Many of the world's top brands are increasingly multilingual, with varying degrees of localized content in multiple languages. A multilingual approach can open up markets and create new opportunities. Creating multi-language videos is a little more labor-intensive than creating written content in different languages, but it’s a logical step in marketing.
Brands have multiple YouTube channels for a variety of reasons. They may have additional channels that focus on particular verticals or target specific community groups or industries. By creating specific categories of content and aggregating it into a unique channel, it may also help with the search.
For multinational firms, producing content in native languages helps create additional exposure and trust. Multi-language YouTube channels will be easier to find for those searching in-country or in certain languages.
If you are a global company or market your products to people speaking other languages than English, you have a few choices.
Much of building a brand is about instilling trust and familiarity for customers. When you are providing content in their native language, it can help them feel more comfortable doing business with you. For example, someone who is not a native English speaker may worry they won’t get the help they need from an all-English speaking support team. If they know you support their language—and demonstrate it in your videos—it may give them more confidence to make a purchase decision.
One strategy that some companies are using is to create separate YouTube channels based on languages. This groups videos together so that as users access one video, they also have nearby access to other videos in their language of choice.
Like any other marketing decision you make, there are pros and cons. Your decision should be based on the ROI of your efforts and the importance of the market you’re trying to reach to your overall business goals.
Different languages and cultures approach things differently. Nuances may be subtle, but they can be important. Creating content in multiple languages helps acknowledge international or regional differences. Culture-specific messaging can establish trust. Inclusive marketing allows for better and easier access for those speaking different languages.
Some call English the “language of business.” It’s the most spoken first language in the world, and many living in countries around the world do speak English. However, not everyone speaks English or is fluent in English. If you fail to provide content in a customer’s language so that they can easily understand your message, you may not reach them at all—especially if your competitors are delivering content in their native tongue.
There may also be legal and compliance challenges. You will need to make sure that what you are discussing or recommending to customers in other countries abides by country customs, laws, and regulations.
On YouTube, it is easy to set up different channels and provide links from your main channel page. However, creating multi-language YouTube channels does create additional work.
The biggest disadvantage to multiple channels in different languages is the cost. You need to hire writers or translators who are proficient in the various languages while also being conversant in your company culture and product line to create relevant content. You may need to hire or recruit within your organization for native speakers to voice or host your content.
Even if you are developing the same content, just in a different language, there is also the additional time and cost to create multiple versions. You may need to create different versions of graphics, images, and slide shows, for example.
When you produce content in another language, you are also creating an expectation from the viewers. If they post comments to a video, you need to have someone monitoring the channel who is capable of responding in their native language as well. Establishing a dialogue on YouTube with potential or current customers is an important step in generating leads.
The same applies when customers call or send an email. Someone needs to be able to respond in kind in the appropriate language. This might mean staffing call centers differently since others will be located in different time zones.
Here's a surprising statistic Verizon and Publicis Media uncovered: 83% of consumers watch some videos with the sound off. Half of them rely on captions.
This requires captioning in the right language. While YouTube does generate automated captions, they can often be tragically wrong or inconsistent. That doesn’t speak well of your business. You can hire translation services or have your video producers create and upload captions, but this adds to the cost and time to produce videos. However, if you want to attract viewers in multiple languages, accurate captioning is important.
Another important step is to make sure you create titles and descriptions in the correct language. While Google is the largest search engine in the world, YouTube is the second-largest search engine. And it’s owned by Google, which also serves up YouTube results. Getting the title tags and meta descriptions in native languages will significantly help in search results.
Here are a few examples of YouTube channels and videos that high-tech companies are producing in different languages and how they are approaching this type of marketing.
Creating multi-language YouTube channels is a smart way to market more effectively to prospects and customers in their native language. It will add to the time and cost to produce additional content, so you want to make sure the ROI is there.