If you are uploading video content to YouTube, there are a number of best practices to follow to ensure your video can be discovered by viewers. A killer title, and an optimised description not only helps the site understand what your video is about, but they are also the first clues a potential viewer has to your content. Great metadata will act as an invitation to click-through and press that play button (or activate autoplay, whatever).
On YouTube, one video used to mean just one set of titles and descriptions. Creators could upload closed captions in different languages but were limited when optimising the title and other information. But that just changed. YouTube has rolled out a translation tool that allows you to translate your video description and titles, so viewers can search for them using their own language. It has also introduced an option to either crowdsource closed caption translations, or pay for them via the site. That's pretty huge news for creators, brands, and viewers themselves.
YouTube Translation Tools for Titles & Descriptions
According to YouTube, up to 60% of a channel’s views can come from outside their home country, and translating closed captions can significantly improve watch time from foreign viewers. When the name of the game on YouTube is watch time, this is a big deal. You can start translating right now, following these easy steps:
- Sign into your Video Manager on YouTube.
- Pick the video you want to add the translated metadata to by clicking Edit > Info and Settings.
- Click on the 'Translations' tab.
- Click the box under 'Original language to set the video's language (You can set this as the default language for all new video uploads by checking the box next to "Default for new uploads.")
- Under 'Translate Into', add or pick the language you want to add your translated title and description in.
- Enter the new translated title and description (you'll have to translate manually, this isn't automatic), and then 'Save changes'.
YouTube: New Translation Tools for Creators
In the past, taking the time to add subtitles and closed captioning was cumbersome for lengthy content and often not worth the benefit for the time spent. Further, if you were to use the automatic captions, they have been so grossly inaccurate that creators have made parody videos about the bad captions. Having high quality captions and translations can really help open up your content for a wider, more engaged audience. YouTube feels your pain and has added a few features that should make it worth your time to both caption and translate your videos. Along with the ability to translate titles and descriptions, creators can now also order translations via the Video Manager, or crowdsource this option.
YouTube: Crowdsourced Subtitles and Captions
YouTube has added a feature that will allow your viewers to caption the videos for you, and this option will give you the biggest return on investment if you have an active community willing to caption your videos. Don't worry about this leading to inappropriate or inaccurate captions, YouTube does have a system in place to manage the community based captions. They can be enabled for a specific video or all of your videos and are quite easy to enable.
If you want to take advantage of this new functionality, just opt-in to community contributed subtitles by going to the “Manage subtitles and CC” section of your Creator Studio, clicking the settings button and clicking “Turn on for all videos”. This is also the same place to see the subtitles that are still under review or have been published.
YouTube’s Native Pay Service for Translations
If you are looking for a reliable way to get accurate translations on a video, YouTube now has pay features that will allow you to translate the title, description or closed captions for a video. Detailed instructions for how to accomplish this are available from Google Support. In short, simply go to the edit page of a video and select the services you’d like to use under the Translations tab.
In the same place you can buy translations, ensure you have selected the default language for your content. This can be done on a per video basis or for all content on a channel. Even if you decide not to buy any translations, it’s a good idea to set the default language for your videos. This will help international viewers find your videos in their own language.
Is Translating Really Worth it?
With the competitive nature of video today, it’s important to gain any edge you can. I always recommend focusing on the quality of content first, but once you think you’ve done that, it comes down to how you approach the details. Closed captions, subtitles and translations are proving to be a detail you simply cannot overlook when dealing with a global audience. Not only is it the right thing to do, but with the way YouTube rewards watch time, this is one of the simplest ways to control it for foreign viewers.