Colloquialisms and translations question

All I can say, as a native Texan who loves Hispanic language and culture: “¡Qué lástima”!

I am barely bilingual, but the love I have for the energy and vitality of the way of life I absorbed like a sponge until I was nine. My father’s first job out of college was in Corpus Christi, Texas, and, assuming they’d raise their children and grandchildren there, they opened as many doors and windows as they could to allow la luz y el aire del español en mi vida.

What I breathed in was an intense love of culture, family, and beauty, and pride in doing good and being good in all areas of life.

My view of the petty behavior that ruins some projects is that it is almost inevitable because of the unwillingness of Rakuten Viki to create structures of accountability.

When you think about it, the process for getting Viki dramas up on the website and shared around the world is NUTS

A lot of people–mostly women it seems–never EVER see each other, are not able to communicate directly in real time, have no Viki staff who they can interact with in real time, and have no way of knowing who is truly capable regarding translations.

There is not even a consistent system of writing subtitles and checking them so that English-language subs go up with accurate spellings, all necessary punctuation and formatting, and word choices that are typical and natural.

Who knows how the Viki organizational chart is put together? Who knows where Viki volunteers who are allowed to make binding decisions fit in in that chart? And who in the Viki organizational chart who is being paid a salary decides which Viki volunteers get to be in charge of things?

I have no idea whatsoever. Do you?

I have never seen a photo of anyone I work with or heard her (or his) voice. I have never talked on the phone with anyone on a regular basis, never had a monthly or weekly Zoom conference. I have never been asked for a résumé with three people as references.

And sorting out the Viki subbing and segging functions so that there is clear accountability and good communication in real time (or close to it) is NEVER going to happen.

It’s so obvious, year after year, that Rakuten doesn’t want to spend money it definitely has on a tiny part of its huge organization. Viki adds a coolness factor to a huge, boring conglomerate without Rakuten having to spend anything beyond occasional upkeep to the server farm that is the virtual storehouse of its entertainment assets.

So what if life for dedicated seggers and subbers is stressful and unsure and people who are not dedicated keep trying to dictate how things should be run?

Channel managers who are striving to keep the segging/subbing process headed in the right direction should announce a cessation of all projects until Viki creates a simple accountability structure, either one coming down from the corporate level or one that is based on standards set by the community.

And when I say simple, I mean simple. Look at all the complaints about how things don’t get done, find the common elements, and come up with a list of ten things that need to be done to make things better, five ways to those things, and twenty people in the community who are the most experienced, respected, and trusted who could form an oversight board.

Yes, there is always the possibility that Rakuten folks would say, “That’s bothersome; we don’t need Viki that much,” and it gets shut down.

But more likely, I think, is the possibility that Rakuten folks would say, “Sure, go for it. Less trouble for us.” People in suits like it when somebody else does all the work, and they get all the credit.

Anyway, it’s sad that egotism and high-school immaturity have to be the main characteristics of some projects.


Yes that is sad, but I’m happy to say I have formed a couple of lasting relationships here, and I’ve seen the faces and heard the voices of many of my collaborators.
I did meet a few of the “regulars” here in Discussions in the summer of 2019, when we held the Skype meetings with Viki staff. There’s one, from Eastern Europe, who was soooo beautiful, and spoke quite excellent English!
One French volunteer I saw very regularly, for many months, on Zoom/Skype, because she wanted to learn crochet. And, while crocheting, you can bet that crochet wasn’t the only thing we spoke of.
Speaking of crochet, another one, living in Holland, greatly helped me getting the very last skeins of a discontinued colour I needed to finish a blanket, which were located in a small shop in her country that didn’t ship internationally. She ordered them and when the parcel arrived, she went to the post office and sent it to me. I’ll be eternally grateful for that!
I regularly see, on Zoom, twice a week, my Italian subber course students and sometimes we do wander away from our set course to share details of our lives and have a chat and a laugh.
There’s one of them in particular, from a past batch, whom I spend lots of time on Messenger, usually in the middle of the night when I wake up, until I am sleepy again (she lives in the US so for her it’s daytime). We did start talking about Viki, but then we started sharing other things and now I can say we are friends.
And there’s an online reunion planned with last year’s batch.

There’s another, newer friend here, who’s been sharing with me pictures of the new home she plans to buy and I Greek bread recipes. Since she has hens, I promised her to make and send her a crochet egg apron.

The Italian community meets at a Facebook group where most of us have our real names and pictures. It’s not that we all particularly like each other, but many who live in the same city have already met.
I know that the same happens in the US, where some volunteers are old friends, meeting at Korean events, festivals and concerts, or even without such occasions, just because they live near one another.

And my son has told him that he was greatly surprised, at the time when I was struggling for life in the ICU, and some so-called close family friends hadn’t called for news, when she received a worried call by a “stranger” from literally the other side of the world, who said she’s a friend from Viki. This special friend, whom I’ll probably never meet in person in my lifetime, was one of the very first people, actually the first apart from my nearest family members, I talked to, from the ICU, as soon as acquired my speech (and phone) again.
All those people have been enriching my life in the past years, and are important to me, in smaller or bigger ways.
This said, there are of course many, many others, whom I also like a lot, and respect, but I’ve never had any contact outside Viki.

What I want to say is that it depends on us. If and when we want to, we can. There’s nothing (from the part of Viki) stopping us.


Funny thing you mentioned that here because I had a dream that viki was ‘‘shut down,’’ and oddly enough, my dreams (repeated 3 times like it has) usually become the real thing in less than 1 year.



Isn’t it interesting, I said to myself last night when watching a K-Drama.

A character gave one of those sinister, huh huh huh sounds which was captioned as [snickers]. That threw me a bit, because being an English English speaker (though actually I’m Irish), so speak, our version is SNIGGERS.

Thanks everyone for putting me right on that x


Well… from SNICKER | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary


verb [ I ]

USUS /ˈsnɪk.ɚ/ UK /ˈsnɪk.ər/

to laugh at someone or something in a silly and often unkind way:

What are you snickering at/about?

People were staring and snickering.


snigger mainly UK


Actually not.


I used to have this girlfriend known as Elsie
With whom I shared for sordid rooms in Chelsea
She wasn’t what you’d call a blushing flower
As a matter of fact she rented by the hour

The day she died the neighbors came to snicker
Well, that is what comes from too much pills and liquor
But when I saw her laid out like a queen
She was the happiest corpse I’d ever seen

(From the musical “Cabaret”)


Ah, but, you see … The US version is a corruption of the English, I would argue.

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Kander & Ebb … Americans!!

You’d never have caught Christopher Isherwood using it. Lol.


You’re right. But you can’t say it’s a mistake in subtitles if you see it. Here on Viki, as there are more US-based contributors (especially the Korean-English and Chinese-English subtitlers), the norm is American English. I’ve had to adapt too.


Interesting information me/myself and I, found…

A small recap by me/myself and I/ Excerpt from: Study of English Translation of Colloquial Expressions. Journal of Language Teaching and Research

Colloquial expressions are among the cultural elements of a society that may get the translator into trouble while rendering them. How can he/she render them to redefine the author’s intended meaning successfully? Sometimes, the researcher has faced some translated texts that their colloquial expressions could be rendered in a better way to be more comprehensible for the target audience and could transfer the author’s intention in a more appropriate way. Conveying what the source language writer or speaker means is a crucial matter in translation studies. Based on the nature of some writings or even style of writers, a number of colloquial expressions may be found in various texts that make them specific from the translation point of view. Unfortunately, misunderstanding of colloquial expressions in different texts has resulted in bad and sometimes awful translations that could not meet the expectations of the target language reader and fall short of expectations of the critics.

A colloquialism is “a word, phrase, or other form used in informal language. Dictionaries often display colloquial words and phrases with the abbreviation colloq. as an identifier” (Colloquialism, n.d).

The word “colloquialism” stems from the Latin colloquium that means “conference” or “conversation.” Colloquialism-as a literary device- implies using informal or everyday language in literature. Colloquialisms have generally a geographic nature, as a result, every colloquial expression belongs to a regional or local dialect.

Colloquial language is different from formal speech or formal writing. It is a category of language that speakers normally use when they are stress-free and not especially self-conscious. Some colloquial speech includes a large amount of slang while some has no slang at all. Slang is allowable in colloquial language without being a necessary constituent. Other examples of colloquial usage in English are contractions or swearword.

Colloquialism is classified into three sub-categories that are words, phrases, and aphorisms. If the words reflect the regional dialect of the speaker, they can be qualified as colloquialism examples, or if they are contractions or examples of swearword. Phrases and aphorisms are colloquialisms if they are not used in literal sense, nevertheless, are broadly understandable within a geographical region (Literary Devices)

  1. Words: Regional differences: One well-known colloquial variance in the United States is the way an individual refers to a carbonated beverage. There are regional boundaries that isolates the usage of the words “soda”, “pop”, “soft drink”, and “Coke” (used as a generic term and not just to refer to the brand). There are many differences between American English and British English, such as “truck”/“lorry”, “soccer”/“football”, and “parakeet”/“budgie”.

  2. Contractions: Words such as “ain’t” and “gonna” that are not used widely throughout English-speaking communities are some notable illustrations of colloquialism. • Profanity: A set of words are deemed irreverent in some dialects of English where they are not at all immoral or swearword in other dialects. For example, the word “bloody” is a simple adjective in American English, but is a swearword in British English.

  3. Phrases: The following phrases all are qualified as colloquialism: • Old as the hills • Penny-pincher • She’ll be right (Australian English, meaning everything will be all right) • Pass the buck • Eat my dust.

  4. Aphorisms: The following aphorisms all are qualified as colloquialism: • I wasn’t born yesterday. • There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Put your money where your mouth is/ You’re driving me up the wall.

[Literary Devices] has categorized the colloquial English in the following way:

  1. Relatively short simple sentences, often grammatically incomplete, with few rhetorical devices.

  2. An extravagant usage of contractions (I’ll, we’ve, didn’t, can’t), clipped words (cab, exam, phone), and the omission of relative pronouns (who, which, that) which would be preserved in a formal style.

  3. A vocabulary marked by general prevention of learned words and by inclusion of some less offensive slang terms.

  4. A simplified syntactic structure that leans heavily on idiomatic units and occasionally neglects the fine differences of formal grammar.

  5. A personal or familiar tone, which intends to create the impression of talking warmly and friendly to the readers.

Important notation:

In an analyzed translation of the slang words and jargon found in “Transformers” movie. According to the results of this study, to produce a good translation, the translator should have sufficient knowledge about slang, jargon and colloquial expressions and also understand the method in translating the source language into the target language to get a good translation. In this way, the target readers will comprehend and get the idea and meaning of the original text.

My added note. [2023]
In my personal opinion… A bit off the intended topic I know…
Me, myself, and I, in conclusion: The success of any subbing volunteer work in dramas/movies,.depends on the knowledge they have in the language and culture that allows them the recognition of their own colloquial expressions used in their culture which helps them find equivalent/similar levels of formality in them. That is why I always emphasize that when it comes to doing subtitles here at RVIKI in dramas/movies, no one is more experienced or knowledgeable of that culture, than a native speaker of that language, and not people from other countries that can’t learn these things in one or two year College, and more than anything else because they have never lived through them. One year College, two year College; learning a language or many other language, can never replace living and breathing the culture each human being was born in, and no one should cross that line and disrespect a language they have little to no knowledge at all, and pretend to do any subbing/ translation work in a language they have NO business working on! To those that have done just that here at RViki; shame on you, and shame on those who allowed you to disrespect a language, a culture, that deserve the same respect; you expect for your language, your culture, just because we all deserve that much respect. RESPECT goes a long way when it comes from both; I respect you, and above all, you respect me, my language, my culture.

[Excerpt from: 2017 ACADEMY PUBLICATION]



Subversion and insurrection for a truly worthy cause! Man, er, that is . . . person the barricades!


A new that Viki gave me today was “milquetoast”… I wonder what toast and humans had in common. But I know how to google it means timid…


Thanks. I see it’s North American and comes from a 1924 comic book character. It’s not a word that I’ve ever heard of here in Australia.


It was in My Beautiful Man a Japanese series and I’m not sure why the translator used that word when there are easier words to translate from.


At one point decades ago, writers used the term “milquetoast” rather than saying someone was timid to show erudition.


It was in My Beautiful Man a Japanese series and I’m not sure why the translator used that word when there are easier words to translate from.

It’s odd this happened here in a Japanese series since I admire and praise the translations done here by subbers in the Japanese dramas, movies and Documentaries. Back in 2013 some Japanese translated series were really bad, but they suddenly stopped Japanese content here at Rviki which I was completely devastated.

In my opinion, they are the best subtitles at the present time onNETFLIX PRIME IMDb Freeve HBO plus I don’t like their new Dubbing feature, although the English dubbed/voice over job, is almost done to PERFECTION. The only thing that I do criticize is that some subbers add ‘‘cursing words’’ that I know the Japanese character/actor/ is not really saying those curses at all.

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I love Viki and mostly it’s easy to translate to Swedish in my honest opinion, and it might sound strange but I like when I learn something new. I think everyone here no matter what language it is does a good job, I only have RVIKI now days as it satisfies my needs.



That’s great to know; so there is a word in Swedish for milquetoast? I also love learning all this new things about all different OL.

This is the first time I see this word and Honestly, I wouldn’t know how to translate it in Spanish since we are not familiar with it. Thanks for sharing with all of us!

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My question is: Is it the translation correct ? Because when someone says knocked up it defines the relationship they have with the other person. If you say I got her pregnant (to make it sound nicer), but the the meaning is crude then the power behind the words goes away.