portuguese and saw viewing time increase more than 100%, the company said.
Deron Triff, TED director of global distribution, said the company uploaded 60,000 translated videos to YouTube in a single day in June, which provided access to viewers speaking Farsi, Vietnamese, Turkish and Russian, among other languages.
For small organisations such as TED, “YouTube creates an on-ramp for us to parts of the world where we wouldn’t be able to set up relationships,” Triff said.
Daniel Aguayo, a social media specialist at Digipendent Media, said the option is important for emerging artists and brands but also a major step toward growing YouTube’s overall audience.
“From a content creation aspect, the No. 1 growing video content creation sector is East Asia and Thailand,” he said.
“If you can translate Mandarin, Cambodian, Thai and different languages in the Indian dialect, that’s another three billion people nobody’s talking to because of the language barrier.”