What Unbabel’s Translation as a Service can do for the media industry

Your video content has the potential to be global. And you want to go global. You want to go global from day one. What’s stopping you?

Just as companies should try to speak your customers’ language, video works best in a language tailored to your audience.

Of course, video translation is a traditionally slow process. To see why, math is easy for anyone to follow. According to industry standards:

  • There are about 150 words in a minute of video or audio
  • Audio transcription professionals estimate that 15 minutes of speech (2,2250 words) takes about 60 minutes to transcribe into the text.
  • A professional translator can translate approximately 2000 words in one day

Therefore, the best scenario for, for example, the average TED Talk, is an hour to transcribe, and then a full day for translation (per language!).

To do the same with the launch of an Apple iPhone, it would take 6 days.

And half a month to do it yourself for the movie Titanic.

With that kind of manpower, time and cost required, it’s no wonder that traditional means of transcription and translation are a big barrier to entry.

No more.

Why slow transcription and translation services weren’t really a problem

Everything changed on February 14. Valentine’s Day. Chocolates, roses, postcards and expensive dinners. It is also, and not many people know this, YouTube’s birthday. February 14, 2005. A day that would change the world… broad network.

Before 2005, video distribution was particularly well centralized. Large film studios, documentary makers, etc. have partners in all the countries that handle distribution, subtitling and dubbing. Different release dates allowed for the timely (and costly) process involved in video translation. The number of people involved was ridiculously high.

Suddenly, the Internet allows video content to reach everyone in the world. Make the video, upload it and you’re done. With the almost simultaneous increase of Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006), the videos started to share on a massive scale that had never been seen before.

What changed in the video translation?

When Now this and AJ+ discovered the secret formula of news content for the era of social networking, they stumbled upon some key elements. More than just relying on subtitles, the key phrases initiated appear directly in the video. This took advantage of an upward trend we’ve seen in another publication: 85%” of social network users watch videos without sound.

Instant access to independent professionals around the world also helped. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr and Remote allow you, as a company or department, to find individual translators for most languages. It’s handy on paper, but not so much in real life.

I had to rely on one of these websites to help me translate a blog into 8 different languages. The blog had about 300 articles. The time spent finding the right people, chasing them to meet deadlines, and then having someone review your quality work… we ended up having to hire 8 different full-time quality inspectors to deal with the stress. And when the finance department realized how many individual receipts they had to validate and pay, they could have recreated the red wedding.

YouTube started your automatic subtitle program in 2013. But it was never really great: as soon as it released you, it became a meme called YouTube Caption Fail. It’s still so bad, YouTube has admitted that it doesn’t automatically scan subtitles translated by keywords.

Facebook is also struggling with this. Last year, Facebook’s own captioning system helped by making Mark Zuckerberg’s speech go viral.

There seem to be no easy answers. Unlike Russia, you can’t trust YouTube or Facebook to do the dirty work for you. Freelancers can create as many problems as they solve. And he doesn’t want to hire a full-time team of translators (there’s no one who has room for that).

Who are you gonna call?

The professionals. It’s time to let the professionals take care of you.

A one-stop shop for video transcription and translation as a service. Powered by AI. With a network of 50,000 translators ready to use. All quality reviewed by professionals. If this sounds too good to be true, you can check for yourself: just turn on the subtitles and choose your language.

It’s accurate It’s fast. It’s scalable

It’s the kind of thing that makes the Financial Times name us as one of the 50 ideas that will change the world.

So now I ask again: if your video content has the potential to be global, and you want it to be global, what’s stopping you? Probably, you just haven’t given the professionals a chance: Unbabel for video.

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