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Simon Says Squid Game's Strategy Is the Future

Simon Says Squid Game's Strategy Is the Future

How did Squid Game save Netflix? With a global launch on the same date with translations in over 130 languages. How can you adopt this strategy? Let’s look at Simon Says, an online transcription service that surprised me in a good way.

Yes, Netflix was in trouble until Squid Game was launched. But beware, this video has a lot of spoilers.

Many YouTube stars have also started transcribing their videos to Spanish to reach a whole new market that I believe has been untapped until now.

What Is Transcription?

It's using the audio of a video and converting what is said into a text document. It's basically what you said in the video written down. Language plays a massive role in this process, and translating it into as many languages as possible should be a priority. 

What Is Simon Says?

Simon Says is a company mainly focused on transcription and translation.  Their web app lets you transcribe your video with a click of a button. Although I used their web app, they have extensions for all the most-used NLEs, such as Premiere Pro, Final Cut, and DaVinci Resolve. They also have a standalone Mac app that integrates with the NLEs and an iPhone app that allows you to record your meetings to translate and share with people who do not speak the same language.

Testing of Their Transcription Service

In this review, we go in depth to showcase what it has that YouTube’s transcription process and Premiere Pro’s new transcription tool don’t.

I tested it with a video I made discussing an idea for an app. Once I’ve edited it in Final Cut, I dragged it into the web app, and it started uploading and processing. It is a 10-minute long video, and I have a South African English accent, which is different from that of the US or UK, and it still worked very well.

I could download the srt and upload it with the video. It was simple, and the best feature for me was the fact that I could watch the video and have the app show a live preview of the text it was at in the video, so I could correct slight variations by just watching the video again and updating the transcription as I went.

I didn’t know this feature was possible before I tried it, and it’s a strange coincidence that the video is about this live text feature but used differently. Simon Says can surely augment their strategy and start launching a kids book platform if my analysis and idea in the video are developed.


You can also tell YouTube to show subtitles automatically, but I think it then uses the automatic Google-translated captions and not the srt file you've uploaded. You can choose to import the srt file into your NLE, to burn it in, or to have it as a side-car file attached to the video.

Why Not Just Use Premiere Pro’s Transcription Tool?

During my testing of Premiere Pro’s transcription tool, I found the same functionality, and I was able to watch the video as the transcription highlighted which word it transcribed. So, that’s not any different, and they both give the same functionality with regards to that. But, what Simon Says does have, is the ability to translate these transcriptions into over 100 languages, which Premiere Pro does not do. This feature saves you a massive amount of time. You can share it with a team, and it will be a lot cheaper to have someone check the language than having someone translate the transcription.

This means that Premiere's transcription tool does not have the same abilities as Simon Says and that Simon Says's real value is in their translation ability. 

I tested Simon Says's translation feature with my home language, Afrikaans, French, and Italian. After a few minutes, I received an email saying the translations had been completed. I am not a French or Italian-speaking person, but the Afrikaans was almost perfect. They even have Zulu and Xhosa as language options, which, for a South African, was great to see.

Pricing Structure

If you have a video that needs transcription, you can buy an hour’s transcription. This means you won’t have to subscribe and can use their features when you need to without having to pay a subscription fee. However, if you’re going to be using it regularly, they have three subscription tiers: Starter at $20 pm, Pro at $35 pm, and Pro+ at $100 pm. It’s not cheap, but if you are making videos that need to be released on a global scale frequently, this feature is a must with regard to functionality and the saving of time.


With the iPhone app, it can be possible to rather say what your ideas are and the app to take what you have and make it into text, which you can then use for an article. And, you can republish it to the places that need other languages, so it's one process for all the languages you need it to be in. 

What I Liked

I liked the way it allows me to interact with the transcription, to update and modify as the video is playing back was a pleasure, but the fact that I could translate it into multiple languages at the same time and download each individually was the best part about this. 

I also liked the fact that they didn't just go the expected subscription route but offered an option to buy credit and use it when you want to. This means they're considering the user's needs. 

What I Didn’t Like

I initially went to the browser and uploaded the video. I wasn’t aware of all the development they’ve done with regards to plugins and apps. It’s also not easy to find it on the site, and it’s at the bottom of every page, almost like a footer, and honestly, how many people spend the time browsing through that. I think if they emphasized it more, the user will be happy to see all their options. It’ll communicate how much they care about catering to the user’s specific needs, which is exactly what they do.


I received 10 hours of video transcription from them to use and test out their service. It was before Premiere Pro got their transcription tool out of beta.

If you’re looking at adding subtitles to your videos because your viewers watch without sound, Premiere will do you fine. But if you’re looking at uploading videos that you have specific markets for that speak different languages, buying credit will be the best option you have.

It might not be for you if you only need transcriptions and use Premiere Pro as your NLE. For the rest of us who own our NLEs (Final Cut and Da Vinci Resolve users), adding this subscription to your workflow could grow your reach significantly. The translations can also, therefore, be used in overdubbing, where voice artists can read from their translated scripts and distribute to all the countries; Squid Game’s strategy and success is proof.

Wouter du Toit's picture

Wouter is a portrait and street photographer based in Paris, France. He's originally from Cape Town, South Africa. He does image retouching for clients in the beauty and fashion industry and enjoys how technology makes new ways of photography possible.

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