Translation and Language Industry Observations

You created amazing video content and did everything possible to promote it: shared the video on social media, optimized the title and description, and promoted it in online communities. But did you subtitle the video? If not, you may be missing out on a lot of extra views. The number of views is directly related to the quality of the content, but adding subtitles can greatly increase the chances of your video being successful. This applies to movies, TV series, social media videos, educational content and any other video for publishing on online platforms.

Why are subtitles so important? The answers may surprise you. Let’s look at seven reasons why you should add subtitles to your video, and then talk a little about how to do it.

1. Many people do not want or cannot turn on the sound

You may have heard that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without the sound turned on. Even if this is only one social network, the statistics show that many people turn off the sound on their phones or computers because they don’t or can’t watch videos with sound. Perhaps they are listening to music at the same time, are in a public place, or do not want to disturb loved ones if they watch videos at night. So even if your videos are aimed at an audience that is most likely to unmute, there are people who won’t. And they will skip your video if it doesn’t have subtitles.

2. Not all viewers can hear

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1.5 billion people in the world suffer from hearing problems. In the US, over 37 million people have trouble hearing.  If you don’t create subtitles for your videos, you’re just missing out on a huge audience. No matter what your content is about, you don’t want to miss out on the chance to reach millions of people. Your target audience is likely to include deaf or hard of hearing people. So why deprive them of the ability to view your content?

3. Subtitles improve comprehension

All people perceive information differently. Some people find it easier to learn through doing. Others find it easier to watch videos. Still others prefer to listen or read. There are probably those among your viewers who are more comfortable getting information through reading, and they will not get the same benefit from your video if subtitles are not added to it. The combination of video and text has a stronger impact on perception and attracts more people than just a video without subtitles.

In fact, many prefer to watch videos with subtitles even if they don’t need to. After doing a little research, you can find out that many people turn on subtitles when watching TV shows or movies in their native language. Subtitles just help to understand the meaning better. Even if these people can watch videos without subtitles, they will appreciate that you added subtitles and made better content for them. So even if your English language videos are being showed to an English-speaking audience, adding subtitles will make their viewing experience more effective.

4. Not everyone speaks your language

Great content is shared across language barriers…but only if it’s translated. You probably want people from all over the world to watch your videos, but without translation, this goal cannot be achieved. English is by far the most widely spoken language on the Internet, but don’t forget the huge audience that speaks Chinese, Spanish, German or Arabic. When creating a video, consider the languages your viewers speak. Explore audience segments and add subtitles in several of the most popular languages.

5. Subtitles increase viewer engagement

According to a study by Verizon, 80% more people watch a video to the end if it has subtitles.

6. Subtitles increase social media reach

Instapage found that videos with subtitles on Facebook had 16% higher reach than videos without subtitles. These videos had 15% more shares, 17% more engagements, and 26% more clicks on call-to-action buttons. Videos with subtitles perform better across all important metrics. Remember that people are better at watching such videos and the conclusion becomes obvious. Subtitles greatly affect how people view, react to, and interact with videos.

7. Subtitles improve search engine optimization

Of course, quality is at the heart of successful content, but you certainly don’t forget about search engine optimization. Adding subtitles will help improve your video’s rankings in search engines. Many of the above benefits also affect search engine optimization. The more time users spend watching your videos, the better your audience retention rate will be, which will positively affect your search engine rankings. The number of shares also plays a role in SEO. And reaching a more diverse audience will help increase visits and reduce bounce rates.

At the same time, the subtitles themselves also help in improving the search ranking, as the search engines index the text of the subtitles. But remember that Google does not index the automatically generated subtitles that YouTube offers. Therefore, it is worth adding manually created subtitles so that they are accurately indexed. This can make a big difference in how many people find your site through search engines, watch your YouTube video, and interact with your content.

How difficult is it to create and add subtitles?

Creating subtitles takes time, but adding them to a video is pretty easy. Of course, this depends on your experience with subtitling software, the type of videos you add to, and a number of other factors. If you’re making short videos for Facebook or YouTube, creating subtitles won’t take long. But if you are making a series or a movie, it may take a long time to create subtitles. Are you wondering if this is worth your effort? Considering all of the above – definitely yes!

Adding video subtitles is a fairly simple process. The video needs to be transcribed, with the transcription saved in a specific file format. The most common is the SRT (SubRip Title) format. This is basically a text file with timestamps. The timestamps coordinate the time window during which each subtitle is shown. There are a number of companies that can help transcribe your videos into SRT files.

How to translate subtitles into other languages

Once you have the SRT files, you can use a professional translation service to translate the subtitles into other languages. The translation company will need to have access to the videos, in order to translate the subtitles in context and to verify that the transcription is coherent in each segment. The translation agency will also need to deliver the translated SRT files with the timestamps intact and in the correct format.

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