YouTube has introduced a remarkable feature called multilingual audio, allowing users to watch videos in their native language. Initially, this feature was made available to a select group of creators, including the well-known YouTube personality, MrBeast. For viewers, this multilingual audio function enables them to enjoy dubbed videos in their preferred language, providing them with the opportunity to explore a wider range of content that they might have otherwise missed.
Dubbing involves replacing the original audio of a video with a recording in a different language. This additional audio is not part of the original video but is added during the post-production phase. Subtitles, on the other hand, consist of transcriptions of the audio, appearing on the screen for viewers to read. Unlike subtitles, dubbing completely replaces the original audio with the target language, ensuring that viewers remain engaged throughout the video.
YouTube’s dubbing function empowers creators to incorporate audio files in multiple languages, which users can select through the Settings icon. The concept behind this feature is simple: one video, multiple languages. This makes it more convenient and practical for creators to cater to a broader audience.
By enabling creators to add dubbing to their new and existing videos, YouTube aims to help them reach an international audience. The company developed the technology to support multilingual audio tracks in-house, but creators will need to collaborate with multilingual audio solution providers to create their own audio tracks. After uploading their videos, users will be able to choose a different audio track from the same menu where they adjust other settings like subtitles or audio quality. The selection of additional languages to support is at the discretion of the creator.
In initial tests conducted by YouTube with a small group of creators, the multilingual audio function was utilized for over 3,500 videos in more than 40 languages. According to YouTube, more than 15% of the viewing time for dubbed videos came from viewers who watched them in a different language than the original recording.
Initially, this feature will only support long-form content on YouTube, but the company is already experimenting with implementing it for short films. This launch will grant thousands of creators access to the new feature beyond the initial test group. Furthermore, the option to adjust a video’s audio track will be rolled out globally across YouTube, available on desktops, mobile phones, tablets, and TVs.
One of the prominent creators who participated in the initial test group was MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson), known for having 130 million subscribers worldwide. He dubbed his 11 most popular videos into 11 different languages to attract a more diverse international audience to his channel. In an interview with YouTube’s Creator Insider site, Jimmy Donaldson emphasized the value of this feature, highlighting that uploading multilingual audio tracks is easier compared to managing and maintaining separate foreign-language channels.
Eligible creators who gain access to this feature will receive invitations to participate and utilize the new option in Creator Studio.
The Impact of YouTube’s Dubbing Feature on Accessibility
YouTube videos are already fairly accessible, but there is always room for improvement. The dubbing function addresses several gaps, leading to significant improvements for the following reasons:
1. Reduced reliance on subtitles
Typically, people watch YouTube videos during their leisure time. While subtitles are beneficial for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, they require viewers to concentrate on both the words on the screen and the video itself. This can make the viewing experience less enjoyable, and multitasking may not be suitable for everyone.
By watching a video in their native language, viewers can avoid the need to read subtitles. It also enhances immersion as the audio captures cultural nuances and expressions that may be missed in subtitles alone.
2. Increased global viewership
The more videos that are dubbed, the greater the audience they can attract. YouTube automatically displays dubbed videos in the viewer’s
If you’re a creator, keep in mind that when dubbing your videos, a good strategy is to start with the world’s most popular languages and gradually add more. Add dubbing to your list of factors to consider when launching a YouTube channel.
3. YouTube videos can be adapted for people with disabilities
People with reading difficulties such as dyslexia may find it difficult to read or follow subtitles. Conversely, dubbed videos are accessible to everyone. According to the International Dyslexia Association, around 15-20% of the world’s population suffers from some form of dyslexia. Catering to this particular audience can open up a new world to them that they might otherwise have been excluded from.
YouTube becomes more inclusive As the world becomes more inclusive, entertainment platforms no longer have an excuse not to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. YouTube is playing its part by widening the audience to which creators can appeal thanks to its audio dubbing function.