Expand to the global market with subtitles

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Companies today find different languages to be their biggest obstacle when attempting to conquer the global market. That is why video subtitles are a powerful tool to speed up the process. 

New device technologies and faster and more stable connections have taken video content to a whole new level in user preference.

This paves the way for a range of opportunities for companies to internationalize and present their products, services and processes using online platforms and making videos with subtitles available anywhere in the world. 

More accessible content

Subtitling services are excellent inclusion and accessibility tools for different audiences and markets.

IBGE data estimates that about 5% of the Brazilian population have a hearing disability. This represents 10 million people who need to communicate using Brazilian Sign Language (Libras). 

The Center for Hearing and Communication warns that hearing loss affects 48 million people in the United States.

When we take the numbers from these two countries and extrapolate to other world economies, the market becomes enormous — and we are only focusing on consumers with some type of hearing loss.

Beyond accessibility

Online magazine Digiday reported that 85% of Facebook videos are watched on mute.

Several publishers such as LittleThings, PopSugar and MIC, who rack up millions of daily views, confirm these numbers and trends in their audiences.

This data is a good benchmark for brands and products, which need to offer creative and subtitled videos to avoid jeopardizing major investments in advertising and content.

There are several situations in which people may prefer to watch videos on mute with the subtitles on, such as taking public transport, being in the workplace, studying in a library, or being in places that require silence, such as hospitals and medical clinics.

The Caderno de tendências 2022, from the Sebrae SC Observatory, listed the five consumer and business megatrends, highlighting: 

  1. Sustainability & Purpose;
  2. Hybridization;
  3. Consumer Experiences;
  4. Technologies;
  5. Pursuing Wellness.

Among the positive experiences mentioned in the study, item 3 covers inclusive products and services, and item 5 mentions comfortable communication.

Key considerations when subtitling videos in other languages

In order to achieve the expected results, there are some key considerations that companies should keep in mind when using video subtitles for internationalization purposes.

Cultural differences must be carefully assessed. Depending on Marketing objectives, the barriers go beyond language choice and regionalisms need to be avoided — both in the original language and in translated subtitles. 

The exception lies in specific strategies and objectives for certain regions and markets.

Some idiomatic expressions, very characteristic of certain regions, are not understood by the platform algorithms — and this can generate incorrect words or meanings in the transcript, especially when using “automatic” translation provided by the platforms, which, in our experience, should always be reviewed by a professional. 

It is also vital to respect and understand the customs, culture, and desires of the people who will be impacted by the messages. This means that market research and detailed planning is a must.

It is important to remember that a company that is successful in the United States or Europe may have difficulties in conquering Asian markets, as the cultural norms and standards of these countries are different.

Strategies must also be evaluated to choose the best method for delivering the translation to the market where the company wants to operate, which can be captioning, subtitling, and voiceover.

The benefits of video subtitles

In addition to the accessibility provided to different audiences, video subtitles add many benefits to companies, including a possible cost cut in production with the replacement of dubbing.

There are many reasons to subtitle videos, whether for native or foreign consumers. 

  1. Comprehension – Subtitles increase the power of understanding by preventing fluctuations in background noise, background music and voice levels.
  2. SEO – Subtitles provide better positions in search engine rankings (Search Engine Optimization, or SEO), increasing exposure and recommendations. Platforms like YouTube track subtitles to understand and classify content for users.
  3. Greater retention – Information provided in the user’s language increases message retention, shortening paths to a purchase decision. 
  4. Subtitles in other languages – The English language, especially its business-oriented version, more neutral and free of regionalisms, is often chosen to cater to the various foreign markets. However, having subtitles in other languages, such as Spanish, German, French, etc., really helps get closer to the company’s target audiences, depending on the internationalization objectives.
  5. Return on Investment (ROI) – Subtitles provide greater investment optimization, maximizing the ROI of video productions.
  6. Avoid gaffes – Respecting the culture is essential in achieving brand and product internationalization. Unlike dubbing, which conveys emotions, intonations and sense, subtitling is more neutral and offers fewer risks.
  7. Discreet viewing – Preferred by users in environments that do not allow sound, video subtitles allow the content to be understood and provide better experiences. 
  8. Derived content – Subtitles make it easy to create derivative content that can be turned into posts for social networks, blogs, and press relations.
  9. Metrics – Data management platforms, such as Google Analytics, provide details of the origin of the hits. With this and the use of subtitles the company can understand its audience in different countries/continents and target its content. 

Conquering the digital universe

Businesses and individuals worldwide are already using videos to disseminate nearly every piece of information and content on a global level.

The (countless) members of the digital crowd, with their smartphones, consume hours and hours of videos on a wide variety of topics (from an e-learning course to cooking recipes, guides for assembling furniture and other repairs, for example).

YouTube figures from January 2022 revealed that the five countries with the most active subscribers are India, the United States, Brazil, Japan, and Russia. The Indian channel T-Series has 202 million subscribed users.

If a single channel has almost the entire population of Brazil among its subscribers, we can imagine the possibilities that open up for the internationalization of companies. 

Zaum Langs, with its know-how and expertise, prioritizing the central role of the human being in all its processes, offers a series of customized translation and localization services for companies looking to expand their international markets and results.