Viki

Completely neglected function of a Moderator


#1

Language Moderators tend to work purely downstream. Meaning, they organize their team, translate and edit. But they almost never give feedback to the English team.

I don’t understand this concept. I can only think of three things which would stop a Moderator from giving feedback.

One is thinking you are not good enough in English to give feedback. A self-deprecating feeling.
But, let’s say there is an obvious mistake in English. Like, really obvious. If I were the English Editor, I would definitely want to know. This subtitle is for everyone to see, and a lot of those people are native speakers. So, yes I think most Editors would want to know.

In fact, from all the feedback I’ve sent over the years working here at Viki, only twice did I have a non-positive feedback. Once I was just ignored (which is, you know, fine :roll_eyes:) and once I was “explained” why a incomprehensible sub should stay that way. Until another Moderator chimed in and the brand new and inexperienced Editor had to reconsider.

The other reason I could think of is laziness. “Ah, I know what it means, I’ll just correct it in my language and quickly move on.” But have you considered that a Moderator from not just one, but several other languages might not be so quick to notice this mistake? You’d be doing everyone a favour if you would take just a few minutes to write it down in the Teams Discussion or write to the Editor directly.

Third possibility is that not all Moderators know they are “allowed” to give feedback.

All of this, however, is not a call to freely criticise English wherever and however you see fit. Every time I send one of these feedbacks I am also ready to stand corrected. I’m sending suggestions for revision, not corrections.

Another point I would like to make is, should some CMs and Editors out there agree with me that Moderators should in fact be more active in giving feedback, would you please consider inserting a sentence about that next time you release an episode or a movie to your Moderators?


Choosing Moderators
Moderator advice
#2

There are other reasons as well. Not all editors appreciate being “corrected”.
And some OL Mods might be afraid of stepping on someone’s toes.

Btw, instead of disclosing things on TD, I think you would save the editor some “embarrassment” by sending a PM.


#3

I can only speak for myself. I always let the English team know via Team Discussion if I as a moderator or one of my translators notices something and ask that it be checked again.

I have had two possible reactions so far. One response, which appalls me a bit, is that I should just accept it and that I can change it for myself. The second is always very positive, it is coordinated as quickly as possible, who has to check the problem and then you get an answer, what may have been adjusted or changed or why it must perhaps remain so.

We are all human and mistakes can happen. For example, I’m not saying that something is wrong, but that please check it again.


#4

That’s the thing… I don’t think it really is an embarrassment.

There is a Balkan saying: Those who work, make mistakes. If we accept that absolutely no one is infallible, a healthy adult conversation is easily achieved. As I said, over 90% of the time my experiences (even in TD) have been very positive. English team is grateful for the feedback.

What I’m saying is that Moderators aren’t practicing enough giving the feedback. For reasons mysterious to me. I think we should adopt another working attitude. We should go that extra mile to ask about a subtitle if it means that all languages might benefit from it.

Yes, exactly :smiley:


#5

I usually send a message, but have experienced a couple of times when I didn’t hear back at all. And there were so many mistakes (or sometimes they use an odd combination of words), I eventually ended up writing that the episodes need to be looked at again (at first I wrote it detailed, but after X amount of episodes I sent this) :woman_shrugging:


#6

We may not mean it that way, but that doesn’t mean they may not take it that way.

There is a Dutch saying with the same meaning: Where there is (wood) cutting, (wood)chips will fall.
Of course in an ideal world all OL Mods would tell about all their doubts or discoveries of mistakes, and the editors would happily change their mistakes or friendly explain that it’s not a mistake at all.
In reality the editors might react defensive (or not at all) to begin with or … give a polite response but hold it against you later.

But how can you even know that if those Moderators give their feedback in a private message? :thinking:

Indeed. Sometimes there are just so many mistakes that you feel like you would be nagging if you would point out all of them.


#7

Ohh dear that reminds me of a PM of someone with corrections but because I was busy at the time I decided to do the corrections in the weekend. But I forgot. Let’s see if I can dig up that PM again tomorrow and actually fix it.


#8

@bozoli
As a Chief Editor for English subtitles on many Kdrama channels I really appreciate the questions and comments I receive from the other language moderators and channel managers. They often have a perspective on a subtitle’s content that I could never have imagined on my own and they have eagle eyes on my grammar, spelling and punctuation. Questions and comments from other language moderators give me insight into the comprehensibility of the English subtitles and translatability for the subbers.
I used to be fascinated with the charts done by many moderators showing the style of language spoken between characters but most experienced moderators for K drama now have got this wired so I don’t often get questions anymore on the level of speech but I am still willing to review the charts for newer moderators.
Sometimes another language moderator points out how the placement of a comma has changed the whole meaning of a sentence. The only “stupid” question is the one you were afraid to ask. Sometimes the other language moderator suggests a change of a subject of a sentence. As some of you know, Korean sentences can be neutral about who is the subject of the sentence – 1st person, (I), 2nd person (you) or 3rd person (he, she, they, it) and so asking whether the right person is referred to in the subtitle is a perfectly legitimate concern. Sometimes the tense of the predicate of a sentence is questioned – that is a perfectly legitimate concern.
And then there are naturally questions about idiomatic phrases in English or in Korean which has been pretty literally translated to English. When I get moderator questions, I try to give the whole rationale for a particular subtitle. The academic comes out of me and I think my reply tells far more than the moderator cared to know!
I only ask two things when pm-ing me:

  1. Please don’t write to tell me because there was an extra space or a missing space in an ellipsis or if there is a space missing after the hyphen when two character’s dialogue is in the same segment. As subbers yourself, you are aware that there are several thousand characters in a one hour segment and I focus my attention on lexical (meaning) content and sometimes miss those spaces which are matters of style only. The space doesn’t give any information to the viewer or increase comprehension – it’s purely cosmetic and therefore insignificant.
  2. Pm me directly with your questions and comments – not because I want to hide any of the errors of omission or commission in the editing or subbing process but because once I release the week’s second episode, I don’t stalk Team Discussion until the new episode is uploaded in the next week. So sometimes by the time I see the comment in Team Discussion, many other languages have already subbed the episode mentioned in the comment/question.

ENGLISH EDITORS thread
#9

I can testify to this. This is actually how she and I met. I was the one who constantly bothered the English team with questions and comments.
When doing Misaeng in Greek, I kept a file on all the questionable English subs (not many, truth be told) and I sent them to her. She immediately went and took care of all of them, although it was an old show, long finished.
I remember one instance, in Legend of the Blue Sea. There was a reference on the comic actor’s clothes’ colour, and someone called him Rudolph. I wrote on TD wondering whether it was a reference on Rudolf Valentino or Rudolf Nureyev because if I just translated Rudolph the Greek public would scratch its collective heads. I was told that it was Rudolf the raindeer, a comic strip character well-known in the US. Well, not in my part of the world. How would I possibly know? We all know Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Superman and Batman, but we are not immersed in all the possible characters Americans know and love.
That’s when cgwm808 first told me that she’s definitely interested in what Other Language moderators and subbers can or can not understand and she’s glad to have our perspective, so that she can be mindful of not making “internal only” American language references. Because the English subtitles are not only read by those viewers living in English-speaking countries, but also by OL volunteers who have to translate it and by OL, international viewers as well.


#10

Hi everyone.

What a terrific topic!

While I’m relatively new to subtitling on VIKI, I have a great deal of experience in writing and correcting. I’m a “chalk and talk” kind of secondary school teacher.

Every lesson I teach involves me writing notes on electronic whiteboards for students to copy. The class of students and I discuss my notes as we go along. By the end of an academic year, most of my boys and girls usually record around 500-pages worth of text and diagrams (two to three exercise books). I never use pre-made notes nor do I use writings from past years. Every lesson is sparkling fresh and new for me as well as my students.

Try as I might, I have found it impossible to write on a whiteboard and to be 100% accurate all the time. I sincerely appreciate my students correcting me. It usually gives us something important to discuss that turns out to be valuable. As I say to them, if they can see my mistakes, then that means they are understanding the material at a more advanced level. This is a good thing!

So… if ever you see “manganese” as an English Subtitler or Moderator on a project, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I promise that I will sincerely appreciate it. I am most happy to be corrected as it gives me the chance: (a) to fix my mistakes; (b) to potentially learn about new things that I have not yet come across. I also like making new friends.

Kind regards to all,
Manganese


#11

Because I usually lag behind in translation compared to the big teams, such as teams for Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and other major languages. I always wonder how could they have not already seen this :yum:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly aware of this. I’m thinking though, if the practice were to become more common, less and less we would see this defensive mode. Of course, the feedback needs to be written in a peaceful, polite and suggestive tone, not a demanding one. Some editors will probably react the same, no matter what tone a moderator applies. But then, at least you tried :blush:

That actually explains a lot :grin:

@irmar, similarly to you, I had sent my first feedback to cgwm808 for the entire Reply 1988 series (all in one go :joy:) and the experience was entirely positive. That’s why I continued the practice. And that’s why we have this topic today :smiley:

What I’m wondering is whether giving feedback can be suggested when releasing the final edit of the episodes or when hiring a new moderator, especially a newbie?

I’m also hoping that my fellow moderators agree that giving feedback is not a waste of time! And actually it is a nice opportunity to connect more as a team (if anyone is into that thing, lol).


#12

Of course you would only see the result if the editor would have actually done something with the advice. :wink: Or maybe in some cases the advice came from a moderator/subber who worked on the translation even later than you did. :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe … :thinking:

Wasn’t there a system like that on Viki before my time? :thinking:

In the best case it would be …


#13

Same here and until now I only got positive feedback. Thus far I have only good experiences in my 8 years of volunteering. :blush: