Expand your reach globally with translation tools
YouTube’s a global platform that connects creators like you with millions of viewers all over the world. It’s easier than ever to offer a multilingual experience on your channel and reach a worldwide audience.
Make your content available around the world
On average, two-thirds of a channel’s views come from outside the creator’s home country. Even if you’ve never considered building an international audience, your channel likely has a bulk of viewers who speak a different language or live in a country other than your own. Increasing the accessibility of your channel could lead to growth in watch time, reach, and engagement in new markets.
YouTube has built-in tools to help you do this. For example, you can add captions and translated titles, descriptions, and subtitles to your videos. There are even tools available to help you crowdsource or buy translations. Additionally, you can experiment with video formats that tend to do well with audiences who speak a different language. It’s easier than ever to set your channel up for new audiences from around the world.
How do you know if your channel is ready for a worldwide audience? You can start off by checking your YouTube Analytics Demographics report to see where your audience tunes in from. If you see a lot of watch time coming from countries whose residents speak languages other than your own and think your content would be interesting to people in other places, it could be time to try out YouTube’s suite of translation tools. If you don’t see a globally-diverse audience in your demographics--keep reading--and also check out our lesson on content strategies that may have more international appeal.
See it in action
Steps for adding translated titles and descriptions to your videosYouTube's Help Center offers instructions for adding localized titles and descriptions to videos and playlists.
Tyler Oakley explains why adding closed captions and subtitles is so importantIn this video, he encourages all creators to add closed captions and translated subtitles to their videos and asks his community for help with this task.
Use built-in translation tools
YouTube offers a suite of tools that can help your channel be more accessible:
Closed captions (cc) are written transcripts of a video in the language spoken that display visually on screen. They can increase your channel’s reach by giving viewers the option to read words instead of listen. This can be beneficial to audiences who are hard-of-hearing, who are watching in a loud environment, or don't want to turn the sound on. They're easy to add to your channel. Auto-generated captions are also available in some languages and viewers can turn them on and off.
Subtitles are translations of captions. They offer audiences who do not speak the same language as a video the option to read a translation of the words spoken. You can translate and write subtitles yourself, buy them in the YouTube marketplace, or crowdsource them from your community by enabling “Community contributions”.
Translated titles and descriptions can lead to greater discoverability by viewers who speak other languages because they are indexed in search results. Translating your title and description works best when you have corresponding subtitles in the same language too. (Once an audience who speaks another language finds your videos, you want to keep them watching!) You can add translated titles and metadata on your own or crowdsource with Community contributions.
There is always potential to reach a new market and multiple tools to help you get there. Often the easiest (and cheapest) way to add translated subtitles, titles, and descriptions (if you don’t speak another language) is to enable Community contributions. Alternatively, if you want to target specific languages or need translations completed within a determined time frame, consider purchasing them from the marketplace. If you speak another language, try adding subtitles and translated metadata yourself. This chart explains the options for implementing each type of tool:
Captions Subtitles Translated titles and descriptions Do it yourself Write captions yourself Translate subtitles yourself Translate titles and descriptions yourself Enable Community contributions Crowdsource captions from Community contributions Crowdsource subtitles by enabling Community contributions Crowdsource titles and descriptions by enabling Community contributions Use the marketplace Pay for captions through the marketplace Pay for subtitles in languages you specify through the marketplace Purchase through marketplace in languages you specify
Consider your audience
These tools can help expand your channel’s reach--but they’re not a secret formula for overnight success. Try using insights from YouTube Analytics to make sustainable and strategic choices that can help your channel grow internationally over the long-term.
Remember, once an international audience finds your channel, you’ll want to keep them coming back for more. While it’s ok to translate one-off videos, it can be more beneficial to translate an entire series.
Also, consider whether or not audiences who speak another language might need subtitles to understand your video. Some video formats, like music, toy unboxings, do-it-yourself, ‘ can be easily understood without subtitles. Whereas other types of videos, like vlogs or news, could benefit greatly from subtitles.
After you’ve implemented translation tools on your channel, check back into YouTube Analytics to see how well your channel is performing in foreign markets and other languages. Try filtering your Watch Time report to compare the watch time data from the original language of the video with all other languages you’ve translated it into it. Or, check your Translations report. The best way to get started is to experiment.
Expanding the reach of your audience globally lets you foster a diverse, international community on your channel and can, ultimately, help result in greater engagement and monetization opportunities.