Choosing Moderators


I just have a question about the selection process for language moderators. I’m just wondering if channel managers usually take the time to check if a volunteer already has a lot of ongoing projects as moderators?


I usually do take my time to check all the people who message me. But if there’s only one person who applies for a certain language and they’re a QC, I accept them. For languages with multiple people applying, I do go over every profile and pick the one who had the most experience and least current projects.
But I suppose it depends from person to person :slightly_smiling_face:


Good CMs check, and not just ongoing projects but other categories:

Finished projects (as Mod)
Unfinished projects
On-air projects
Has-no-licence projects
Future projects

If someone hasn’t finished most of their projects, putting their name down as a Mod might be a bad idea even if they are the only applicant for now. It blocks other worthier candidates later on.


Another important category to check is their skills in the language they want to moderate so take a look at their recent translations too.


How can a CM do that, unless s/he’s a polyglot? I could look at a Dutch or Finnish or Chinese person’s recent translations all day, I would be none the wiser. The only thing I could see is if they happen to write gibberish instead of subtitles, like dashes and musical notes.
I can’t even check whether they use Google translate, since the original English can’t be seen (and Subtitle Editor is locked for non-team members)


I do it, but it’s extremely time-consuming because the contributions page as it is made by Viki is not user-friendly and it takes ages to find the info that you want.
You have to click on each and every drama, then see up to which episode is released in English, then up to which episode is done in the language you’re looking for.
For dramas that have zero contributions you have, before making a hasty judgement, to see whether the drama isn’t licensed yet or has just started or… And even when the language is lagging behind the English a lot, you can’t be sure, because this mod may have been just added after everybody else started - you have to ask to find out, as it isn’t written anywhere, at which point each moderator joined.

In my experience as CM,

  1. Most moderators take too many projects. It’s so sad.
  2. Many (not all, of course, but many) moderators resent you very much if you ask this kind of question and are very offended if you reject them for that reason. If they belong to certain Balkan countries we all know so well, they will lurk until you choose another moderator and then write again, bad-mouthing the moderator you have chosen instead of them saying that she does this and that, copies other people’s subs and so on.
  3. There are some good moderators whom I have approached because I’ve worked with them well in the past and I saw they only have 2-3 things going on, but they will politely refuse saying that those 2-3 are the maximum they can do, and they don’t want to take more. Those people are the ones whom I would approach again.

Language skills? Sometimes you can ask someone you trust, but it’s not always possible, not for all languages. There you’re really like a blind person walking in the middle of the street. For all you know, this person may not know good grammar or whatever. We CMs are helpless, as we cannot possibly know all languages.


Yes exactly that’s why I’m asking because I could decide I want to apply for a project as a moderator and I end up not getting chosen (it’s completely fine for me), but then I take the time to check the person that was chosen (because I’m bored and don’t have anything better to do haha) and I see so many on going projects they already have and haven’t finished and it saddens me a little because of the greed. I understand CMz want to choose people with experience but let’s also not forget that in order to get experience you should be given a chance first. (It’s not directed towards you by the way you just happen to have the quote I agree with😊).
Anyways, I think that maybe once in a while CMz should consider newbies because that’s how they will get formed and experience. Some day there might not be enough moderators for all those new dramas because new aspiring ones won’t have any experience. The more the merrier. Anyways I talk to much huh?:joy: Have a great day readers!:smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Of course it does help to know a lot of languages. But in that respect you already have an advantage over some other CMs. As far as I know, you are fluent in Italian, Greek, French and English and you have some basic knowledge of Korean. So you could at least check those languages, and check the other ones for general inconsistencies/gibberish, or ask someone who does know the language.

For a lot of languages that’s already the case. :frowning:


Italian is irrelevant in the choice of moderators, because I always put myself in that position. That’s the main reason I ask to be CM anyway, because otherwise the Italian clique will never give me any projects. English as well. I love being English editor.
Basic Korean is useless here, you cannot judge anybody’s translating skills with 8 month’s worth of lessons.
Greek is rather a problem, because I can see how lacking most of them are and I am tempted not taking any at all. The Greek community here on Viki is a tragedy and a desert, except for 3-4 people - who, of course are full of projects. I gave the position last year to two of my previous good collaborators and friends: one abandoned the project half-way, the other started editing after many weeks, and the subbers they recruited were a nightmare, Google Translate is Shakespeare compared to them. I was very disappointed.
Okay, I just found out a new lady who is good, but she doesn’t like teamwork, she only takes projects she will sub alone.
For French, yes, I do know the good ones and I am on the lookout for others. The danger here is that some well-known people do get the dramas translated on time, but then leave them completely unedited. You have to breathe down their shoulder to make sure, and it’s so annoying.


Why not?

Me too. :slight_smile:

You cannot fully judge them, but you could see if they are totally horrible.

Wouldn’t it in that case be beneficial if you would be their moderator? Then their skills could improve and you could make sure the end results were correct.


That’s not something that can be discussed here. To be fair, there’s one person, once, who gave me a moderator position. So I’m really thankful to her for being the exception.

No, not even that, LOL. I can judge the English translations, or course, but not if the meaning is correct or not. That’s why I rely on other, trusted people.

No. I’ve tried for years, giving feedback, even one-to-one Skype sessions. But they kept making the same mistakes and they kept translating word by word.


My friend experienced that after she chose a Portuguese moderator. People suddenly told her that said person can’t access a Non-Pass-series with QC + Viki Pass only. Seriously?! That’s so nasty. o.o

Anyway, I think the amount of projects one can shoulder is on one hand certainly officially regulated, but that doesn’t necessarily fit the actual situation. Those Portuguese and Spanish teams are extremely huge, so people rarely subtitle anything compared to e.g. German teams where one part per 2 episodes is common or to rare languages where people translate episodes all alone by themselves. Here we usually have around 8-15 people per series while the Spanish team may contain 80 people at the same time.

For me personally the application and the way people translate in regard to e.g. keeping certain peculiarities hold some value too. However, I can’t judge whether it is well-done or not considering that I only understand English and German to that extent as well as some French/Japanese on an okay level. Therefore, I’m rather suspicious in regard to multi-languages. There can be professional translators or people around who grew up with 2+ languages, I don’t doubt that, but I don’t feel convinced if e.g. a Romanian translator suddenly wants to translate Greek though they never did it before in accordance with their history here (without even providing a reason either).

Usually you have two types of CMs: Those who choose the one that applies first and those you select their Moderators more or less. I often encountered the situation that all positions were distributed when I came home from work (usually the CM position are chosen somewhere in the middle of the night here).
Still some may acknowledge that “plz make me mod” is less appealing than “Hello, I would like to become Moderator of XY because of reason Z (…)”. In addition, there’s people with projects they were removed from. In general there could be many reasons such as “suddenly had no time anymore, got into a conflict, wasn’t reliable”… anyway, aside from the amount of projects the fact whether they tend to finish their projects is important as well.

I only worked as a subtitler for a year before I started moderating. Certainly I’m aware that for some languages it can be rather difficult to gain experience first, but it’s a good thing to have a good idea why there’s so much effort put into the definition of formal and informal behavior, used terms etc.

Once I experienced that a CM decided to make a subtitler because they decided that 4 projects are too many (something that only appeared later on in the channel, therefore I wasn’t aware while applying). Certainly, it’s within their power to make such rule. But I would’ve had been rather rejected than asked to translate everything by myself, though we have more than enough people to assist. It’s not that I mind being a subtitler ‘only’, but I didn’t consider it productive under the given circumstances.


True, but this is not about subbers, we’re talking of the moderator. The moderator is always one, and has all the organizing responsibility - often the editing as well - of the whole series, no matter how many subbers the team is made of. The only difference is that the work gets done much more quickly, other than that, at the end of the day, the moderator’s job is the same. One might even argue that coordinating 30 people can be more difficult than coordinating 10-12.


I am one of the moderators who have a lot of projects, but I have the time and no projects are late (unless it is previously agreed with the CM, because I was asked to take over a project or for historical stuff, because there are not so many volunteers in my language at the moment who want to translate it).

I’ve worked with a lot of moderators in my language as a subber in the team (to learn for myself, take over things that are good and eliminate bad things for myself) and unfortunately there are also very big differences. People who have been around for a long time often have the worst preparation and you get the feeling they just want to see their name in the credits :cry:, others put a lot of time and heart and soul into their work to make it easier for the subbers. So you can’t necessarily say from experience whether a moderator is suitable or not. I think it will not be different in other languages.

As a CM, I have had many different experiences. Short, meaningless applications like “I want to be a moderator” or very detailed applications, almost like a resume were there. Unfortunately also things like “If you choose me, I’ll choose you next time too”. Personally, I don’t care, because I look at every profile and then decide who is best suited (except for these swaps, those people basically fall out for me). Sure the number of projects play a certain role, but I can only start from me and I make and have many projects, so I can’t put it on others. BUT I look at how far are these projects, are all released episodes translated or is there much missing. If everything is up to date, why should I not choose the person as a moderator.

I’ve also had requests as a moderator, such as “I / We are THE team in our language for dramas like this” (here it was about BL dramas). I then took a closer look and especially for BL dramas it’s always the same moderators and it all looks very much like collusion to me. Which I find very unfortunate and unfair, should it actually be so!

Then it plays a role for me, what kind of drama it is, if it is one where the viewers signal in advance that they want a quick translation, I look for moderators with experience, because I can assume that they do not have to learn the ropes, BUT everyone starts at some point and even moderators who have no experience can do their job very well. Especially if you give them a chance to be involved in such dramas as well, they give their best. I therefore ask if they would like to work with an experienced moderator for training purposes and I have had very good experiences with this.

In the end, the experience with the people always plays a role in the decision, you know most of the active people from other dramas, even if you are not CM.

I myself always have a project to train subber newbies and am basically not averse to moderators who have no experience, but you always have to have an eye on it, so that nothing goes wrong.


It often depends. Sometimes the edit is done by someone else, some Moderators even never edit themselves and tend to always outsource this. Moderators are not always alone either, sometimes there’s 2 or more. We tend to split up things as well - and there’s sometimes people who never translate either as Moderator. In fact, the guidelines for Moderators are rather vague in the first place: “Recruit contributors, test competency of contributors & assign tasks related to your specific language.” It can be lots of work or not much work at all. Though I prefer to put in the work to comfortably be able to translate it.


That’s true, Italian moderators often do that as well, they appoint a different editor. Usually not because they don’t know how to do it (those who do this are very experienced), but because this enables them to take more projects. They may appoint editor A and they they do a second pass as editor B. Like the English team has a General Editor and a Chief Editor. This is good, because two pairs of eyes are better than one.

But these things make it difficult for the CM who is trying to look at someone’s profile page. Because if the moderator never translates or edits, then you cannot even know whether the project has been edited or not.

It may show as 100% complete and to date with the releases, but never edited. I have been told that there are a number of French mods who never edit, they just leave the translations unchecked and go on to take the next project!!!

Moreover… Even if the moderator is on time with the schedule, how on earth do you keep track of 6-7 different storylines, character names and appellations, changes in formal/informal speech, frequent terms etc…?
And also… if I have a choice between two moderators who seem equally good in my eyes, and one has many projects and the other few, why not give a chance to the one who has few? It’s a win-win situation.

I agree. But they should first learn the ropes on an old drama. I wouldn’t give them an on-air, popular show, where viewers have expectations both in speed and in quality. Maybe if it’s a very short web drama.

All this comes back to the original conclusion that it’s very difficult to choose well. It’s a great responsibility, and you know beforehand that although you’ve tried your best, you will unwillingly make mistakes, and have to accept this fact.


The most efficient way to solve all of these problems is that VIKI starts paying for translations instead of offering tons of shows that are now locked behind a pay wall (around ~80% are VIKI pass only, compared to pre-corona times when around ~80% had optional VIKI pass for ad-free viewing).

So instead of blaming the volunteers for working on ‘too’ many projects (in case they finish the subs, but do not edit them), it made more sense to stop being the cash cow for a big profit-only company.

The way VIKI is now is far away from a fan based, cultural exchange page. It’s miles away from what the fan translations of the anime/manga community is (or at least used to be, but I think, they are still more like they used to be in the old underground fan community days).

For a 10-20 episode long Korean show or a single movie that what you’re writing might work, but not for 40, 50 or even longer Chinese shows.

In general, I’d say mods have to decide if they want to either offer as many as possible shows with subtitles in their native language or shows with a professional level of language skills.

(And that’s not only a question about translating English to OL, it is also a question about translating Chinese to English; there wasn’t a single Chinese show yet, that did not have wrong English subtitles, sometimes the meaning was totally wrong, sometimes the English team added stuff that is not said in the origin dialogue etc. And all of that happened after the English subs were edited multiple times and already got the GO for the OL.)

Another aspect is what you wrote in an earlier post: Too many will never be able to write good subtitles, no matter how often you explain it (that includes mods and editors too, who stick totally on the English subs, even when English is different to their own language…).

VIKI also doesn’t implement tools that would make editing easier. Instead, they’re only focused on making more money and copying the Netflix layout design.

So why bothering oneself with unrealistic perfectionism?

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You’ve got a point there. Still some of us get a kick of doing things in the best possible way.
Yes, I understand that there may be a dilemma between offering more translated shows to the public or fewer and well-done. In my case it’s not a dilemma, my choice is clear. I concern myself with what I committed to, and I leave the rest of the shows to other people. I don’t take 100 episode shows (I only work on Korean ones, and Viki doesn’t bring 100-episode shows nowadays) but I did edit a 50-episode one once and I didn’t feel I had to make it more sloppy because the commitment was longer.


Are you sure of that? Not a single Chinese show? And after editing? Have you watched every C-drama/movie on Viki?

Show me/us examples - which titles, which episodes, and the timings - of the three kinds you mentioned: 1. wrong subtitles; 2. meaning totally wrong; 3. English team added stuff that is not said in the origin dialogue etc.

When you do, please tag me, and I’ll see if you are right. As of now, I don’t believe what you’ve stated is correct or factual.

On the other hand, of course there are errors and inaccuracies. I’ve seen many as well. But you find them in almost every site (I don’t use “every site” so I can’t say “every”), in different shows of different languages, even when the subtitles are done by paid subtitlers (not a fact that I myself am proud of). But I don’t believe it happened in every single Chinese show on Viki. Then again, I can’t state that as a fact because I don’t watch every C-drama/movie on Viki. I often don’t watch some of them on Viki even if they are available on Viki.

All I am saying, without any offense meant, is this: Please don’t generalize, especially not in such a sweeping manner. It doesn’t help in the resolution or exploration of the issue, nor the community. :sweat_smile: :sunglasses: :peace_symbol:


Since everyone here is talking about own experiences I thought it was clear that I was talking about all the Chinese dramas I was working on, either as a mod or a subtitler plus the Chinese shows my friends were working on.

About your other question about namecalling people or shows: no, I won’t do that. My mates already had enough trouble when they asked the English main team/editors directly.
It also happened that after the English team’s edit was done the meaning was more far away from the origin meaning compared to the subtitles written by the Chinese-English translator. Each time I saw such a scene, I asked not one but couple of different Chinese native speakers who are living there and usually are fluent in 3 different languages, including my own language.

In the past I already mentioned that issue in the forums… One scene was, that the English team adds religious terms while it was just about the character’s wife (in the English version they talked about Buddha, but Chinese dialogues are not using Buddha in the way Americans use god for daily topics, so it was wrong in regard of a specific culture).

Another thing is the addressing. In many Chinese dialogues it is just a simple “yes” or something similar, but the English teams add a “yes, Sir”, “yes, Madam” etc. Then, most OL teams of my language keep that too. It makes the dialogues weird and it is unnecessary plus VIKI rules say, if I remember it correctly, volunteers should neither change the meaning nor add something that’s not said. Again, for English dialogues it might be not just common but necessary to add sir, ma’am all the time, for other languages it’s not but as irmar mentioned earlier, many stick 1:1 to English wording.

A minor mistake is the gender mistake. In one show the character had a little kid and sometimes it was “he”, sometimes “she”.

Once the team realized that the lyrics were partly wrong, but they decided to let them like that because otherwise they had to change ~50+% of all episodes, although because of the wrong translated lines, the lyrics did not make much sense (I assume they thought that lyrics are not that important and many users may skip them anyway).

Some OL volunteers who were in my teams in the past have been either native speakers or studied Chinese. Their first question used to be if they had to stick to English subs even when it’s not correct… (=> Different shows, different people - and you think they’re all wrong and unable to realize when something in their native language didn’t keep the real meaning for the English subs?)

(Another aspect, that is closely related to that, is that sometimes our OL subbers have a really hard time to understand the English subs but when you show them the English subs, e.g. from the studio or from free fan subs on YouTube, they have no problems of understanding. Of course it depends on the show, some shows have poor English on the studio’s pages but at least it’s close to the Chinese dialogues’ meaning and easy to understand.)

Recently, couple of Chinese shows on VIKI are presubbed. The quality of those I watched a bit was terrible. One show mixed Chinese addressings with English addressing although the Chinese was already the title and not the name. Different to VIKI subbed shows this show had almost no detailed team notes. We had to do that from scratch which means even more work (the CM was wondering why we are “so” slow but forgot that the OL teams had to start from zero because of no detailed team notes for all languages).

So what’s the conclusion? The behaviour towards each other got harsh. Some CMs now seem to think they have to create much pressure to OL teams while at the same time some shows might have larger OL teams but can’t work fast because the “GO” for OL teams is slow. Then people, including mods, apply for another project. In the end they have multiple on air shows without knowing when / how fast the “GO” will happen.

The thing that’s most strange for me is that there is no feeling of union like: Let’s do something for getting a better workflow experience. Instead it’s more like falling apart, creating new rules, more pressure instead of realizing that without the volunteers there won’t be subs in so many different languages and without that, VIKI won’t get as many subscribers like now.


Besides, it seems that many mods of my language avoid watching shows on VIKI in their own language, but they might watch their own language at pages like Netflix & Co. and you still think there is no relation between the quality of professional subs and fanmade subs?