--A Subtitling Question--

I’m a Korean to English subtitler. Sometimes when I’m translating dramas, I come across someone that will start subbing in the same part despite my post on discussions and even though my avatar can be seen on the part. Most of the time, when I inform the person of what happened they apologize and we move on agreeing to keep an eye on the discussions.
But what am I supposed to do when a subber comes into the part I’m doing and changes my subtitles and doesn’t reply to my message? Should I just move on to another part? How am I supposed to handle this without being rude to them? Is this even something I should be bothered about in the first place?


Of course you have the right to be bothered! Have you reported this user to your Moderator/CM? Make sure there are no misunderstandings about the volunteer duties, though.
If he/she continues to do this after repeated warnings, they can and should be removed from the team.
There is nothing rude about politely but firmly telling the person to stop doing it.


I agree with @vivi_1485. There are subtitle guidelines for a reason. The other subtitler might be new and might not know, so you should definitely tell them and the moderator/CM.


Thank you for your replies @vivi_1485 and @damiechan ^^ I’ll definitely inform the CM about this if it happens again, for now though, it’s going to stay in discussions. The problem is this person has a lot more subtitles than me. I mean she’s got more than 60,000 subtitles! Albeit her subs being good…in this drama, she’s a subber, not a T.E.
Which is why for some reason I feel like I’m making a big deal out of nothing.


Even if she has that many subtitles, she still has to follow basic rules. However, it also means she has experience working on Viki, so make sure there is no misunderstanding about the duties allotted to both of you.


Firstly it’s your language moderator you should reach out to first, not the CM.
Secondly, whoever is not TE should not touch other people’s subtitles unless there is a reason, i.e. a moderator has told her to.
For instance, there’s a drama I’m in right now as English editor. There was a subtitle which didn’t make sense at all. I wrote a post in TD but the person who translated it was not there anymore. Having finished the part, probably had gone about his or her real-life business for the day. But it was urgent to revise this, as the viewers might see it and make fun of us. The Translation Editor doesn’t come every day, and usually only after everything is complete. So I asked in Team Discussion any Korean subber who was at hand whether they can go have a look and tell me what the correct translation is.
Typically, the other Korean subber should tell me the correct version and I, as editor, should be the one to go and change the sub. That’s the official procedure. But for speed’s sake, it may sometimes happen that the subber says: “Yes, indeed it was wrong. I revised it for you, see whether it makes more sense now” Then I go and see, and it’s correct, so I leave the other subber’s translation.
This is “spot healing” help, and it should only occur occasionally, exceptionally. It’s very different than an un-authorized person going after you in your part and changing your subs. That is unacceptable.
I hope you can see the difference between the two occurrences and, if the second is the case, officially complain to the moderator.

P.S. Is keya your username on Viki as well? Because the one with that username hasn’t done any translating yet: https://www.viki.com/users/keya/overview


I think this is the correct one (I don’t know how I figured this out in only 3 tries XD)

(I can’t help but intervene when it comes to finding someone. Someone at work used a week and wasn’t able to find one person’s full name, and then I did it in like 15 min XD)


I agree with what others have said in the thread. I would just like to add something I think is important.

Number of subtitles or how long one has been a Viki user by no means establishes any type of seniority and those things should not stop you from doing what you feel is right. The only hierarchy you should pay attention to is the one in the team - who is an editor, who is a subber. Period.

When I first came to this site, a user with 180.000 subs left a lot of projects unfinished. I decided to continue one of them and was appalled by the extremely low quality of her subs. It’s even a greater damage to do that many bad subs. Somebody will probably have to fix them later on.

At the same time, over the years I’ve seen some gifted newbies whose first ten-hundred subs were 99% accurate and very promising to one day become a smooth and perfectly flowing translation.

Viki’s community would severely benefit from having a less hierarchical and more horizontal way of thinking. So that the young talent can develop freely.

Focusing too much on seniority allows the possibility that some users feel they can boss people around and be rude. Although the user in question may not have thought that, her actions of correcting your subs, followed by not responding to your messages and (probably most importantly) disrespecting the hierarchy in the team is a big no-no in this community.

This type of behaviour shouldn’t really be tolerated. So, contacting your CM or CE would be the only right thing to do.


@irmar Thank you for your insights on this matter.
-I should take this matter to the language mod first. Duly noted.
-I can certainly see what you mean about spot healing and I would always welcome it if it were to happen to any of my subtitles. After all, providing the most accurate subtitles should be the priority. In my case though, I think it’s the latter. I’m not sure why she ended up changing my subs. But I now know what do to in case it happens again.
-Here’s my profile: https://www.viki.com/users/keya_/overview @haimrich9 has great skills^^


Ah, there was an underscore! It’s always a bit confusing when the Viki profile is not exactly the same as the Discussions profile.


If the person is an experienced subber, then s/he should know better to check and post in the Team Discussion section to avoid overwriting each other.

I agree with almost everything that everyone said above. I think the first thing is try to contact the person yourself and communicate directly with that person, but if s/he doesn’t respond, then contact the language mod, or CE or CM, and hopefully they can intervene to resolve any conflict.

The only thing that I don’t totally agree is not ever correcting/editing other subbers’ translation. I think that if the initial translation of another subber is wrong, then the next subber should correct it, but only if you are 100% sure about it. I don’t see a point of waiting for aa TE to correct if if you already know it’s wrong. That way, viewers will watch it with more accurate translation faster.

I know that this can get into a sticky situation if everyone starts editing each other haphazardly. So, I’m not talking about minor changes or personal preference of certain word choices. But if the meaning is incorrect, then it’s better to fix it as soon as possible. If I subbed something incorrectly by mistake, I wouldn’t be offended if another subber fixes it quickly.


But then the “incorrectness” of the sentance is also subjective. I think it’s not a good idea, we need some rules, because it might get really chaotic without them.
The subtitles still go through editing, so isn’t it best to leave it to editors? Or maybe notify the subber. Idk, overwriting someone’s subtitle just doesn’t seem right to me.


That is also true. But I’ve seen too many dramas in Viki that had terrible translation, but people weren’t “allowed” to fix them since it’s “offensive” to the original subbers. I know it’s gotten much better now that we have translation editors. But not all dramas have TEs, and even TEs cannot always catch everything. So I’m not talking about ambiguous sentences that could lead to various interpretations. I am referring to translations that are blatantly wrong. If you are not 100% sure about it, then leave it alone.


I agree, I’m for subbers being able to fix other subbers’ translations when they are objectively wrong. Also in some cases, when dialogues are spread over two or more segments and a subber fills in one, I think it should be okay for another subber to adapt it so that it flows with the other of the parts of the sentence. I think this would overall just allow for dramas to be translated better, because as you said, sometimes TEs can’t catch everything.


Surely! As you know, I am the one most anxious for us not to be mocked by the viewers, and that’s why I lurk and have a sneak peek as soon as possible, inundating everyone with questions - subbers, editors, whoever is at hand and can help fix that problematic sub.

But we have seen people change a perfectly good subtitle and putting the wrong one, because of ignorance.

There are, in every team, certain subtitlers who are very good and have an “unofficial” TE helper role (you’ve experienced that very recently :wink: But it is a permission that should be specifically given, not taken arbitrarily. Because, unfortunately, not everybody has perfect awareness of how good s/he is or is not.
It takes some knowledge (and intelligence, and humility…) to know how much you don’t know. You may feel very clever and proud because you know some rules, but you don’t know all the exceptions, you don’t know a provincial or archaic turn of phrase, etc etc.

And then it’s a nuisance to have to revert the subs.


Very true!


I love this thought!

When I GE, I always keep in mind that I’m the second last person who prepares subs for the viewers. I approach all my editing from a viewer’s perspective while aiming to make the TE’s subs shine brightly. My personal goal is that I want all of us who were involved in creating English subs to be able to sit back and feel proud that our collective effort has been respected and that viewers are able to travel the drama comfortably without cognitive overload.

This is my approach…

  • Adjust grammar and spelling if needed so that the sub flows with comfortable English.

  • Fit the sub to a segment’s timing. (I use Netflix’s speed of 20 characters per second (maximum) as a guide and not as a hard-and-fast rule. This is actually quite a fast rate compared to TV streaming sites like the BBC. The subtitle editor makes it easy to monitor characters per second.)

  • Maintain the integrity of the translation if I need to shorten its length for segment-fitting. (I discuss this with the TE if an obvious solution is not possible.)

  • Use words that are easily accessible because I’m mindful that many people who watch English subs are not native English speakers. It’s easy to clutter English with colloquialisms that non-native speakers won’t appreciate. (For example: “Man, that was a freaking hot guitar break.” Many might not easily understand that this comment is complimenting a person’s guitar-playing skills.)

  • Make the subs as easily understood as possible for the other language teams.

  • Triple check my work. The last of these checks is watching the part on Viki’s normal viewer in real time. This is important and it’s where I get to see what I’ve done right and what needs work.

I know I’m not infallible and I’m more than happy for people to correct my mistakes. At the end of the day, it’s the viewers that matter. If viewers like what they watch, they’ll keep coming back and Viki will thrive.


This is awesome! I’m taking notes! :sweat_smile::heart_eyes:


@manganese, do you export subs into another program to check for subtitle rate or…? I usually go by “feel”, what is readable for me. Those of us who translate from English don’t have the option to ask for segment extension, so we have to be creative. But we are still limited and sometimes even with the best of effort we still end up with too much text within a certain time period.


@bozoli, this is how I go about estimating the characters. Once you get used to doing it, it’s quick. It’s not necessary to do it for all segments, either, just the ones that it’s hard getting the timing right.

(1) Hover the mouse over the segment. (Make sure the cursor is not in the segment as this stops the reading from happening.)


The difference between the two readings is the segment length in seconds.

(2) Now click in the segment and enter text. The character counter will then indicates how many characters are left.


(3) Compare the “Characters left” with the chart below.


Since this segment is 3 seconds long (the difference between 1:24 and 1:27), I have around 60 characters to work with. Each second is approximately 20 characters so for 3 seconds, 3 x 20 = 60 characters.

When I look at the table (3), if I use 60 characters, the character counter will show 195. Since the counter is only showing 218, it’s a good fit. (From the table, a reading of 218 is just over 40 characters.)

Hope this helps.