Back to articles

Translating YouTube Videos at Scale in the Age of AI

AI localization is the future and next big strategic priority for YouTube channel distributors.
May 3, 2024

Granted, many big channel creators are already finding ways of applying AI. However, not many use it in ways that have proved themselves through countless user cases: namely, AI dubbing or AI voice-over and scaling for FAST video translation and localization. Most creatives are still living in a logistical nightmare with too many steps and a full-time job attached to vendor management. Here is a prime example: one of the top American YouTubers, MrBeast with over 250 million YouTube subscribers has had to involve a whole army of localization translators and video professionals around the world to deliver his videos to viewers worldwide in their preferred languages and linguistic formats. 

AI is introducing opportunities for process optimization and scaling localization as no other tool has, and we’re here to seize this promise. In this article, we consider the options available for creators that leverage AI, the cutting-edge AI applications in localization, and a solution that is available to YouTube creators who are willing to innovate, expand, and grow.

Fulfilling AI Promises for YouTube Content

We know that AI solutions are at times banking on hype and overpromising, especially where a great demand for optimization exists. Let us consider the realistic benefits and opportunities for AI integration to have a real impact where video localization for YouTube is concerned.

Growing Engagement 

The obvious goal of localization and translation is to reveal the content to new audiences, expanding around the globe. This includes tapping into viewership who have a specific format or language preference, as well as those who can not access the original programming at all due to a lack of accessibility or language skills. By opening the same content up to new viewers, creators can amplify the engagement funnel, ultimately bringing in more subscribers and scaling the opportunities for monetization.

Finding Global Audiences

The biggest gift of the internet has been the ability to create niche and specialized communities across different regions of the world. Even if the content theme or subject matter is narrow, it might find its viewers if it has a greater reach, which is easy to achieve with thorough AI localization. 

Improving SEO Stats

Optimizing for search engines and YouTube’s internal algorithms is too big an opportunity to miss out on. This is the primary way of getting exposure and monetizing in this digital ecosystem, and why not take advantage of it? YouTube video translation helps improve the content’s position in rankings and widen its reach. For instance, those videos show up in search results when viewers type queries in their preferred language, since the localized YouTube videos are available.

Standing Out Among the Competition

Gone are the days when quality creators stood out on YouTube and gained thousands of subscribers organically. Today, the competition is fierce, and any opportunity to increase the return on the creator’s investment is significant. Localizing the content allows YouTubers to access niche markets, underserved languages and regions while establishing themselves as trailblazers and culturally sensitive creators. All these advantages serve to distill one’s reputation and cultivate a larger following.

Finding Financial Advantages

A larger audience means a greater potential for monetization – simple as that. YouTube offers robust opportunities for increasing revenue, from ads to sponsorships and integrations, but to leverage these effectively a creator has to reach enough viewers. 

Building a Positive Public Image

Delivering content that aspires to reach audiences beyond the creators’ own promotes equity and builds up the creator’s profile. In an ecosystem where Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion count, people with diverse identities feel respected and seen, which could create a positive relationship and higher rate of engagement with the translated video, even when the translation is not needed. Simply put, when a creator invests in localization, a message is sent that diverse viewers are valued and welcome, which is a strong stance for the YouTube creator’s authentic image.

YouTube Dubbing Downfalls and Challenges:

Building Reputation through Quality

Translation – such as subtitling and closed captioning – and dubbing are essential for a YouTube channel: with these tools, audiences for a single project can grow almost exponentially, beyond the creator’s own language and culture. However, when those localization tools are of low quality, the channel’s reputation is on the line: countless viewers have considered infractions and errors to be signs of disrespect.

Conveying Nuance

Speaking of quality, a common error made by machine translation, including that delivered by the YouTube platform, is literality that often leads to misunderstandings. In many cases, cultural nuances are significant for the content to be received as made for a particular audience, not foreign to it.

Turnaround Time

The need for translation and dubbing adds an extra production stage that involves language and subject matter experts, voiceover actors, and other support staff. It’s in the channel managers’ best interest to release the videos on schedule and as soon as possible.

Data-driven Tools for Engagement

The subtitles are not just there to engage the active viewers: they get indexed on search engines and allow more viewers to find the content. Optimizing for those search engines with keywords and formatting is a major opportunity that is easy to disregard and lose out on the benefits.

Exorbitant Pricing

Above all, dubbing at a studio is expensive, if only because of the sheer number of team members involved. Needing to translate into multiple languages, involving rare dialects, using more than a single voice – each of these common scenarios automatically increases the price. Additionally, making edits in post also necessitates covering the talent time in the studio.

Benefits to Blending AI and Human Curation:

Cutting Costs

Compared with traditional dubbing, a mixed solution allows talent to do what talent does best, while optimizing the humans’ time investment and letting the algorithms take care of routine tasks and simple adjustments in translation and dubbing. 

Faster Delivery 

The turnaround time for end-to-end voiceover is 3 times shorter when compared to studio dubbing. The workflows are also very straightforward: schedules don’t need to be stretched or deadlines pushed back because of the need for post-production tweaks.

Cultural Relevance

Despite the initial visions for what AI would be able to achieve, the technology is just not there to fulfill the fantasy of full automation. This is especially true for complex content targeted to sophisticated audiences and niche communities. Human proof-listeners are well-versed and much better equipped than AI at catching cultural subtleties and nuances of language and intonation. This means that the mixed AI-powered, human-curated solutions produce video translations that engage the specific target audiences without alienating them with errors or unnatural traits.


Production value is naturally variable, especially where multiple studio teams and human translators are involved. Enter the automated solution that enables consistency in tone and sound quality in AI voice-over and dubbing, leveling the viewing experience and making videos resonate with consistent tone and style.

Dubformer’s AI Dubbing Solution

A trendsetting company with in-house R&D, Dubformer offers AI-powered dubbing and video translation into 70+ languages. The cutting-edge solutions include top AI technology, including soundalike generation that produces a natural-sounding target voice that is similar to the original speaker’s. Notably, the voices that are being generated are natural-sounding; the quality control for this feature is done by human experts, who meticulously review and refine the output. Another notable advantage is the solution’s ability to dub multiple speakers at the same time, without a limit to how many voices overlap. Dubformer aims to revolutionize the dubbing industry by addressing challenges in multilingual content distribution and ultimately enhancing viewer experiences worldwide.

For a case of successful AI dubbing production for YouTube, read on about our partnership with Little Dot Studios.

Get started with AI dubbing today

Book a call with our team and learn what solutions will fit your needs.
In a brief call, we will:
Share how Dubformer can assist with content localization.
Speak in more detail about our solutions and technology that enable broadcast-quality results.
Discuss your unique case and pick the optimal solution for you.