Reddit tests automated, site-wide translation into French using LLM-based AI.

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Reddit — now a publicly traded company with more scrutiny on revenue growth — is focusing heavily on expanding its international audience, starting with francophones. In his first earnings call, CEO Steve Huffman confirmed that the company is now working on automatic translation of site content, in real time, into French, thanks to advances in major language models.

It also touched on ecosystem expansion through a couple of twists. It wants to court developers with new tools — a surprise given the company's history on that front; And it's planning to reintroduce Reddit Gold — another surprise considering the company shut down its virtual currency efforts less than a year ago.

Moves like this are predicting what the future might look like for Reddit, rather than the present. Today, its news is relatively encouraging, with Reddit revenue up 48% year-over-year to 243 million last quarter, and unique users up 37% to 82.7 million. (This figure includes both logged-in and logged-out users, as Twitter — now called X — used to count its audience when it went public.)

User development and translation

Half of Reddit's audience is based in the U.S., Huffman said on the earnings call, indicating that the company is focusing more on how to grow its international reach.

“We're still 50/50 American versus non-American, but our peers are 80% to 90% non-American,” he said. “I think there's a huge opportunity there.” He called automated, AI-powered translation “a big unlock for us in the near to medium term.”

“So today we are translating our entire corpus, which is mostly in English, into other languages ​​and hopefully that will help accelerate international growth,” he said.

In his words, the site-wide translation effort is still a test, even though a lot of resources are being poured into it. Huffman noted that the content is also being ranked on Google results for the French language, driving more traffic to the site, and that the company wants to tackle Spanish next.

Reddit has been offering post-based translation for the past year with support for eight languages.

Developer Tools

Hearing Huffman talk about developer tools on the call was surreal. It was only in July 2023 that the company became embroiled in a major dispute with third-party client developers over API changes – resulting in the blackout of hundreds of subreddits protesting the API changes.

Now the social network is in play nice mode. Huffman said there are plans for tools that could “push the boundaries of what a subreddit can be.” He gave examples of some ongoing experiments such as live scores on some sports subreddits and a live stock ticker on r/wallstreetbets, known for the GameStop stock saga.

A few hundred developers are already testing these new experiences, he said. Reddit aims to add more developers from the waitlist this summer and enable monetization features later in the year.

Other announcements

Earlier this year, Reddit signed a deal with Google to let the search engine company use the social network's data. In response to a question from the Reddit community, Huffman said the company plans to license the data to other companies as well. This has been a major issue, and in many cases controversial in light of the fact that users may not want their data used for AI training or other general purposes these days. For what it's worth, Huffman, you might have guessed, insists that the company is “deliberate and selective” in how it chooses partners.

The name of the game for the company right now is building more infrastructure for revenue generation. So while gold and another currency effort, blockchain-based Community Points, were both canned last year, the virtual currency platform is about to get another airing as it looks to diversify its business model for Reddit. It provides an opportunity. During the earnings call, the company noted that it plans to launch a “revamped” Gold product, which includes programs for users to spend and earn money on the platform.

Last month Reddit CPO Pali Bhat mentioned some of these new initiatives in an interview with TechCrunch, and now the company is taking steps to take advantage of these development tools.

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