Multilingual YouTube: Automated Captioning

With more than 3 billion searches conducted each month, YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined. With more than 100 hours of video uploaded each minute there is no doubting the popularity of this channel.

While YouTube has massive global reach and an estimated 1 billion users (about one third of total internet users), the service has been criticised for its lack of accessibility to non-native English speakers. YouTube does have an automatic captioning function available in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, but this service has a long way to go. This is despite YouTube’s claim that the function is a great way to make content accessible for viewers. Its automatic subtitles or closed captions for deaf and hard-of hearing users have been criticised by prominent vlogger Rikki Poynter as making “absolutely no sense 99% of the time”.

A more effective, productive and inexpensive way to create multilingual YouTube videos is to do this yourself. The steps are quick, easy and can be surprisingly affordable.

  1. Get your content professionally translated – NZTC can help you with this. YouTube videos for advertising purposes are generally under one minute long and about 200 words. The professional translation cost for this will likely be less than the price of printing a small brochure.

  2. Once you have the professionally translated content, log onto your YouTube account and select Video Manager, which is beside the editing link.

  3. Select Subtitles and CC from the dropdown menu beside the edit button.

  4. From here, select Add new subtitles or CC which is on the right hand side of the screen.

  5. Click create New Subtitles or CC.

  6. Select the relevant language and then type or paste your professionally translated content.

NZTC can provide fully editing translated content in a time-coded script so you know exactly where the content needs to be uploaded. We can also proofread your translated videos once this has been completed, ensuring the text is positioned correctly and giving you total confidence in your multilingual videos.

By translating and subtitling your videos on YouTube you gain access to a large non-English-speaking user base. With these tools, and the right professional assistance, you can be confident you are putting your best foot forward in any language.

To learn more, email Robert at

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