About "use old dramas to practice subtitling"

I don’t know what you wrote but maybe if it’s not already done, try to tell more about yourself in your message to the recruiter:

  • Info like your fluency in both languages and you’re a A native

  • Maybe how many years you have been studying them

  • Maybe a diploma or a certificate

  • maybe your job involves speaking in a different language or technical terms

  • maybe you have experience in translation (fansubbing, your job)

  • tell about your motivation and when you can come

  • try the coming soon section on the main page of the website (if it’s not already done).

  • for old dramas, I don’t know what to advice for Portuguese language.
    Have you found a drama topic where they are still recruiting for Portuguese?

  • you can also ask recruiters for the list of their coming soon dramas or old dramas where they need help.

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I don’t think the Learn Mode can help her be in a team.

Lol “use people”… what do you mean :joy::joy::joy:

I appreciate your help. I’ll try to find a mentor like you said. :smiley:
About the “go for old dramas to practice”, they mainly said that it’s because of the minimun amount of subs you need to have done in order to subtitle some dramas (the Qualified Contributor thing). Some of the moderators I contacted actually accepted me in their teams, but gave this advise as well, because they don’t know for sure yet if a non-QC will be able to acess the drama.

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Use people like “I could use some help.”

You can’t access the subtitles on any old drama, unless the Channel Manager allows you access, which I doubt would happen. The dramas I mentioned, I meant that you can read the original language on learn mode and see if you could translate it as well as they did. After you feel confident that you can translate as well as on that drama, then you can offer as a volunteer on a current drama.

A non-QC can access a drama, as long as the CM or language moderator gives you access. S/he will state the episode and part she wants you to do.

That’s what we mean by “old drama”. Any drama that has completed airing and is subbed in English, but not subbed yet in the person’s language.

The fact is that all the recently completed dramas are already subbed in all the more popular languages. That’s why, in practice, only some old, boring makjang dramas or silly comedies are left, because nobody wants to sub them.
(The problem is that nowadays even those have either lost the license or are behind Vikipass, so they’re out of reach of newbies as well)

I always say to contact moderators and ask whether they have any old projects, the ones they complete little by little, and that are chronically short of subbers.

Nobody advises a novice to “barge in” as an abuser without asking to join the team first. Where did you see that?

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If I’m not mistaken, I remember that channels were all made designated channels since the the last quarter of 2019.

Some shows are under Viki pass restriction.
The Viki pass is given to a contributor who did at least 3k subtitles.
A non-QC has less than 1k subtitles.

I think it’s her main problem right here, that’s why mods gave her this piece of advice and that she’s seeking old dramas.
If the drama she originally wants to be is finally a Viki pass drama, she won’t be able to subtitle without gaining this Viki pass on a drama that doesn’t require Viki pass.

I think it’s becoming a general problem for some volunteers who begin, the current trend. Not finding a drama that is not complete and not a Viki pass one (and where people can follow them to explain them).


Old dramas are not the recent non-on-air dramas. Have we been talking about two different things this whole time? Old dramas are like 5 years and older dramas, or at least a couple of years old. Like, really, the old dramas. And those (at least Korean ones) have real issues in the English language.

I didn’t see it. Without context, by saying to use old dramas (the actually old dramas), you have to assume that

  1. the novice doesn’t know all the rules (or any for that matter), including to contact the moderator/CM, and
  2. that most likely the moderator of their target language is inactive or there is no moderator. So, there is less chance of proper guidance, even if the CM agrees that the novice joins the team.

And I wouldn’t call newbies who barge into a drama really abusers. You are an abuser when you have been acquainted with the rules (ie. you’ve worked on Viki before), but you still break the rules.

That is comforting, at least :slight_smile:

When I first joined Viki, I paid for my Viki pass about $2. I loved Viki so I bacame a Pass Plus member by annual rate. When I became a QC, Viki offered me free subscription, which was a total surprise, as I do it for enjoyment and to feel part of this wonderful community :sunny:

I think that practicing/studying for an exam is totally different from actually taking the exam or test. I don’t think people who are practicing/studying to do subtitles is the same thing as actually writing subtitles. Everyone needs to study/practice first on learn mode, before they actually write subtitles. Even when starting to actually translate, people learn as they proceed.

I watched many dramas for practice on subtitle editing, in order to gain confidence. I noted their grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. until I knew I can do as well or maybe better than I saw others do. I also noted that many people have different styles of editing: concerning breaks, music symbols, text messages, translator notes, etc. The funniest thing was where people didn’t complete the italics symbol and it appeared as i> on their subtitles :rofl: If people aren’t up to the quality displayed by Viki volunteers, practice makes pretty near perfect, as none of us can claim perfection.

  1. The Viki Learn Mode (I think it’s what you’re talking about) appeared in the last quarter of 2016.
    Before it, people all subtitled and edited without the Learn Mode.
    A lot of people here haven’t used it to begin to subtitle.

It also depends on the knowledge of the person already when he comes on Viki. There are people who already have a good level or have a professional exp when they begin and don’t need the Learn Mode. I suppose each case is different.

  1. In the Academy of subtitling for French for ex, we don’t use the Learn Mode to make them practice. They practice and people with knowledge and experience give feedback with correction.

  2. The Learn Mode flaws:

  • can’t do English-Portuguese on Asian dramas. It does Asian language-another language.

  • if the edition is not done correctly, the person who is practicing translating from the Asian language to Portuguese or French might learn something wrong while using the Learn Mode and think it’s how it should be subtitled.
    There is no insurance for the quality of the Learn Mode or the subtitles on a lambda show.

  • who filled the Learn Mode subs. If they just follow the script, then it could problematic because it is sometimes not the same.

  • people translate with English language as an intermediate. So if the English subs are not correct, the Portuguese or French subs are not and so the learn mode.

Some contributors here fixed dramas or edited them again, because of this quality problem and some dramas were in a bad state for a long time before someone can come fix it.

As an ex, I have this problem on this content where the English translation (official or not official) has some weird translations. That’s why I don’t know where these translations come from, I saw the same translation somewhere else before this new channel appeared on Viki, so… idk

I met like the word mouse became the word cat. “Come to the stage” is not translated. A bank investment company becomes a security company a few subs before. And some more. It makes no sense for subtitlers like me.
So I spend so much time to check the script, what I can hear, the English subtitle and the French one… I can’t even rely properly on the English translations and I have already told the CM… and I am sure I could miss some subtitles because I normally translate from English to French and I am not fluent in the Asian language.

With this type of situation, in other languages the translations will be incorrect because the English translation is incorrect.

So the quality for the Learn Mode, on this content, it will be a big joke and I know from discussing with people that the quality is like in my situation for some English subtitles or in other languages like French on other dramas.

I just hope people won’t take this content to learn, because they will learn something wrong.
It’s a pity, but I can’t do something I’m not entitled to do.

So it’s related to the Quality button that I think is necessary when you meet this type of problem as a viewer or as a subtitler. It’s not normal.

  1. It depends on the language people want to learn. If they learn Chinese or Korean or Japanese, I would recommend them to use the Learn Mode once they have a good level. But they have to find a show where the subs are correct.

If they want to learn another language, I think it’s best to rely on a show where they speak the targeted language, because they’d want to learn the pronunciation, writing, etc.

So the Learn Mode is not bad, probably people can learn from it despite its flows. But there are also other ways to practice subbing and so the Learn Mode is not compulsory to practice subtitling, I think. It’s one tool (a good concept) among many others.


Would you wonder whether I have been living in a cave lately if I confess to you that I have never even heard of the Learn Mode? :joy:

Well, maybe it’s because the Dutch Subtitling Academy was already closed before I came here. I just started by asking a Dutch mod if I could join …

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Me too because the Learn Mode wasn’t there! I did just like you and until today, I still have contact with my first moderator. We worked together on old dramas first and it was so nice before.

Now, I found things less fun. I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s not new anymore.

I think I learn a lot because we were a group that helped each other a lot, we often talked, asked questions, looked together for the correct word or how could I translate it better? There was a real solidarity in that sense.

Alone, it’s not the same thing, that’s why having people doing the same activity helps us learning faster than alone in that case.

I had also good luck to fall upon nice people when I began.

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I’m sure you don’t mean the learn mode which has double subs, Korean or Chinese on one line and English on another? Because in this case “learn” refers to “learn the language”, not “learn how to write subtitles”
Unless you know one of the source languages and you want to see how English subbers have translated from it. But if you know the source language, you can know by listening, why do you need to see the captions in that language?

In my subbing course, I use Google sheets a lot.
I copy the subtitles of an episode on a Google sheet and the learners write their translation next to the original. Then I mark the problem subs (highlighting the cells with a different colour) and then we discuss what’s wrong with them and how to make them better. I try to gently guide them to make their own corrections. If they can’t come up with something I give suggestions explaining why, and I always try to convey that there’s not only one right answer, there may be a few different ways to say the same thing.
All the students can view the same Google sheet at the same time, and we use Skype to talk among us, so everyone gets to give feedback and ask questions.

After this, I use Google forms to create tests. Sentences to be translated. Those are chosen from dramas but sometimes adapted to contain more “trap” words (like false friends) or idiomatic expressions which I know are routinely translated wrong in my language.

Only after this will I “unleash them” on an actual drama.

This method helps those newbies who have zero subs and no Vikipass so they can’t access most dramas get the necessary experience and be guided on their first steps, because they will know of the most usual challenges they will face before actually being thrown into the water and being told “Now either swim or drown”.

Sometimes one can quietly practice on Subtitle Editor by writing on an untranslated rare language like Klingon and then of course delete everything before anyone sees it. If you’re not the CM, you have to ask for permission before doing this, of course.

What’s really strange is that people are asking to subtitle difficult dramas when they don’t understand English that well and very often don’t have the basics of their own language.
I had someone do a little test recently, and she translated the sentences very vaguely. The meaning was “almost” it, and some parts were skipped. It was obvious that she didn’t fully understand the English she was reading (and possibly didn’t bother to look it up?). If you don’t understand, how can you expect to translate?
I understand that some people are not aware of lacking in grammar and punctuation in their own language. This can happen.
But you surely are aware of the fact that you don’t understand everything you’re reading. So with what nerve are you asking to be a subtitler on a show about secret intelligence services, with LOTS of technical terms that I’ve spent half the night researching not only in English but in my language?


:thinking: I think “learn mode” is this one:


I really appreciate you reply. It seems to take A LOT of work to learn how to translate, something I really didn’t expected! Yet I find it very fun, the learning and the translating, and appreciate the insight you gave me. Thanks!
I would also want to ask you something, a doubt I really don’t know how to answer, since I just arrived. The thing is, I am currently watching an old drama (2012, so eight years ago, and it’s about school and stuff) and sometimes the subs just seem like the literal translation from english (my language is PT-BR), making no gramatical nor semantic sense neither in PT-PT, PT-BR nor in any other version of portuguese. So, basically, a “better” google translation. The original subbing team, I’ve searched, is PT-PT (which is almost another language when you compare it to PT-BR in matter of maneirisms, slangs and even some common words), but I highly doubt it makes sense in PT-PT either.
I don’t know if it’s petty of me to say this, but this sort of thing really gets on my nerves and takes me out of the kdrama… I’ve seen this happen quite often in old dramas (like Boys Over Flowers), so I suppose it’s something from that time period.
Since this literal translation makes me anxious, I’ve many times considered going to the language moderator and politely asking if I can fix it, since the drama is old and maybe they don’t care so much anymore (I’m specially good with making translations to portuguese sound natural). But inside of me something says this is extremely rude to ask, since the original team certainly worked very hard to subtitle when it came out and I’m just some random uncomfortable watcher.
So my question is: is it rude or insensitive of me to want/plan this? Since I’m new here, I’m not yet into the etiquette or formalities involving this sort of thing. I don’t think it’s even remotely nice either to come to the original team and say “hey can you please fix this eight year old drama subs, it’s ruining the drama for me” for reasons that for me are pretty obvious haha
If it’s not cool asking for myself to fix neither asking the original team to fix, is it supposed we just leave the subs like that? I know we can’t have it all, but some things are very important to me [laughs nervously]
I don’t know if it would count like subs for me, but I’m willing to do this purely for the sake of my peace.


Not for everybody. There are people who are good from the get go, with very few corrections. You tell them something once and after two or three episodes they rarely make mistakes. And I have noticed that the better someone is, the more s/he is interested in asking about the corrections, checking the editing, wanting to become better. The ones who suck never care to check and never care to ask. Probably this is the reason one person is good and the other person is not. If you are not interested in advancing, you won’t advance, very simple.

I’ll tell you what.
There are two possibilities - and it’s easy to find out which one it is.

  1. The moderator didn’t care to edit the subs made by her team
  2. The moderator edited, but she’s also not good.

How to find out? Well, look at the moderator’s profile page, in “project contributions” and look for that drama and the number of subtitles she has made on it. If it’s around 9000-12000, she has edited it, and she sucks at it.

You’ll tell me, what’s the difference? Option 1 means she’s lazy and left a project half-done. Option 2 means she’s ignorant in her own language.
Well, let’s say that she will be less offended if it’s option 1, because (UNFORTUNATELY) there are a lot of moderators without any scruples who do that here - all the time.

Oh, there’s option 3. It was all done by another moderator, years ago, this moderator is long gone from Viki, and the current moderator has taken it only recently, to try to fix it, and is looking for people to help do this. This option would be paradisiac, but not very likely. It does exist sometimes.

Okay. Now, if I were a moderator of an old show and a person asked me to do the editing, the first thing I would do would be to go to her profile page to check her previous subtitles, to assess her language skills. How can I trust with editing someone whose capabilities are yet to be proved, just because they say they’re good? The problem in this is that you have zero subtitles so far, so there’s no way for anyone to check anything about you.
What to do then?
1: You decided you like to be a volunteer, so you start asking for subbing projects, and you work on one or two dramas. To populate your profile.
2. Oh yes, the “About me” part. Do write something about you. No need to put personal stuff you don’t want on the internet. Just what is relevant here, and would make me want to “hire” you. Write it in beautiful language, of course.
3. Collect a list of the offending sentences from the show, write them down somewhere, and under each one, the correct version you propose. Do this for at least 20 of them, writing down the episode they are in. It would be cool if you also put the minute of each. For instance, like this:

ep.1 @ 00:15:00 “Last week, a man called Ho Nam Gil came”
[A man called Ho Nam Gil came last week]
You may also want to explain why it’s wrong, or put a little note.

When you have gathered at least 3-4 pages in your “Recent Contributions” section, made your beautiful “About Me” page, send a message to the moderator, saying you would like to help fix some of (don’t say “all those”, just say “some”, even if they are a lot!) the literal translations in the drama. And put your examples under that.
Also say that you’re willing to edit only one part of an episode (this is 1/6, about 100 subs), then she can check it and if she’s satisfied, then you will continue.
Of course, the language of the message should be flowing and elegant.

The way I see it, there’s only one problem. If, as you say, Brazilian Portuguese is so different than Portuguese Portuguese, you might correct some sentences which are correct for their language variation, together with sentences which are wrong in both.
And the moderator might notice too, that you are writing Brazilian Portuguese, and refuse for this reason.

There must be surely many other old dramas which need fixing, and are in Brazilian Portuguese, so if I were you I would start from them.

I hope this helped.


Was that your reply to the person who offered help with subtitling? I figure you don’t mean that towards me :slight_smile:

What? Of course not! Plus… you never asked to be part of the Italian team of “Good Casting”, from what I know. :wink:

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Thank you! It helped a lot :smiley: :heart:

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No, I have a CM that I always work with, and I only do English editing. Sorry, I couldn’t reply earlier because my account wouldn’t open.

I think it’s a fantastic idea to give a test to discover a volunteer’s proficiency! However, I found that I was nervous at first, and afraid to drastically change bad subtitles. I gained confidence as I went along, due to the positive encouragement of my marvelous CM. Can any of us claim we were top notch right when we began volunteering? Can any of us claim we never make mistakes?

I always do my uttermost. Yet I can never claim perfection. I constantly live with perfectionistic tendencies :blush: such as:

  1. Fear of making mistakes
  2. Overthinking
  3. All or nothing blind spots
  4. Duty rather than enjoyment
  5. Unrealistic expectations of myself.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband who helps me enforce boundaries so I still get enough sleep and relaxation. I have to say, I do enjoy volunteering on Viki. At first, I felt guilty for just watching everyone else’s hard work on the dramas. I can feel like I make my contribution now to this fabulous community :relaxed:


Of course we learn something more every day, and of course we all make mistakes! This morning I went through the editing of an episode I had “completed” last night and I changed maybe 1 out of 4 of my edits to make them better. You know, “Why on earth didn’t I think of that the first time?”
Plus I made many more edits which were not obvious last night but now jumped in front of my eyes. And I am sure that if I were to look at it a third time, I’d find some more. Maybe not as many, but there will still be some. (I won’t do a third pass, though. I think it’s good enough. There are limits to how thorough you can be in an unpaid job).
And I am often in awe of the genius ideas of some of my subbers, and think “Heck, I would never have thought of that!” That’s why, in this kind of situation, teamwork is fantastic!

The test I do is more for assessment, not necessarily for excluding anybody - unless their understanding of English is really inadequate. But until now I haven’t had to refuse anyone. A few left on their own after the test, without me telling them anything. They wrote to me “I thought my level of English was good enough for translating, but now I see it is not so”.
With my first group, we have now have reached the “Catch the error” phase. Exercises where they are asked to look at a bad translation and spot what’s wrong and give a better version. For that, I very often use real (crappy) subtitles from a collection of preposterous ones I’ve been keeping on file during the years.
When we discuss the results of the exercises all together, we brainstorm on different ways of translating, to really stress the fact that there isn’t only one correct version.