YouTube now in Afrikaans and isiZulu

At the Google South Africa (G-SA) event held in Newtown, Johannesburg today (3 November 2011), the search giant unveiled two new languages for YouTube: Afrikaans and isiZulu.

Ian Parsons, Afrikaans language specialist at Google, explained that the Afrikaans version of YouTube had been available to a limited number of users, and that they are launching it publicly today.

According to Google, popular Afrikaans channels include Die Heuwels Fantasties, HuisegenootTempo, kanaalMK and Pasella TV.

For isiZulu, Google pointed to Mducomics as a “trumpet” for content in the language and also mentioned JusGorilla, which Google said allows users to easily find Zulu music.

In South Africa, Google said that YouTube views have increased by 175% in the past year and, according to a survey by Ipsos and TNS, 50% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones every month.

The full press release below:

Today YouTube – the place where anyone with a video camera and an Internet connection can share their life, art and voice with the world – has launched YouTube in two more local languages: Afrikaans and isiZulu.

The announcement was made today at the second annual Google South Africa (G-SA) event held in Newtown, Johannesburg. Here, over 30 Google experts from around the globe are meeting with businesses, marketers, entrepreneurs, and web developers to discuss the future of online business and web application development, and conduct training on Google’s products.

This announcement comes not long after the one year anniversary of the launch of the South African version of YouTube, which made it even faster and easier for local users to find and view the videos most relevant to them.

“The new language versions mean that Internet users whose first language is isiZulu or Afrikaans can now fully enjoy what YouTube has to offer,” says Luke Mckend, who delivered the keynote at the Newtown event.  “YouTube gives South Africans the power to broadcast themselves, with great content in both languages increasingly finding its way onto YouTube.  Popular Afrikaans channels include Die Heuwels Fantasties, HuisegenootTempo, kanaalMK and Pasella TV.  Meanwhile, Mducomics is a trumpet for isiZulu content and users can easily find Zulu music on JusGorilla.”

In South Africa, YouTube views have increased by 175% in the past year and, according to a survey by Ipsos and TNS, 50% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones every month.  Globally, more than 48 hours (two days worth) of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute – a 37% increase over the last six months and a 100% increase over the last year.  YouTube recently passed the 3 billion views a day mark, equivalent to nearly half the world’s population watching a YouTube video each day.  Around the world, 600 tweets per minute minute contain a YouTube video.

In addition to the standard YouTube experience, South African users have the option to watch videos with YouTube Feather.  This ‘light’ version only includes the site’s most basic features, to help ensure that those with low-speed Internet connections are able to play videos faster. YouTube Feather can be found in TestTube (http://www.youtube.com/testtube), the area on the site where new products are tested.

Commenting further on the announcement, Luke Mckend says, “YouTube has the world’s largest audience – video is a mode of communication that allows everyone’s voice to be heard.  There’s something for everyone on YouTube, from entertainment, education and sport, to activism and practical tips.  YouTube is also a place where culture is created and shared, so we’re looking forward to seeing more South African videos uploaded, including content in isiZulu and Afrikaans.”

Native Afrikaans and IsiZulu speakers can now join the movement to make YouTube their own by broadcasting themselves and their African stories, and sign up for an account.

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YouTube now in Afrikaans and isiZulu