It's not hard to understand why some YouTube channel owners and video creators seek out language translation services for their YouTube videos. Whether the request is for professional translation of subtitles or for initial dubbing processes, translation services are a must if a high number of YouTube views is a goal, and if your international audience is going to understand anything going on in the video. This is especially the case with languages that are very different from one another, such as English to Korean, and Korean to English translations.
We recently assisted a client with a professional Korean translation of her YouTube video, which entailed completely revising the poor translation that had been machine generated, and made absolutely no sense. The video was a fairly short video, not a full-length movie, and because we did not need to worry about timing, pauses between subtitle lines, and other detailed processes within normal subtitling translation services, we delivered the completed Korean to English translation of the YouTube video within a day.
Professional Subtitle Translation vs. Closed Caption Auto-Translation
Though YouTube video translations are not as frequent as many other types of translation services we provide, this project got me thinking about other videos, which instead of using reliable subtitle translation services as part of the upload process, instead rely upon auto-translation of closed captions for sharing the video with audiences of other languages.
The closed caption auto-translation method simply uses auto-translation on the closed captions of the original video language, which is Korean for the example video below. The closed captions are first selected and displayed in the original language, then the viewer selects "translate captions" and selects the language of choice. The captions are then auto-translated into that language - all of this happens post-production, relying solely upon MT.
This method, while in some cases may be better than nothing, is pretty much worthless for many language pairs. See for yourself in the example below, which are a few comedy skits from SNL Korea (Saturday Night Live).
*To view the (terrible) English translation:
1. Click on the closed caption icon to display closed captions in Korean language
2. In the same menu, select "Translate captions" and select English
Even on their blog, Google Translate marketing professionals and bloggers confront the issue of mistranslations head-on:
"...there are still plenty of situations where mistakes will occur. Furthermore, when these technologies work together, mistakes can be amplified so you may find some captions that don’t make much sense." ~ Andrew Gomez, Associate Product Marketing Manager, on GoogleTranslate blog.
Again, when languages are more similar to each other, MT tools like Google Translate can be better than nothing at all. However, if your YouTube video is very important to you, and/or meant to reach as many viewers as possible, it is certainly necessary to acquire video translation services. Whether you go through the dubbing process, or simply have subtitles translated professionally, the number of YouTube views will most definitely be much greater than if you rely upon auto-translation.