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Twitch Streaming in English or Your Own Language?

By 4 December, 2017 No Comments

This is something that I get asked a lot that I haven’t really touched on before. I’ve always had a pretty strong opinion about it that I’ve shared with those that have asked. That hasn’t changed over the past years—and with certain changes to the Twitch UI that opinion have only grown stronger—so I wanted to share these thoughts with you.

The current state of afairs

Twitch have made strides to give a better experience for finding your native tongue. They’ve added more and more language tags that that one you browse the popular section with. It makes finding your language (if it’s in the list) a breeze to find.
Making the common practice of putting the language in the title of the stream. Yet we are still seeing streams that do put some of the weirdest combinations of language tags right there in the title.
I’ve heard different reasons for having the split. One of them being that they do two languages in their stream. As an example they might do a lot of it in English and some of it in Italian. Or English simply isn’t their first language—but they do not speak their language on stream.

Putting the language in the title?

I would not do it if your stream has one of the available language on Twitch. Those initial spots can be used for other things. If people really want to find streams in their language they’re probably using the drop down menu and not actively looking through to find their country code.
There’s an argument for when your language isn’t in there. Even if it’s going to be a lot harder to naturally find your stream for viewers it at least gives them a visual cue. Still, at the end of the day, you’re going to need to rely on other ways to drive viewers to your channel.
If English is your second language but you actually only stream in English then don’t put your native tongue language in there. You’re giving the wrong impression on two fronts. You’re telling English speakers that they might not always understand what you say and you’re telling those of your native language that you’re stream is not 100% for them.
The only time you should put that split (example: ENG/ITA) is when you’re actually doing a larger portion of your stream in those languages.

English will for sure get me more viewers, right?

The reason we often see split language channels is due to this. The notion that if you cover both your native language and the English language you suddenly have a larger audience. 
If we look at it from a metric stand point it is a correct statement. More people do speak English, as a first or second, than any other language. 
However when we take it more thing into consideration all of a sudden we’ve turned that upside down. The reason being that your actually reach and attention changes. The larger the wide audience is the smaller fish in a bigger pond you are—at the start. Of course we can adjust this by digging deep into who our target audience is. However that isn’t always clear nor is it always the right call when you’re starting out and trying to figure out your target audience with practice.
“Oh but I don’t want to end up getting stuck in a small pond as a large fish”… no one, hopefully, is arguing that it’s a thing on the internet. The thing is that once you’re a big fish in a small pond… move to larger pond. That’s how you evolve your brand forward. You take the next logical step and maybe that is extending your native language stream to English viewers as well. At the end of the day it comes down to understand who you are, your target audience and your brand.
Of course doing these larger changes will also come with people leaving your stream. However that’s the same no matter if or if not you started in native language or not. Say you started with a specific game and eventually you outgrow the size of the audience. Well then you have the very same situation. The difference is that you have a lot more leeway when you’re growing a stream with native language.

What works for you works for you

I get that it’s not really the answer you came here to get. That’s why I’m putting it up front. It’s important no matter where you land after this article that whatever you choose works for you. 

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