Social audio app Clubhouse on Wednesday said it is rolling out its first wave of local language support for Android phone users with 13 new languages, including Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu. The platform, which has seen strong growth momentum in the Indian market, will also roll out a replay feature for users soon that will allow users to listen to the conversations from the room once it ends.
Aarthi Ramamurthy, Head of International at Clubhouse, said local language was a highly requested feature. ”We’ve talked to so many of our users in India over the past few months and this is one of the things that always is pretty much on top of the list. This is just the beginning. India is a country of hundreds of languages. We are starting with these five and we are going to keep adding more and more language support,” she told reporters.
Clubhouse will be adding support for iOS (Apple devices) and additional languages soon, she added.
Ramamurthy said local language support will be available for features like prompts, notifications and descriptions. Besides, onboarding (when the user joins the app) can also happen in these 13 languages.
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Many of the features will be easier to understand, including things like community guidelines and other resources that are made available to users in the app, she explained.
The other languages that will be available include French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Spanish.
Ramamurthy said while Clubhouse does not break down country-specific user numbers, India is a ”large market” for the platform and ”strategically very important” for it.
Clubhouse, which competes with Twitter’s Spaces, has seen huge growth with the number of rooms created in a day going from 3,00,000 earlier this year to 7,00,000 now, and average time spent by listeners in a day at 70-plus minutes. ”We want to make sure that both creators and listeners are finding value and building communities on the platform. “In the recent past, we launched ‘Creator First’ programme for India…conversations that are lightweight and entertaining like Bollywood rooms or cricket rooms and serious conversations like culture and politics, there is a huge diversity of conversations in India (on Clubhouse), and we are really excited to continue to invest in that,” Ramamurthy said.
Clubhouse co-founder Paul Davison said the company wants people to be able to experience Clubhouse ”in a way that feels native to them”. ”This (new rollout) is going to make Clubhouse feel more native, easier to navigate, more accessible to billions more people around the world…people who might have been a little hesitant to use Clubhouse because they don’t speak English,” he noted.
Davison said Replay – which is ”launching very soon” – will provide creators the option to enable replays for a room that they’re starting. If replays are enabled, then anyone will be able to listen to that room on Clubhouse after it has ended. ”So if they missed it live, they can search for it using the universal search feature…as the creator of the room, you can also download the full episode and you can do whatever you want with it, it’s your content. You can create a podcast out of it, you could upload it,” he added. Clubhouse co-founder Rohan Seth said ‘Replay’ is going to allow creators to build a consistent presence on Clubhouse, while also helping the platform to grow.
”The next wave of growth will come through things like localisation. Take a place like India, where you have hundreds of different languages spoken, it’s critical that we localise it (Clubhouse), so people can experience it in a way that feels native to them. Things like Replay is going to power additional growth too,” he added.
Asked about the steps taken to protect users on the platform, Davison noted that there are ”bad actors in the world” and that the company has focussed on three pillars – policy, people and product – to ensure trust and safety of users. ”It’s about having the right policies – both external and internal, about having thoughtful product features and internal tools that you can use to scale these systems,” he said, adding that the platform offers various features like blocking and reporting.
Clubhouse said it is also ushering in a new app icon, Anirudh Deshmukh, a creator in India. ”He’s part of an incredible corner of Clubhouse where hundreds of different languages are spoken. And just like his predecessor Mandiie Martinez, founder of the Chingona AF club, Anirudh is a multi-hyphenate human with many talents. He’s an architect turned singer, songwriter, composer, and more,” Ramamurthy said