Creating and Translating YouTube Captions Using Google Translate

The Crowd is quickly becoming the greatest tool of the Internet Age, and this is most apparent, I think, in the realm of translation on the Internet.

This is frustrating, especially when you hit a wall with the view statistics on your videos. Translating your video and providing captions for speakers of other languages would solve this problem, but how do you accomplish this?

Google to the Rescue!

As with most of its other offerings, Google has been thinking about how to improve the user experience. In case you weren’t aware, Google purchased YouTube some time ago, and now we’re beginning to receive the fruits of that acquisition, because Google has added some translation tools that allow you – and possible the Crowd – to provide translation captions for the videos you have posted.

A Caption Track

Here’s how it works: First, you need a caption track. A caption track provides subtitles or captions for your videos in your own language, and should be provided at all times, even if you’re not currently thinking of translation for your videos. It just gives everyone the option of enjoying your video even if the sound is off.

Once you have a caption track, you can select ‘Request Translation’ from the YouTube toolbar. Then you choose the languages you’d like your video to be translated into. When you click ‘Next’, YouTube automatically creates translation documents, and you can either perform the translation yourself, or invite the Crowd to translate for you!

Google also offers the Google Translator Toolkit editor, which helps with the translations. This sometimes is just enough help for someone who is familiar but not fluent to create a decent translation of the text.

Previewing the Crowd

You get to preview all the translations prepared for your video and revise them if needed. You can invite specific people to work on translations – sometimes this might involve hiring a freelance translator and simply pointing them to your video, or it might involve asking a friend – like me! – to donate some time. Sometimes you can find students eager to practice their translation skills on your video. Sometimes people will simply perform the translation for their own reasons, simply to spread content they find valuable. The Crowd is flexible.

No matter what approach you take, you will be alerted when translations are added and you’ll have the opportunity to review them and approve. This way there’s no worry about pranks or poor translations turning the experiment negative.

There’s now no reason, really, not to make your videos available worldwide. Go forth and translate!