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YouTube helps bridge language barriers

The late, great educator, philosopher and scholar Marshall McLuhan achieved much during his lifetime, but will be best remembered for popularising the term ‘global village’ back in the 1960s.

The Canadian professor was perhaps a little ahead of his time in realising that electronic mass media would eventually break down the barriers of time and distance that had thus far inhibited global communication from reaching its full potential.

Indeed, over the past ten or so years, the Internet has single-handedly smashed these barriers and has created an ‘open-all-hours’ online community where everyone is welcome. But there is still one barrier that inhibits true globalisation, and that is language.

And this is why YouTube has this month launched its new ‘auto translate’ feature, which essentially creates real-time machine translations of any captions and subtitles that users have added to their uploaded videos.

But whilst YouTube freely admits that the machine translations will not offer 100% accurate translations, they will at least help video creators reach a wider audience by offering ‘passable’ translations that represent something close to the original message.

With a few clicks of the mouse, users are now able to translate the on-screen text into over thirty other languages, meaning we are now one step closer to Marshall McLuhan’s vision of a true ‘global village’.


Lingo24 is a global translation company, with interests in marketing, e-commerce, product management and many other areas that are of relevance to our clients. We share news on our company performance, innovative technology solutions, exciting new hires and guest posts from some of our translators.

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