VoiceBox, Part of Wolfestone Group

In this fortnight’s blog, we explore all the brilliant ways that multilingual subtitles can boost your content’s reach.

If the past few months have proved anything, it’s that how we connect digitally matters more than ever. 

Yep – it’s true. When national lockdowns restricted people’s physical movements, the world had never been more virtually plugged into companies and brands’ communications. And despite the fact that rules around socialising and travel are now gradually easing, data from GlobalWebIndex suggests that we’re still spending significantly more time connected to tech than we were at the start of 2020.

And while this doesn’t spell good news for those parents pleading with their children to swap their smartphones for schoolwork, it presents a brilliant opportunity for companies. 

YouTube homepage

In fact, this surge in digital users is the perfect opportunity for any brand with global ambitions. Now is the time to push high-quality, multilingual content that’ll help you tap into your target audience: In particular, by investing in multilingual subtitles.

Here’s why:

Multilingual subtitles will help your content resonate with more people

Relative to the world’s population, English-speaking countries represent a tiny proportion of internet users.

In fact, did you know that only 6% of the world’s population speak English as a first language and 75% of the world’s population don’t speak any English?

This means that when you produce English-only content, you’re excluding an inestimably large potential audience.

Of course, you know doesn’t make business sense to alienate non-English speakers – but neither is it practical to reshoot or recreate content for each potential audience demographic. 

Video shooting scene

And that’s where the beauty of multilingual subtitles comes in. They’re an elegant, easy and efficient solution that’ll allow multilingual audiences to easily enjoy your content.

More video content is subtitled online than ever

Here’s a great reason alone to invest in multilingual subtitles: All your competition is doing it. If you want a chance of competing in today’s global market, then you’re going to have to step up your game when it comes to multilingual content.

Don’t let potential customers go elsewhere – It has never been easier to captivate them by communicating your brand message in their very language.

You can improve your SEO

Here’s the short explanation: Multilingual subtitles will help you get noticed.

Here’s the slightly longer explanation: When you invest in multilingual subtitles, you invest in a marketing strategy that can increase your video views and thereby increase organic traffic to your website. 

That’s because currently, search engines cannot watch a video or listen to its audio. However, search engines can index the text in Closed Captions files. Subtitling your video content will allow search engine crawlers to properly index your content, which will immediately get you on your way to boosting your organic search rankings.

With proper SEO translation, your content can help you rank for keywords in different languages and overseas markets.

Boost accessibility 

Subtitles are essential for providing accessible content for all. Many companies will actually be subject to industry standards that state that a certain percentage of content must be made accessible.

Subtitles not only ensure that those who are deaf and hard of hearing can be reached, but they help anyone who aren’t native speakers of that language, have difficulties following fast-paced verbal communication or are watching in a noisy environment. It’s also a great way to emphasise key brand points and reinforce your message overall.

Multilingual subtitles are cost-effective

Reshooting video content or commissioning separate multilingual voice overs can be a really pricey way to localise and translate your video content. Luckily, multilingual subtitles offer the perfect solution to go global with video content.

Video editing overlaying multilingual subtitles

If using Closed Captions (subtitles which can be turned on and off), viewers can choose their language and you can rest assured you’ll be providing accurate and region-specific captions.

Better engagement on social media

On Facebook alone, captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%, whereas a trial carried out by PLY media found that captions “on average not only increased the duration of time that users spent watching the video by almost 40% but also significantly impacted viewership of videos in ‘mute.‘”

And before you comment – yes, you can translate a YouTube video into English, for example, using their auto captions function. But this isn’t recommended for brands with a reputation to uphold. It can make you a laughing stock should the results be nonsensical (which they often are) or even land you in hot water should the machine translation output prove offensive.