Am I being honest with my advice to CMs and Moderators about translators in my language?
Oh well… my language might be a language with millions of speakers in the world, but here at Viki, it is a minority language. Translators for my language are not found easily at Viki, that’s for sure. Not to forget the fact that the translators who work for Hindi are often trilingual, even in some cases, multilinguals. It is great to know 3 or 4 languages, right? A great thing to boast about on the Internet.
Unfortunately, being able to speak and comprehend a language and being able to write and communicate in a language are very different, very very different.
With (a lot of) disappointment, I am writing this down.
Just this week, I’ve come across 6 Google translators (I can’t imagine what the number might be in Spanish, Portuguese, XYZ languages); 2 of them, just today. With a language with almost 20 active volunteers, 6 is a huge number. It would mean, 1 out of every 3 Hindi translators uses Google Translate.
I always filter out my team. I take a test before adding them to my team, it does help in rejecting the applications who “pass” this test with Google Translate. If they actually pass, I monitor them for almost a week before actually convincing myself that they’re trustable. But even passing this test doesn’t guarantee that these subtitlers won’t use GT in future.
Unfortunately, there are also moderators who just don’t want to take the trouble of going with the test. Last week, I rejected a subtitler who sent me a copy of Google Translated subs, the next day, I find the very same translator working on a different show under another moderator. Because of such negligence, the translator might gain a QC status soon, and after that the world might be theirs. Poor CMs who don’t know the language will add such people as moderators and that’s the end of the story. A very fine drama would be “completed” in the language by such translators.
This is the subtitler I am talking about. See the number of projects this subtitler has been added to.
I find it stupid.
Not to forget, editors are scarce. Such translators/moderators don’t even care about the work they’re creating for the editor. Honestly, I find it super better to translate a show on my own rather than sitting for 2 hours and editing an episode translated by an AI.
Then there’s also a problem with these “multilinguals.” Hindi is the lingua franca of most parts of India. Almost everyone uses it daily. But a language in “spoken” form is very different than in “written” form. Many of these multilinguals grew up speaking Hindi as their 3rd, maybe 4th language. This, in its own, is an achievement. I wish I could also speak 4 languages.
Many of the active Hindi volunteers aren’t native speakers or speak a language with entirely different grammar. They often “mix” up their native language’s grammar with Hindi grammar, mixing up genders, tenses, vocabulary, slangs, which results in something like this:
“ Je voudrais (French) un vaso de agua (Spanish) , per favore (Italian).” (I’d like a glass of water, please).
At this point, it has become a game for me to guess a subber’s native language while editing.
It is also to be noted, there are also people who speak Hindi as their 3rd or 4th language but are very good translators.
There's also a subber whose native language isn't Hindi (or it seems so) but have a good number of projects as Hindi moderator.
Isn’t it better to be faithful to your native language and make shows available for your fellow speakers rather than creating more work for a language that you can only “speak” but can’t “write.”
I do not know if I should laugh or cry? Should I laugh because they’re not helping their native languages grow or should I cry because they’re unknowingly making another language die?
I greatly respect the people who choose to provide subtitles in their native languages rather than creating trouble for the Hindi community.
Here are some sample screenshots, which make me question, did they think they did a great job?
I don’t even know what this subtitle is supposed to mean? If anyone can help…?
Actual English subtitle: We breathe the same air as other people.
This Hindi subtitle: We get mother-in-laws from the same air as other peoples.
It is safe to assume, this sub says-- “ah,isthat sou!”
It is just my request to other Hindi moderators, please check the people you're adding to your teams. We don't want "Google Translators" or "people who make these subtitles shown above" to dominate our community. We are not working hard to leave a bad impression on our viewers. Keep your subtitlers in check, make sure they are people you can trust, and above all, people who make quality subtitles. Randomly adding anyone who says, "Hey! I have so and so expertise in English, Hindi is my native language. I want to make Hindi subtitles for this drama, the actor is my favorite. Thank you.", will only backfire. It would ruin your impression as a moderator. It is better to be safe than sorry.
See this review on a very, very popular show from January 2021.