Good tips to subtitling?

Is there like any good tips that we can use while subtitling? Like, trying to translate tricky words like “Acting up” or either “Beating the likes out of you”.
I’m pretty new into subtitling and I want to know good tips so I can start to improve with the community.


Ask yourself what you would naturally say in those situations. Don’t translate too literally.


I try different ways is it a bird I write the English word and put the Swedish word “fågel” or if it’s a herb I write “ört” and so on… That doesn’t always help but in some cases. An other metod if you know more than one language maby not fluently but still is to look at what another subtitlers have written (thank god for French and German in my case). And lastly if its a word I google the word and add synonym. Good luck!


I do that, too, sometimes. Luckily, I have several languages to choose from, even if I’m not fluent in all or got rusty in some.


I sometimes feel great full for being a European you get a few languages for “free”. There are a few more languages that I understand (my mother would be upset if I didn’t understand Finnish) but they aren’t as big here. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you, @maria_lavendula_77 and @mirjam_465 for the tips.
That will be helpful in the future.


Finnish and Swedish were my main languages at university and I also spent a year in Finland, but it was long ago and I haven’t had much time to practice. At least, Swedish is quite close to my mothertongue (Dutch).
Then there are the languages I learned in high school and those I (to some extent) learned as a hobby. These days, I’m learning Brazilian Portuguese.
Anyhow, I love languages.


Is there like any good tips that we can use while subtitling?

My tips are the same ones I use to give my students in class when they had to write essays . Use simpler words and no ‘‘sophisticated words’’ unless they came from the actor/actress mouth. ‘‘Big words’’ should be avoided and also slang words; unless of course the actor did say them because it was written by the writer and is part of the script.

Always have your SPELL CHECK on all Language and ENHANCED SPELL CHECK.

USE the THESAURUS for those ‘‘tricky words.’’ I like this one; ACTING UP Synonyms: 59 Synonyms & Antonyms for ACTING UP |

The best for definitions/translations and other stuff;



  • Look at the English, understand what it’s saying, including nuances (look up idioms and any words you don’t understand), and then close your eyes and think: If it were a person in your country, with that personality and social position, in that situation, how would s/he say that thing? Say it aloud, to make sure it sounds natural. If you have someone at home, act out the dialogues between you. If something sounds awkward, change it.
  • Avoid like the plague translating word for word. Even words that have the same root as a word in your language might not be appropriate. Either they are “false friends” or the English might have developed a secondary meaning whereas in your language there is only one. The English syntax (word order) is also very different from that of many other languages. Just an example. In English, the time word goes at the end, in Italian at the beginning. “I have to think about it very well now” = “Ora ci devo pensare molto bene
  • If you look at a dictionary, don’t stop at the very first word you find. Go down until you find a meaning that actually makes sense.

I see you have some anxiety about idioms. These are some good sites:,,


I can already see some of the community members gave you some helpful tips. Like they already said, the best tactic really is just putting yourself in that situation and saying to yourself, “So what would we say in insert language here?” Because sometimes not a single word will match up to the original, but contextually and in terms of meaning, it’ll be perfectly correct. This is because at the end of the day you’re translating meaning rather than words. Also, it doesn’t mean that if you translated something in a particular situation in a particular way, it’ll have to be the same the next time you come across the same phrase. It can change due to the context. For example, in my experience, I’ve translated the English phrase “Come on!” in various ways due to context, because unlike in English, we don’t really have that particular multi-use phrase to match up to all the situations in which that phrase is used in English. So, you can really play with it in order to make it as natural sounding as you want in your language as long as you keep the intended meaning intact. Also, in terms of idioms, I’m not sure what language you’re translating into, but sometimes you can find “idiom dictionaries” where you’ll have matching idioms from the source language (usually English) into your own language if they exist. So, to summarize, don’t beat yourself up if not all the words in the original make it into the translated version. They’re not always supposed to. Just focus on the meaning and the flow in the translated version. I always quote my professor in these situations, because what she said has always stuck with me. “The most important thing when translating is for the translated work not to seem like it’s been translated.” Anyway, I hope some of these tips help. As they say, practice makes perfect and I’m sure you’ll do great. Good luck in your future translations and welcome to the community! :slight_smile:


Hello! I’m new to the Viki Community. I was wondering how I can request an edit for the English subtitles for Goblin.

I found a subtitle error on episode 6, at 1:12:28. The word should be, “not”, but was is spelled, “npt”. Can someone with editor rights update this, please? Also, if I find other typos, who do I contact?


Contact the CM if you are working on something and there’s something wrong (that’s what I do).

1 Like

Send a message to cgwm808, the Chief Editor (who is also CM). She is one who responds very positively to requests of sub fixing.
But I suggest you finish watching and take note of all such typos and/or mistakes, and send them all together, because it’s a hassle to do this for one sub (going to the Subtitle Editor, unlocking, searching for the specific episode and specific timing, correcting, then re-locking), and then have to do this several times in the future. Whereas if you have the full list, you dedicate some time to take care of all of them, it’s much easier.


I want to offer a few thoughts about the dilemma of word-for-word or sense-for-sense translation, by some of the first and best translators of the ancient world.

The sense-for-sense versus word-for-word debate was employed for the first time by the politician, orator and philosopher Cicero (106-43BC). He produced translations of Greek philosophical texts as well as transferring Greek ideas into Roman contexts to form a Latin philosophical vocabulary. In his De optimo genere oratorum 3 (The Best Kind of Orator, 46 BC) , Cicero pointed out that the translator should avoid a word-for-word translation and reproduce the sense of the original text by translating in a way that communicates style and effect. He wrote that

"If I render word-for word, the result will sound uncouth, and if compelled by necessity, I alter anything in the order or wording; I shall seem to have departed from the function of a translator’’

In his prologue to the Latin version of Plato’s Protagorus, Xenophon’s Oeconomicus, and the two orations that the orators Aeschines and Demosthenes delivered against each other, Cicero expressed that he had translated them not as a translator, but as an orator. In doing this, he wanted to keep the same meaning though he altered the form by adapting Greek metaphors and idioms to suit the manner of the Latin ones. He found it unnecessary to translate one word by another just to reproduce the same style, but he tried to make the translation equivalent in value of the original.

In his Ars Poetica (Art of Poetry, 17 BC), the Roman poet Horace reiterated the importance and role of the artistic translation where a strict imitation of the source text wording should be avoided. He, like Cicero, rejected word-for-word translation by stating that:

a theme that is familiar can be made your own property so long as you do not waste your time on a hackneyed treatment; nor should you try to render your original word-for-word like a slavish translator, or in imitating another writer plunge yourself into difficulties from which shame, or the rules you have laid down for yourself, prevent you from extricating yourself.

Horace emphasized and encouraged poets to negotiate between imitation of Greek models on the one hand and exploration of Latin and subjects closer to Rome on the other allowing them some creativity and freedom and not to enslave themselves to word-for-word translation.
Horace tried to explain his method in a very clear way:

Do not worry about rendering word-for-word, faithful translator, but render sense-for-sense”.

St. Jerome
Eusebius Hieronymus, or St. Jerome as he would later be called (San Girolamo in Italian), for Catholics is the patron saint of translators. One of the most talented biblical scholars of his time, he was renowned for his intellect and translation skill.
For his translation of the Bible into Latin, Jerome refused to translate from the Septuagint Greek version, but went to Jerusalem to learn Hebrew, then cross-referenced the translation with another translation from the original Hebrew, then compared to two Latin translations to create what was known as Vulgate. Which to this day remains the standard Latin translation of the Bible.
He very much thought about his target audience, just like every good translator should, and did not choose just any version of Latin. He used the one people actually used and spoke at the time, the “Vulgate” Latin. Vulgate means “language of of the common people”. St. Jerome died on September 30, (year 420), hence the celebration of the International Day of Translators on that day.

“For I myself not only admit but freely proclaim that in translating from the Greek I render sense for sense and not word for word, except in the case of the Holy Scriptures, where even the order of the words is a mystery.”
— Jerome to Pammachius, on the Best Method of Translating.

This means that St. Jerome suggests different theories to different texts:word-for-word and sense-for-sense. The former was used with sacred texts and the latter with non sacred texts. St. Jerome’s insistence on rendering the Bible word-for-word was also, of course, a prudent attempt to protect himself against charges of heresy.

When St. Jerome turned the Chronicle of Eusebius of Caesarea into Latin, he urged in his preface:

"If I translate word-for-word, it sounds absurd”.

He also added:

“If any one doesn’t think that translation alters the charm of a language, let him force Homer word-for-word into Latin”

More about St.Jerome here.


Thank you for the feedback! I’ll keep that in mind and will keep track of all the edits moving forward!

1 Like

Thank you Maria!


I no longer bother contacting anyone to fix typos since I tried so many times, and they were never fixed. I bet to this day they are still there exactly as I saw them many months ago. But since they suggested you contact @cgwm808 you can give it a try, and maybe you will have better luck than I did with that same person.

Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like re-edits are hard to make:(.

1 Like

It totally depends on the person. I, for one, respond immediately and usually they are fixed within a couple of days. Same with cgwm808 (okay, she’s much busier than I am, so let’s say within the week).
There are many very diligent people here, and yes, the bad apples as well, who won’t care - or maybe they are long gone and they don’t reply because they don’t visit Viki anymore. Maybe they won the lottery, maybe they married and had kids, or maybe they died - we will never know!