Dec 27, 2022
5 min read
Indians love their entertainment – both in video and music format. It’s something that defines us as a culture, cutting across linguistic and regional differences.
What’s more, how Indians consume entertainment reveals a lot about Indian cultural preferences. India’s most beloved movies and TV shows, are, of course, all in Indian languages. Sure, we love Hollywood movies, but Indian language media reigns supreme.
It’s no surprise then, that this preference makes itself felt on the digital medium too. On digital devices, you need to choose an interface language before you use your device, and English is usually the default. Despite that, most popular online entertainment is in Indian languages, even if it is indexed using English.
With greater technological awareness and mobile device penetration, more and more Indians have been using the internet in their own language. There are around 300 million Indian language internet users today, and 90% of them already use digital platforms for entertainment. The average Indian netizen spends 14% of their time online on entertainment.
A popular way to access entertainment, in this case both video and music content, is through streaming. Streaming lets a user access content in real time. All they need to do is select their preferred content from a library, or search for what they want, and hit play.
It’s easy to see why streaming is popular. It has a very low entry barrier, is intuitive, and lets you access huge stores of content with just a few clicks. No wonder then, that traditional broadcasting is increasingly under threat from streaming.
Given their popularity, and how Indians prefer content in their own language, it logically follows that a lot of Indians would want to access streaming platforms in their own language as well. Unfortunately, however, this is not so simple. Most major streaming platforms are not localized, and are English only.
This is where localization comes into play. This localization, however, needs to account for the nature of these streaming platforms themselves – search dependent, with lots of static content and proper nouns.
The problems faced and solutions needed apply to both video and music streaming platforms, with only minor differences.
The first point of contact any user has with a platform is the platform’s own interface.
Opening the platform should first prompt the user to select their preferred interface language. Language selection buttons should be placed.
Streaming platforms tend to have short text strings, mostly listing genres and titles & artists, with the rest taken up by preview buttons and promotional images. Menus and pop up prompts, as well as notifications add to that.
Libraries as well as navigation pages, pages for search results, generally follow the same structure.
These are mostly static text strings, and can easily be localized by translating them. However, artist names and titles are proper nouns, and need to be transliterated instead, converting only the script.
Summaries & Descriptions
Pages generally feature synopses and descriptions of content, including summaries for videos, short news snippets, explanations for features, and more. These generally follow the same rules as interface localization, but the content here differs in volume.
Indic Search & Indian Language Input
Streaming platforms rely heavily on search and discovery. With their massive libraries, it would be impossible to display everything at once. Search helps users make sense of their options and lets them find what they want.
In order to search, you need input that lets you type in the language you want to search in. A search bar should have a built in keypad for the selected language, allowing users to type directly in the language of their choice.
For search to support Indic typing and queries in Indian languages, the engine needs to index pages such that they can be discovered no matter what language or script is used. ಲಗಾನ್ (Lagān) should take you to the Hindi movie, अलैपायुदे कण्णा (Alaipāyude Kaṇṇā) should take you to the Tamil song.
A Hindi speaker may want to watch a Bengali movie, and an Assamese speaker may want to listen to the latest Malayalam hit. Not that rare in this day and age. Streaming platforms need to account for this with cross lingual search.
When content descriptions are localized, they can be indexed for search in different languages too. An album description or a movie description should be discoverable regardless of which language the content itself is in and which language you’re searching in. A user should be able to search for a Hindi movie’s summary in Assamese or a Manipuri album description in Tamil.
To learn more about Indic search, read our post on how it works and why you need it.
People don’t only watch and listen to movies and music in their own language. They sample and enjoy them from other cultures, other languages as well.
That’s where captions come into the picture. They help users understand content that is not in their own language. Captions help streaming platforms because it helps them ensure that content made for one user base can be enjoyed by all users.
How Reverie Can Help
Bringing entertainment to the Indian masses is mostly an easy job, as long as your content is great – the average person is always hungry for new content.
What can make a crucial difference though, is the way these options are presented. The way these options are made accessible to the average Indian online.
Localizing can give streaming platforms the giant push they need.
We at Reverie Language Technologies offer a complete Language-as-a-service (LaaS) suite that handles localisation end-to-end. Streaming platforms need transliteration, translation, input solutions, and Indic search, all of which are included in our LaaS suite. Our database includes vocab sets tailored to different verticals, to provide better accuracy.