YouTube, which already supported two dozen languages, has added four new languages (Croatian, Filipino, Serbian and Slovak) to its lineup, Wired reported last week. The supported languages are supplemented by a script translator that allows viewers to see machine-translated video captions in over 50 languages.
The Google-owned video sharing site was English-only until as late as 2007, when it expanded to Europe, Brazil and Japan, adding a slew of languages (image courtesy of Wired):
YouTube apparently intends to continue this global expansion trend, hoping to add as many as 12 more localized versions by the end of 2010. (Hebrew, which didn’t make the cut this time around because of the complication of its bidirectional script, might get another chance.)
By including more languages, Google is encouraging more uploaders and downloaders around the world to participate with instructions and navigational elements in their own languages, Wired noted. It also gives YouTube more power to “localize” restrictions, such as blocking content that’s against the law only in certain countries, or showing music videos only in countries with high enough advertising rates to command significant revenue.
For marketers outside of the music industry, this control doesn’t mean much. However, the move on Google’s part to embrace more languages means that they are concerned with making a diverse number of people “feel at home” on the site. Branded viral videos, instructional clips, and other types of multimedia marketing content for international audiences could potentially have a broader reach and a deeper impact.
Does this mean you should start creating native language versions of all of your content? Probably not. English is still the dominant language on the web. But if you’re targeting a specific language audience and you’re working with a translation vendor to get your marketing messages just right, incorporating video into your campaign just might make a key positive difference in the results of your campaign.