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Hello world: How to translate your videos with your community

By Aviad Rozenhek

Product Manager

YouTube is home to over a billion users across the world. It’s where anyone can find a community, even beyond their geographic borders. YouTube creators and viewers speak nearly every language under the sun -- 76 languages to be exact. While that’s great for building global audiences, it means your content can sometimes get lost in translation. That’s why we built translation tools so you can easily connect with audiences who don’t speak your native tongue.

Since 2015 when we introduced community-contributed subtitles and other tools, we’ve been inspired by how creators and viewers across the globe have partnered to break language barriers. Today, we’re excited to announce that you can now use Community Contributions to translate your video’s titles and descriptions in addition to your captions. This means you’re only a few clicks away from having viewers translate your videos so more people around the world easily discover, understand, and ultimately fall in love with your content.

We wanted you to hear directly from creators who have rallied their communities to use these new translation tools. A great example is Alex Dainis. She’s a science vlogger who's passionate about spreading her love for biology and genealogy around the world.

“I turned on the Community Contributions tool after a subscriber asked me to so that he could translate my videos and share them with his friends,” Alex said. “Knowing that my community valued my content enough to want to share it, and to go the extra mile to do so, really meant a lot to me.” Alex’s videos have since been translated to Mandarin, French, Hebrew and more.

But who’s behind those translations? We also wanted to hear from passionate viewers who translate content for creators they love. To date, over 900K contributors have helped translate videos on YouTube. This includes people like Tee Ponsukcharoen, a Stanford student who spends an average of 10 hours a week translating content on YouTube. He’s written translations for over 2,500 videos. “Translating content to me now is like washing my face, brushing my teeth, or working out. It's a part of my daily routine that I do without thinking much,” Tee said.

“There are three components that drive my motivation to translate videos: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Translating content on YouTube serves all three,” he said. “I can choose videos that I am interested to translate. I sharpen my English, Thai, and the subject of the video every time that I translated. Finally, I know that my translation will be beneficial to other people. Some Thai students who don't know English well can use my subtitles to learn better. Our work can be used as language educational examples.”

Alex and Tee may have never met in person but they’ve made the world feel like a smaller place. They helped create communities on YouTube that go beyond language barriers. If you’re a creator, try Community Contributions. It only takes a few seconds to activate. Not only is it is a great way to reach global audiences, but it’ll allow you to make your community feel more invested in the process. To help, we’ve also put together a special Creator Academy Boot Camp to provide more hands-on learning on how to use translation tools and grow your audience.