YouTube is launching a multilingual audio video dubbing feature, previously tested by Mr. Beast

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The Korean-language Netflix series “Squid Game” became one of the streaming service’s most popular shows of all time, thanks to the ability to subtitle or dub episodes in the viewer’s native language. Now similar technology is coming to YouTube for the wider creator economy. YouTube today announced it is rolling out support for multilingual audio tracks, allowing creators to add dubbing to their new and existing videos, helping them reach international audiences.

Not only does the feature benefit creators who may be able to connect with a wider audience, it also helps YouTube itself as it expands the reach of the videos on its platform.

The company says the technology to support multilingual audio tracks was built in-house at YouTube, but creators must work directly with third-party dubbing providers to create their audio tracks. Once uploaded, viewers can choose another audio track from the same menu where they can currently adjust other settings such as subtitles or audio quality. It is up to the creator to choose which other language to support.

Image Credits: YouTube/Mr Beast

However, in early tests of the feature that YouTube ran with a small group of creators, the feature was used in more than 3,500 videos uploaded in more than 40 languages, YouTube says. More than 15% of the watch time of the dubbed videos last month came from viewers watching the video in a language other than the original recording. YouTube also says viewers watch more than 2 million hours of dubbed videos on its platform every day in January alone.

Initially, the feature will only be supported on YouTube’s long content, but the company tells us it’s already testing the feature on Shorts as well.

With today’s launch, we understand that thousands of makers outside of the original test group will now have access to the new functionality. The option to customize a video’s audio track, meanwhile, is rolling out globally across YouTube, where it will be available on desktop, mobile, tablets, and TVs.

The well-known inventor Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson), who has 130 million subscribers worldwide, was part of the early test group. He listed his 11 most popular videos in 11 languages ​​to attract more international viewers to his channel. In an interview with YouTube’s Creator Insider, Donaldson explained why the feature was useful, noting that it’s easier to upload multilingual audio tracks than to manage and maintain several separate foreign-language channels.

“It’s much easier to use one channel than 12…you have to make 12 different thumbnails. You have to reply to comments at 12, upload at 12. It’s so much easier to have it in one central place. And besides, it’s a lot easier for the fans,” said Donaldson. “Whether you are in Mexico…[or] in india all the dubs are in one place, on one video, so it’s also just a lot easier for people to understand.

Eligible creators who gain access to the feature will be notified with an invitation offering them the chance to participate. Once they have access, they can use the new option in Creator Studio.

YouTube declined to share how it determined which creators were eligible or how many would be invited in this first expansion, saying only the number was in the “thousands”. It also didn’t say when the option would be generally available to more creators, but says it’s working towards that goal.

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