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Subtitles: Video Production for a Global Audience

By: Art Morgan
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Have you ever traveled to another country and wished that you could understand the language people were speaking, at least enough to grasp the news flash on the television, or the announcements over the loudspeakers, or even the description of the menu by the waiter? Now think about all those English language videos that you have on your websites, and visualize the 5.5 billion people in the world, almost 80% of the total population, who cannot understand what you are saying in your English-only videos. If you exclude English language learners from the numbers, the percentage of people in the world who can’t fully grasp the content of your English videos jumps to 94%. You may rationalize your decision not to internationalize your website and your videos by arguing that your core target market is English speakers, and you may also have anecdotal evidence that those from other countries who buy your products speak and understand English reasonably well.

But have you ever looked at the situation from the other side of the coin? How many people are there out there who decided not to buy your products or use your service or even work for your company because you didn’t offer any explanation or documentation in their native language? And have you compared that potential market with the cost of translating your content into other languages? When compared to the cost of producing your videos, the cost of captioning and subtitling your video in another language is amazingly inexpensive. For example, for a five minute video, which you may have spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars to produce, you can add closed captions for only about $15 and you can add Spanish subtitles for less than $25. The workflow is simple (it takes only a few minutes of your time to submit the video for captioning and transcription), and within a few days you can add hundreds of millions more people to your potential audience. Factor in the other benefits of captioning, such as enabling search and increasing video SEO, and the return on investment for captioning and subtitling your videos can be nothing short of phenomenal.

Automatic Sync launched its Spanish translation services in October of this year, and there are already many enterprises and institutions using the service to provide Spanish subtitles for English-language videos and English subtitles for Spanish-language videos. Learn360, an award-winning educational media publisher serving the K-12 market, is one example of an enterprise that used AST’s captioning and translation services to address the needs of a broader market by adding Spanish subtitles to hundreds of educational videos. Other examples include a well-known pharmacy that provides Spanish subtitles for employee training videos, several movie producers, and even universities that subtitle some of their lectures in Spanish to reach a global audience.

The initial launch covers just English and Spanish, but more language options will be released soon. Feel free to contact us if you have a need for other languages. If you are ready to start capturing your share of the global market, check out our tutorial on the subject in the Resources section of our website.