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YouTube has set its sights on a future where language barriers no longer pose a hurdle to global video content reach. Revealed at VidCon on Thursday, the Google company is testing an artificial intelligence (AI) tool for dubbing videos into different languages that’s set to transform online video.

The move is a collaboration with AI-powered dubbing service Aloud, a project of Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120. The goal is to allow content creators to tap into international markets seamlessly, opening doors for a more globally interconnected YouTube platform.

The Aloud Breakthrough

Earlier this year, YouTube introduced a multi-language audio track feature that enabled creators to add dubbed versions to their videos, thus making their content more accessible to a larger, more diverse audience. As reported by TechCrunch, more than 10,000 videos had been dubbed in over 70 languages by creators as of June.

Before the advent of Aloud, content creators had to collaborate with third-party dubbing providers, a process that could prove costly and time-consuming. With the AI dubbing tool, creators are now able to produce dubbed versions of their videos without any additional costs.

Launched by Google in 2022, Aloud is designed to transcribe videos for creators, then translate and produce a dubbed version. This allows creators to review and adjust the transcription before the dubbed version is generated.

AI Dubbing Put to the Test

Currently, hundreds of creators are testing the AI dubbing tool, with plans to make it accessible to all creators in the future. Aloud is available in three languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese, with plans to expand to other languages in the future.

Amjad Hanif, YouTube’s VP of Creator Products, revealed to the crowd at VidCon that efforts are being made to make the translated audio tracks sound as close to the creator’s original voice as possible, complete with accurate lip-syncing.

The company confirmed that, eventually, generative AI would allow Aloud to launch features like voice preservation, better emotion transfer, and lip reanimation.

Scaling Up With AI Dubbing: YouTube’s New Global Game Plan

While YouTube’s capacity to adapt to different markets is reflected in its current localization strategy. The platform customizes its services to match the needs of over 100 different countries. The social media platform is available in an array of 80 languages.

Interestingly, while English is a widely recognized language, it does not command a dominant presence on YouTube. The Pew Research Center’s findings give us an intriguing insight: two-thirds of videos from popular YouTube channels are predominantly in languages other than English.

Despite this, English-language content has shown a remarkable knack for gaining traction. Statistics indicate that English-language videos tend to amass approximately four times more views compared to those in other languages. This observation raises the question of the potential viewership that content creators might tap into if language barriers were lowered or even completely removed.

The AI dubbing tool, if it lives up to its promise, could be the answer to this question. By providing an automatic dubbing feature, YouTube could drastically improve the accessibility of content for a truly international audience. This doesn’t just open the door to new viewers; it invites them in, offering them content in their own language, making it more comprehensible and relatable.

The real possibility lies in reaching billions of potential viewers who were previously disconnected due to language barriers. This could usher in a significant boost to the platform’s existing reach, creating an even more diverse community of content creators and viewers.


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