Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The Auddy team recently hosted a webinar all about multilingual podcasts. Our panel discussed:
- how to translate your podcast
- what markets you could consider bringing your podcast to
- how to adapt your content to different audiences and cultures
- how tech will help multilingual podcasts – and make podcasts much more accessible
And a whole lot more.
Here are some highlights from the webinar we’d like to share with you.
1. The rise of Spanish podcasts
While a majority of podcasts are English-language, other markets are growing at some very exciting speeds.
“The next big frontier if you like, from my point of view, is Spanish,” says Oli Thomas, Auddy’s Head of Strategy and Business Development.
In Edison’s Latino Podcast Listener Report 2022, they have revealed that 59% of US Latinos over 18 have listened to a podcast. And 34% of U.S. Latino adults are monthly podcast listeners. That’s about 15 million people.
Knowing this could be really valuable to you and your podcast. For example, when you look at your podcast’s analytics, are you noticing that lots of people in Spain, Latin America and other Spanish-speaking areas are tuning in? If you know you have a strong listenership here, perhaps they would like to see you launch a Spanish version of your show, which all of their friends and family could check out too.
Of course, Spanish isn’t the only language showing a lot of potential. For instance, after the global success of Squid Game, South Korean content seems to be kicking off. But you’ll have to watch our full webinar to hear more about that…
2. Not everything will translate well
Some podcasts are easier to translate and launch in new countries than others.
“Certain stories just won’t be of interest to local audiences,” says Lory Martinez, founder of the multilingual podcast company Studio Ochenta. “If you’re doing a show that’s just about German stories and you want to make it in Spanish, maybe the Spanish audience is not going to be so interested in German-local stories.”
You have to adapt. You have to lean into the interests, culture and tone of your new audience. What will they be able to relate to? What sense of humour do they have? What will they find entertaining?
Thinking about which genres tend to translate well, Oli says: “those that rely on a spoken narrative and are less talent-led – so true crime, fiction, documentaries – they are the ones that travel better.”
A narrative-style podcast is often easier to translate because, much like a book or a film, you are primarily translating a story. And the story is what hooks people – what draws them into the podcast. So, as long as the story remains strong, people will still listen.
On the other hand, if you have a chat show podcast, things can get tricky. Here, the thing that is drawing people in is the guests or the tone of the podcast. Capturing the essence of these podcasts and relaunching them to another market can be a very, very tough task.
“It’s very difficult to adapt a chat show,” agrees Lory. “If you adapt a show that is host-led, you’d have to find the equivalent host locally and basically re-record the entire show and create a different version [of it]. It’s almost like creating a franchise.”
3. Marketing is not one-size-fits-all
Imagine spending tonnes of time, effort, resources and money translating a show, only for your new audience to show no interest in it. This often happens if a show is poorly marketed. After all, how can somebody listen to a podcast if they don’t know it exists?
In order for your marketing to be successful, it has to be specific. It will differ from country to country because people differ from country to country.
Sophie Paluch, Auddy’s Acquisitions and Partner Manager, previously worked for Podimo, who release many multi-language podcasts. She explains how they would release podcasts with different artwork in different countries.
This is why it’s essential to do your research before you start releasing your show in new languages. You need to know who your new audience is, what they like, and what will hold their interest.
4. Video opens up new doors
More and more podcasts are incorporating video. And as this happens, it can potentially make shows easier to translate.
Let’s say you put your podcast up on YouTube – you can upload it with subtitles in various languages, enabling more people to enjoy it.
Lory points out that creators should also be thinking about video content on Instagram and TikTok.
“Now that there’s captions on TikTok, it’s very easy for content to go global,” she explains.
5. Podcast players need to improve
Lory tells us how Spotify is beginning to adapt their audio productions into multiple languages before they have even been released. Surely, with a big player setting an example like this, more will follow.
“Multilingual releases is something that’s going to be happening more and more on these platforms,” she says.
In agreement, Sophie says: “Spotify is probably leading the way there just because they have that platform that they can adapt and develop so quickly.”
But there’s still a long way to go. In terms of accessibility, and making podcasts easy to find in different languages, there’s a lot of work to be done.
If we continue to look specifically at Spotify, we know what wonders this platform can do for music. Every time you hop onto Spotify you’re welcomed with personalised content – playlists made for you, introducing you to new, exciting music. You could say the same about Netflix – they throw personalised lists and recommendations at their consumers, all in an effort to provide the best user experience possible and keep people coming back for more.
Podcasting needs to be the same. It needs to be more personal, more targeted, and easier for people from different backgrounds and languages to find content relevant to them.
6. Smart speakers will be a game-changer
As we scratch our heads about how apps and players can make podcasts more accessible, Sophie has an interesting point. She thinks that smart speakers have a lot of potential when it comes to getting multilingual podcasts in front of more people.
She explains that a long-term goal for smart speakers is that people could, “listen to a podcast on a smart speaker in Spanish, for example, and then you can stop the podcast and ask the smart speaker what that word means in English because you don’t quite understand the translation.”
Now that would be interesting…
That’s 6 highlights from our webinar, but there’s plenty more to discuss. In fact, you could argue we are only just scratching the surface here.