Alongside athletes from 88 nations gathering this week in Sochi, Russia, language translators are making the event consumable by TV viewers in living rooms across the globe.
Of 7 billion people in the world, only 6% speak English as their native language. An additional 19% identify themselves as proficient in English as a second language.
Eliminating language as a barrier to communication is a growing challenge for global brands. In many cases, it’s easier to establish local distribution networks for products than it is to effectively engage with key audiences through traditional and social media channels.
Michael Smolens is determined to ease the pain of content producers tasked with reaching global audiences, no matter what language they speak.
“It’s much more attractive and compelling and engaging if brands could communicate with them in their native language,” said Smolens, founder of the online video translation and subtitling site dotSUB.
Citing Cisco stats predicting 90% of Internet bandwidth will be consumed serving video by 2017, Smolens is gearing up for events like Sochi and the upcoming World Cup in Brazil so video content can be subtitled in dozens of languages.
“If language becomes second nature, we think this will make a better world,” he said.