Democratizing Content: How AI Subtitles Break Language Barriers


AI Subtitles have become the new norm in content creation, with Youtubers and online influencers using programs like ContentFries to make auto-captioned videos in multiple languages. You can see well-captioned short-form clips going viral every day. But aside from benefiting the creators who use AI subtitles, this type of captioning also impacts the audience.

In this article, you will learn more about how AI subtitles can help you achieve global stardom alongside the current benefits of caption translation and cheap subtitling solutions powered by AI. Towards the end, you will also discover how to make content that can resonate with people in different countries when translated with ContentFries. But first, let’s go over AI subtitles at a glance.


AI Subtitles - What Are They, And How Do They Work?

You might notice the term AI being thrown around a lot. From AI-powered cashiers to AI-driven cars, plenty of futuristic possibilities are being discussed. But some AI-backed services have already become a reality. And among them are AI subtitles.

AI captions are captions generated via AI speech recognition. Unlike manually transcribed subtitles, these captions are created entirely by the power of technology. Words are turned into digital signals, which are then cross-referenced with the algorithm's own training. With deep learning, subtitle generators can pretty accurately turn speech into text for video captioning.

The main benefit of AI subtitles is that they break cost barriers. Reducing the cost of content captioning means that content subtitling isn't a luxury that only major studios can afford. Now, small content creators can also make subtitled content.

Aside from making content captioning accessible, AI-powered subtitle generators also reduce the time it takes to caption content. For the online content sphere, that means speedy and timely uploads. Your favorite commentary content creator is now able to upload captioned shorts and reels on the latest event much quicker than if he was using manual transcription.

Another great thing about AI subtitling is that it is scalable. Highly scalable. You can create 50+ well-captioned clips in the time it would take you to cut and transcribe five clips. This kind of scalability allows creators to produce a higher quantity of better-quality content.

You sum up the benefits of AI subtitles with one word: accessibility. AI captions are accessible to creators and consumers. More content creators can use AI-powered captions. And because more content is subtitled, more people can watch captioned clips.

There is a whole host of benefits of this:

  • Content is more attention-grabbing - Subtitled videos are more engaging because they occupy the viewer’s attention with text as well as audio and visuals. \

  • People with hearing impairments can enjoy captioned clips - People hard of hearing, as well as those who can't understand certain accents, can enjoy subtitled content. \

  • Neurodivergent individuals have an easier time with subtitles - Those who have trouble focusing on audio can take comfort and guidance from subtitles.


Subtitles And Translation

One rarely discussed advantage of AI subtitling is that it is helping creators make their content borderless. Many content creators couldn't get their content to a foreign audience because they didn't find captioning and translation services feasible.

With AI captions, entertainers and educators have two paths for translating their content.

Human Translation

The first option is to pay a translation agency to translate your content transcripts for you. Because you can double-check the accuracy of captions in your native language, you can afford to outsource this task to AI.

But when it is time to translate your content, you might not trust Google Translate or other online translation tools. If that's the case, you can get your caption translated manually. The advantage, of course, is the accuracy, but the drawback is that you have to pay more for the translation.

Google Translate / Translation Engine

The second option for foreign subtitles is to use a translation tool. Google Translate is by far one of the best translation tools online. Its latest update is AI-powered and can translate based on context.

Even the ContentFries caption translation engine is powered by Google Translate's API (along with DeepL). The advantage of using such tools for translation is their cost-effectiveness. And the disadvantage of potential inaccuracies can be offset with proofreading.

Regardless of which way you learn, having your initial transcription done by AI is the best course of action. After that, you can use human translation or AI-powered contextual translation. Either way, what matters is that you can easily afford foreign subtitles.


The Impact Of Foreign Subtitles

Being able to get your content subtitled in other languages is a serious advantage and a major opportunity. Remember, previously, the studios that leveraged foreign subtitling managed to create globally valued IPs. Let’s go over some instances that highlight the impact of foreign subtitles.

Anime (Japanese)

Anime refers to Japanese animated motion pictures and TV series. It has gained global popularity and shapes entire markets. There are hundreds of anime adaptations and millions of toys sold worldwide, all off of Anime's popularity.

Even games like Pokemon owe their popularity to Anime. Fan subs (fan-generated subtitles) played a crucial role in turning Japanese Anime into a global phenomenon. So, with no subtitles, there would be no global anime boom. No pokemon, No Dragon Ball Z, and no Naruto.

K-Dramas (South Korea)

Korean content has proven to be universally appealing despite its language barrier. While its demand has sparked a dubbing sub-industry within Korean entertainment, South Korean dramas were first made accessible with English subtitles.

To this day, many K-drama lovers enjoy them with Korean audio and English subtitles. And by making Korean culture and customs more accessible to international audiences, subtitles have, in a manner speaking, paved the way for K-pop.

So, if you like BTS, you have to thank translated subtitles for making Korean content accessible to a global audience. Without subtitles, Korean content would have a much smaller audience.

Telenovelas (Spanish)

Subtitles can also be credited with finding a modern American audience for Latin American content. Spanish soaps were first introduced to the US in the late 1970s. But it was in the 1980s when their popularity skyrocketed. Soon, they were in demand in Europe as well.

In the case of Telenovelas, dubbing was the first mode of translation. Initially, most telenovelas imported to North America were dubbed. But as these series’ popularity began to wane, most people assumed that the content category would never recover.

And that's where subtitles saved the day. Netflix was one of the first streaming service providers to go global. As it acquired licenses to stream local content in different countries, it accumulated a wide library of Spanish content. Because it was meant to be consumed by Spanish speakers, it wasn't dubbed in English.

But as is the case with almost anything Netflix, the content did have subtitles in multiple languages. After a while, the streamer's data scientists discovered something: people were consuming Spanish content in North America and Europe. This discovery paved the way for international foreign hits Squid Game and Money Heist.

Bollywood (India)

Indian content has achieved international acclaim with movies like Slumdog Millionaire. But its traditional romantic musicals found a foreign audience long before its Oscarworthy flicks were distributed to theatres.

Arab people are among the biggest consumers of Indian films. While there are entire TV channels dedicated to broadcasting Arabic-dubbed Bollywood films, theatres in Arab countries still rely on subtitles.

Bollywood movies distributed to cinemas in Dubai, Doha (Qatar), and other Arab regions bear Arabic captions. So, one can credit subtitles with bringing Bollywood to the Arab world.

In other words, translated subtitles have popularized at least four types of content. And that was before the age of AI subtitles when only major entertainment providers could afford foreign language captioning. But with AI subtitling, you do not need to be an Arab movie distributor, a Japanese anime studio, or a Spanish soap producer to get your content across the border.


The Effects Of AI Subtitles Breaking Language Barriers

Because content captioning is available to small creators thanks to AI tools like ContentFries, the digital content consumption landscape is changing. Let’s explore the positive effects of AI subtitles and foreign language content translation.

Allowing Small Creators To Acquire Foreign Fans

By bringing foreign subtitling to small content creators, AI is making it much more feasible for them to build global fanbases. Small creators do not need to hire professional translators or transcribers to get international attention. They can just focus on creating high-quality content and let AI do the rest.

Promoting Cross-Pollination Of Cultures

A very significant benefit of AI subtitles is that they allow cross-distribution of content across cultural barriers. Well-captioned videos from one country can go viral in a country that is oceans apart. This helps people in one region learn more about the culture and customs of another region.

Reduce Bigotry And Othering

Bigotry often stems from the fear of the unknown. People are more likely to villainize races and countries they don't know much about. By promoting cross-cultural content consumption, AI subtitles can help fight racism and bigotry.

Promote International Solution-Seeking

The information age has revolutionized problem-solving. With the help of the internet, we can learn about issues faced by people we would never meet. UN and other NGOs use subtitled content to bring the voice of foreign refugees and people in need to those who don't understand their native language.

Create Cross-Cultural Empathy

AI subtitles facilitate communication between groups that don’t speak each other’s languages. And by facilitating inter-language dialogue, they ultimately drive home the point that we are all humans. This kind of empathy contributes to global peace and conflict resolution.


Are AI Subtitles Right For Me?

By now, you understand that AI subtitles are changing the world one piece of media at a time. In some ways, they are even contributing to world peace. But unless you are a global peace advocate, that isn't as important to you as what AI subtitles can do for you.

Just like any content creator, AI captions bring you the benefit of acquiring a global audience. But before you invest in caption translation, you must know if AI subtitles are even right for you. After all, you don’t want to have a content captioning subscription if you make dance videos exclusively.

Does Your Content Feature A Dialogue?

Even within dance content, you might need captions if your videos are tutorials. As long as there is dialogue in your content, you'll benefit from AI content captioning. This applies to monologues as well. Examples of content with words that should be subtitled include skits, stand-up comedy, lectures, and video essays.

Is There Any Word Value In Your Content?

Generally, the rule of thumb is that if there are words in your content, you might as well include captions. But sometimes, the words might not be the most valuable part of the video. For instance, if you make free running or parkour videos, then every "let's go" or "yes!" doesn't need to be co-stated with captions.

Is Your Content Consumed Via Social Media?

The final question to ask yourself is whether your content is consumed online. Because social media is a very distracting context, you need your videos to have as high an engagement value as possible. And having subtitles in your content can help your audience stick around longer.


Are AI-Translated Subtitles Right For Me?

Now that you've gone over whether or not AI captions are right for you, it is time to look at whether you should invest in translating your captions to a foreign language. Most content can be consumed by people all over the world with sufficient translation.

However, there are some content categories that don't have high cross-cultural appeal despite translation.

Is Your Content Culturally Entrenched?

If your videos are so specific to your region that no one outside of your city or town will find value in them, you should probably not bother translating your existing catalog. But you can focus on expanding your content horizons.

Does Your Content Need To Be Explained When Translated?

If translation alone doesn’t work and your videos need explanation as well, then you should stick to native language subtitles. Not all content is equally enjoyable on a global level.

Is Your Content Story-Driven?

Story-driven content is generally enjoyed by people from different cultures and in different countries. The more of a story your videos have, the better they will perform with translated subtitles.


How Do You Create Content With Global Appeal?

So you've set your eyes on global stardom. Great. Now, let's explore the things you can do to increase your content's global appeal. These are, of course, in addition to translating your subtitles.

Focus On Universal Character Types

For thousands of years, humans have created and shared art, stories, and poems. And time and time again, certain character types have reappeared. These are known as the archetypes. If you feature archetypes in your content, you improve the chances of people from other countries relating to them.

Archetypes like the wise old man or the reluctant hero resonate across cultural and geographic boundaries. They are psychologically significant tropes, and studying them can help you as a content creator.

You might want to embody a certain character type. Or you may want to write one into a narrative you're filming. You can always adapt the archetypes according to your content style. But studying them is quite important.

Discuss Globally Relatable Problems

Not all creators use stories, though most should. If your content format is free of scripted stories, then discussing globally relevant topics is the next best thing you can do to have cross-cultural appeal.

Abstract issues like existential anxiety, as well as tangible issues like wealth inequality, are just a few topics you can get started with. Reading global news and looking at problems that face us on a planetary level can give you plenty of discussion ideas.

Make Your Content Story-Driven

While embodying archetypes can definitely help your content, you can multiply your platform's growth rate with story-driven content. Of course, boring stories don't really yield results, so you have to get good at crafting and telling stories.

Getting better at storytelling is something that pays dividends regardless of how global or local your content is. Take a story writing workshop if you have to. But don't let the story aspect of your script be the weak one.

Add Musicality And Visual Appeal

Any discussion about global appeal would be incomplete without addressing the resonance of music. Song and dance can cross cultural barriers without the need for translation. And while every creator can't dance, most creators can use good music in their videos.

Adding musicality to your videos will make them more appealing to your viewers, but be mindful of the true value of your content. In a music video, the soundtrack plays a primary role. In a lecture, it is supplementary. Whatever is of primary value must be communicated clearly.


Final Thoughts

As a content creator or marketer, you are always looking to grow your audience. And one way to grow your fanbase is by using AI subtitles. Auto-generated captions can make your videos more engaging. But when you use platforms like ContentFries that can auto-caption your videos and translate their subtitles, you can cross language barriers and cultivate a global community.