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AI Subtitles can help a content creator achieve global stardom. But to fully leverage their potential, one must know how undervalued and effective this tool is. Once you know how AI subtitles help global content distribution, you’ll know how to cultivate a following that is independent of borders.
In this article, you will learn about the stars who are cultivating global appeal via captioned content. You will also discover how Hollywood and major studios have built billion-dollar franchises off the power of translation. What you learn in this resource might alter the course of your content creation strategy.
Borderless Content: A Brief Overview
In the past decade, there have been several Hollywood-China movie deals featuring Chinese movie stars alongside American box office draws. Streaming content producers have pivoted towards global appeal with diverse casting and selecting international filming locations.
It is becoming pretty obvious that even major studios cannot afford to think locally. Over 1.35 billion people speak English, and less than half a billion live in the US. So, you can reach a wider audience with English alone.
But billions of people who use the internet do not speak English. Similarly, millions of content creators do not produce content in English. Enter translated subtitles. The phenomenon that has changed the global content distribution game.
Content started becoming borderless with subtitles. Dubbing, of course, was another step in the direction of borderless content. But because dubbing can be expensive and not within the reach of most content creators, let's go over global success stories that rely on captions alone.
Global Content Success Stories
Subtitles have proved instrumental in increasing the cultural influence of countries like South Korea and Japan. Understanding how phenomena like Anime and KDramas have gained global relevance can help you see how you can use subtitles to build a global audience.
Bollywood’s Arabic Success
India has developed international goodwill because of its cultural export: Bollywood. An unlikely yet unwavering audience group of Bollywood doesn't even speak Hindi, the language of Bollywood. Bollywood films subtitled in Arabic have outperformed Arabic movies in Middle-Eastern Cinemas.
No matter where you are, chances are that you have heard of Anime. The Japanese animated tv series and movies that use comics called manga as their source are pretty popular in the US and in other countries.
Anime movies and TV shows can often be dubbed, but their core audience that doesn't speak Japanese still prefers consuming Anime with subtitles. Whether the subbed or dubbed Anime is better is a never-ending debate. But what's definitely true is that fanmade subtitles made it possible for Anime to make its first global crossover.
Kdramas and Kpop
With the rise of BTS and a lack of Western boybands, it seems like Korea is replacing America in its global influence. Psy's Gangnam Style brought KPop to the casual viewers' attention. But long before K-pop had a raving fanbase, K-dramas introduced Korean culture to the world.
Now, movies like Parasite have received international acclaim. And dubbing for mass distribution is a no-brainer. But the first-ever K-dramas to get global exposure were subtitled in English.
Soap operas made in Latin America received widespread exposure in the 90s. With simultaneous dubbing and subtitling, this form of media started to gain eyeballs among people who did not speak Spanish.
Directors, writers, and actors of these shows did not speak English yet had fans in English-speaking countries. It can be argued that Telenovelas paved the way for foreign Netflix Originals.
Foreign Netflix Originals
Money Heist and Squid Game are global hits that weren’t written or produced in English. Sure, millions of viewers consume these series with English Audio thanks to Netflix’s simultaneous audio-switching feature for dubbed content.
But many like to consume these originals in their native language. And they use subtitles to understand the narrative. The subtitles vs. dubbing debate has been going on for a while. But it is undisputable that subtitles enable millions of people to consume Netflix originals from other countries.
In fact, the success of foreign Netflix originals has ushered in an era of borderless content. And while major studios and entertainment providers can afford to have their content dubbed in multiple languages, smaller creators still need to rely on subtitles alone.
Creators Leveraging Subtitles for Global Appeal
Given that captioning content is easier than ever, thanks to AI, content creators can make their videos virtually borderless. Unfortunately, most creators are not leveraging this opportunity. The few content creators who use subtitles for global appeal have a massive headstart. Let's go over two success stories in borderless content that drive home this point.
MrBeast is the most subscribed individual on Youtube. His content is globally appealing and doesn’t require specific grammatical understanding for entertainment value. It does not rely on puns, wordplay, or rhymes, so it can be translated into other languages.
MrBeast has created channels like MrBeast en Español and MrBeast en Français to appeal to Spanish and French audiences, respectively. Aside from dubbing his content, he also captions his content in the language of his target audience.
He is one of the only major YouTubers to use subtitles to increase his content's international reach.
While Hasbullah’s appeal isn’t contingent on his eloquence, he needs to communicate with his audience. He is in a unique position where most of his followers speak English, while he barely speaks any.
So he resorts to using English subtitles. Even when he speaks English, he needs captions for clarity as he has a thick Russian accent. When he had an interview with Barstool Sports' Caleb Pressley, it was held up entirely by captions.
And if you ever have any doubts regarding the engagement value of subtitled content, remember that Hasbulla's interview featuring English subtitles got 14 million views.
What Type Of Content Can Get Global Distribution?
At this point, you might be interested in building a global audience with the power of AI subtitles. But before we get into that, we must go over the conditions your content must meet before it gets wider distribution.
These are the requirements for the content to be borderless:
It must not rely on wordplay - Wordplay is hard to translate.
It must not feature obscure references - Or the obscure references should not be integral to the content.
It must be story-driven or musical - Story and music have global appeal.
It must be visually engaging - Content must reward viewers for putting in the effort to read the captions.
As long as your content tells a story or engages people visually, the words can be conveyed via translated subtitles. And with the prominence of AI captioning, you can get your content out to an international audience without hiring a translator or even a video editor.
How AI Subtitles Are Set To Change Everything
AI Subtitles remove the need for hand-typing subtitles. As a result, content captioning is getting cheaper and more efficient.
Editors can use AI-powered transcription with platforms like ContentFries, while content creators who can't hire editors can caption their videos more easily.
But aside from making content captioning more accessible and quicker to pull off, AI subtitles are opening up other possibilities. Let's explore some of them.
Cross-Pollination Of New Stories
It has been a while since Walt Disney (the man) got inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's literary fairy tales and brought them to an American audience. Translation of Danish fairy tales to English scripts for the silver screen had a major impact on the West's collective consciousness.
But while Disney (the company) is resorting to remakes, it is time for new stories from different cultures to emerge. And while books were the leading medium of the 70s when Andersen published his works, we’re in the age of video now.
As Squid Game and Money Heist have proved, the only stories that cross cultural boundaries are told visually. And subtitles allow creators with budgets far smaller than Netflix's to get their narratives across borders.
Promoting Inter-Cultural Cohesion
Bigotry and racism arise from a place of fear. When a culture seems too foreign to people, they tend to villainize it. When stories from a culture are consumed across borders, there’s more cross-cultural empathy and understanding.
Ultimately, we are all humans struggling with human problems. And subtitled content can help drive this point by overcoming the language barrier that creates a disconnect.
Creating New Jobs
Aside from promoting cohesion and helping audiences discover new stories, AI subtitles can also impact the economy. Bilingual individuals can use AI captioning programs like ContentFries to subtitle content for creators who want to expand into new territories.
Moreover, people who have jobs already and don't have enough time to caption videos manually start a content captioning side hustle, thanks to AI. Instead of working for an hour to caption a video for $10, they can caption ten clips and make anywhere between $5 to $100.
Saving Time And Money For Creators
At any given point, there are two types of content creators. Those who are financially well off and can pay to get their content edited and those who have to manually edit their content. AI subtitles can help both.
The creators who edit their own videos can generate more clips because of the speed of AI-powered captioning and editing. And the creators who pay for content captioning can get cheaper services because captions aren’t typed manually.
Overall, AI is lowering the dollar value of captioning. And while that might seem like a bad thing for people who make money transcribing videos, it is actually good for them as well.
Improving Editors’ Output
AI subtitles can help video editors improve their video quality. Previously, editors and transcribers were judged on how quickly they could subtitle clips. And there's an upper limit to how good an editor can get at adding words to a video.
With AI taking over the job of transcription, editors can focus on standing out based on their quality, customer service, and vision. Instead of making their workdays all about transcribing as many words as possible within a set time frame, AI has made their days more about being creative and improving content quality.
Helping Creators Develop A Global Perspective
AI subtitles can help creators build a global audience. That much is obvious. But they also help creators consider an international audience. And that’s important. Previously, content creators were locked into one culture and language.
But now that AI-powered captioning makes it possible for them to translate their content for different audiences, they can start considering ideas that have global appeal.
When creators start thinking about content that can have entertainment value despite translation, they start creating content that can be syndicated and purchased later on. While the majority of content being created today is trend-driven, AI subtitles are making it possible for people to create genuine classics.
Global Perspective - How To Create Borderless Content
Whether you want to create content with classic, timeless, and global appeal, or you simply want to impact people regardless of the language they speak, you must develop a global perspective. In this section, you will discover how to create content that can resonate with more people with and without translated subtitles.
If you want your content to be consumed by all types of people regardless of the language they speak, you must think visually. Examples of visually-engaging content from two different eras are Mr. Bean and Khabe Lame.
Mr. Bean is an iconic sitcom that did not feature any dialogue. It was intentionally designed to have the silent-film slapstick humor in an era of audio-visual content. It became a global phenomenon that defined Atkinson's career.
More recently, a factory worker named Khabane Lame (a.k.a. Khabe Lame) became a global sensation for presenting straightforward approaches to convoluted life hacks. His content is 100% visual and isn't dependent on dialogue or words. And it has landed Mr. Lame a Hugo Boss deal.
Take Musicality More Seriously
BTS has proven an eternal truth; music is borderless. The recent rise of Latin pop is a testament to that as well. Music breaks geographic and linguistic barriers, which is why dance is such a popular content type. It incorporates musical and visual aspects.
For those who couldn't catch a beat or sing, content was language-bound until content captioning became accessible. Now that most creators can get their content translated into different languages, the only barrier keeping them from building a global brand is a psychological one.
If you can tell a story with character, conflict, and triumph, then it can resonate with people everywhere. But if your content doesn’t tell a story, then it isn’t very likely to resonate with people who aren’t familiar with your content’s themes.
Understand The Archetypes
Archetypes are forms of meta-characters who appear in all types of myths and stories. These are characters who we can contextualize in any story. The wise old man or the wise old lady, the evil witch, and the tyrant king are examples of archetypes. The tyrant king might appear as a CEO in your story.
And the evil queen might simply be your main character's stepmother. When you understand archetypes, you can position them in your content and even adopt them. This makes your content globally palatable and hence easy to consume with translated subtitles.
Be Careful With Humor
While humor works well in short-form content, it is far from the best option for global appeal. We laugh when a narrative, sentence, or word surprises us. And that's true regardless of borders. But the surprise comes from subverting expectations. That's where the problem lies.
Most of our expectations are set by our respective cultures. So, many jokes simply do not work for people who don’t understand the setup. Then, there are jokes that rely on wordplay.
For instance, “Why was six afraid of seven?” sets up the expectation that “seven is bigger” is the answer. Then it subverts the expectation with, “Because seven ate (eight) nine.” This would never work for someone who doesn’t understand English.
Cultivate Thriller Thinking
Finally, you must think like a thriller writer for your content to go viral in multiple countries. Bestselling thrillers are almost always bestsellers in multiple languages. While the original author is rarely the translator, the translation still works.
That's because thriller writers craft their work sentence-by-sentence to reel people in. And when those sentences are translated, they still inspire curiosity. So write your scripts like a thriller writer, and you will be amazed at how well they resonate with translated captions.