How long does the fast subtitle take to complete?

The first question is depend of the person more or less is 1hour or 2 hour. The part normally is one person but in J-drama could be two, and per episode there are 6 part or 5.

Does anyone know how long to make subtitle or translate subtitle from one language to another language in the drama? How many person to translate that part? How does the subtitle work in Viki?

  1. Subtitles can’t be done ‘‘fast’’ even if you are very good in the language you are translating from. In my case, I translate from English to Spanish and seldom use the dictionary but, sometimes the english translation in some dramas is very poor/bad and it takes me longer to figure out how I can fix it and write it in spanish. A 45 minute drama takes me from 40 to 60 minutes. I’ve seen people work 2 to 6 hours in a 45 minute drama.

  2. Another thing, some teams have a lot of people working in the drama, so that will go a little faster because there is more ‘‘manpower.’’ But sadly, some teams have very little amount of people working on the drama and it will require more work for each subbers there.

  3. If you want to subtitle and that is why you are asking, there are videos that will show you how to subtitle a video. At the beginning is hard but once you know the steps it will get less stressful and more enjoyable.

  4. If you want to see this videos go to this link:

and click on GET STARTED

There is plenty information there that you can learn from.

Recommendations from me: Never work on new release videos when you start as a subber. They demand speed and you must be available (at any time) when they need you to do the subtitles. It’s more stressful for a newbie subber. I went through that years back and if by chance you get a moderator who is a rude human being, it will be a very unpleasant experience for you.

I recommend you work/volunteer and learn from old dramas and FAN videos that need subtitles. The pace there is reasonable for newbies and they always tell you what you did wrong and help you fix it, and so on. Some FAN videos don’t even have a CM/ Moderators (recently i worked on one who had no moderators or CM).

In life, we have a little of everything. Very nice people and not so nice people but has
many wonderful nice moderators like: rumble 95 (the sweetest and most understanding
moderator in the years I’ve been here) followed by: mirna 023_316, cbgv96 , ninafk19 , all wonderful human beings. The reason I give you their names in case you see dramas where they are moderators, I recommend you volunteer there. They will help you and treat you with respect, like everyone here at viki should treat everyone in the team.

I won’t give you the names of the rude, backstabbers and hypocrites here bc sadly when you decide to work as a subber you will meet some of those too. Some moderators and CM. here, you would think they are the one’s who owns the viki site.

If you ever encounter this situation just move on and if you really want to continue subbing or for that matter do segmenting don’t let anyone stop you. The best thing is not to argue with these kind of individuals I realized is not worth it at all. You can end up in a witch hunt and every chance or form they can get to you, they will do it.

But as a firm believer that what goes around comes around I know their day will come too. The best thing that the GOD I believe in did was, ‘‘one day after the other’’

Good Luck, move forward and don’t be afraid. Subbing is not hard nor segmenting. If you want to become a subber or segmenter you can do it.


When the video comes in, someone splits it into sections so that it can be worked on by more than 1 person - otherwise it would be much slower to have only 1 person work on it. :slight_smile:

First of all, there are segments - those are carefully placed and timed slots that partition the video so that when the subtitle folks come in, they can place the words that are spoken, the signs you see on the screen from the other language into that place - the “segment”.

So the first step is for segmenters to create the places you put your subtitles into.

THEN you call in your subtitle folks to place the words in.

After they are done, you then have Editors - of the segmenting, the subtitle translation, and the English to be sure all of them are correct.

Only then is the English version ready to be given to the other language teams. If you want a language other than English, THEN the Other Language team sends in their subtitle folks to place the words in your language there. And edits it also for correctness. :slight_smile:

The amount of time it can take depends GREATLY on many things:

  1. Which language is this going from to English - e.g. Mandarin Chinese to English, or Japanese to English, or Korean to English. ALL videos are translated TO ENGLISH as the base for all other versions.

  2. What type of drama is it. Historical dramas are MORE difficult, the language may be archaic, honorifics and other nuances make it more challenging and you need really experienced people do to the work on these. Something more modern may be easier to subtitle - because it’s the current language you speak. :slight_smile: Also…How much does everyone talk in that episode? Lots of explosions and no words, well, that’s going to take a LOT less time to segment AND subtitle!

  3. How MANY subtitle folks do you have. IF you break one episode into 10 parts and have 10 people working, you will get it done sooner…maybe. :slight_smile: IF you are really organized. So a lot depends on your strategy, how you intend to complete the work. SOME dramas get FOUR episodes at once! Meaning you have segmenters, subtitlers, all trying very hard to get their work done. And nothing can be done without the segmenting complete in that section first…!

  4. Lastly…does everyone show up, and do you have your translation editor and English editor ready and waiting. :slight_smile: Editing may seem like a luxury, but it prevents…sorry - but this one was memorable…someone doing a “cow tow”. :).

And once they do all of this, you get the same splitting up of the episode in English for say, Spanish to do their version. Many teams are all trying to get their versions done…for the fans who are all waiting.

And above all…this is done for no pay - only LOVE. Because FANS ARE VOLUNTEERS.

That’s the magic. :slight_smile: Remember to thank your Teams, cheer then on, and if possible, JOIN THEM!

JIA YOU! Fighting! :slight_smile:

Crouching Dieter, Hidden Donut
(and yes, I saw the Condor Team rip through an episode in less than 45 minutes…experienced crew, with a battle episode or lots of martial arts fights and voila! you turn your head and it’s DONE!)


If we assume a 1-hour episode has on average 700 segments, it would take me ca 4-5 hrs to translate it from English, which includes posttranslational editing. An hour less without editing. And I don’t consider myself slow, but medium fast. It all boils down to how good the editor for English language is. If they’re really good, I will subtitle faster and (perhaps most importantly) HAVE THE WILL to sit by my computer long enough to finish that episode in the same day.

@anamaria_13_392 and @angelight313_168, you girls are monsters if you manage the entire episode by yourself in just 1 hour! :wink:

Beginners are much slower anyway.

P.S. Personally I hate the expression fast subs as it usually means the subs are of lower quality.


There’s another thing people may not realize either -

Time zones - where the drama is, when it airs. Example - some on air dramas show up in the morning in USA to be subbed - and people work or are in school also. So not all the time is time subbing, sometimes it’s when something airs and then becomes available, along with the schedules of the volunteers on the project.

Some languages also have a dire shortage of people who have the language skills in their language AND English to make it happen too. :slight_smile:

Anyway - I’m with you on the “fast subs” thinking - fast isn’t always right - and much depends on the ability of your subber as to how much editing, how much it needs before it makes sense and in English - then in the other languages too.

It amazes me how talented some are here and it’s all for free. :slight_smile: After all, the fluent folks in the language the drama is filmed in do NOT need the subtitles… they’re doing it for the rest of the world!



Here’s what I wrote years ago and it’s still mostly true.


I don’t consider fast subber against I consider I am slowly because more times i look for vocabulary on the dictionary and i think how i subtitle of my language (Spanish) .
For my when i transcribing in English is 1 hour but when I subtitle i take 2hour or 3 sometimes 1 hours but is depend of vocabulary of drama.
Other point is the go on for because if is 24hour when i study I do 50% and after when i free i finish the part.


For the record the fastest subber I witnessed was 8 min per 10 min part. By herself she can do an hr ep in 48 minutes.

The viki record for a team stands as less than 2 hrs. This happened on Blue Sea when there was a super subber in every part. (I didn’t take note of the time because I didn’t think we’d smash the old record 2 hrs 45 min).

BTW we don’t work like this so this is rare. A team will tend to finish a more popular show in 4 hrs or less.


Didn’t know there was an official record we should have filed for on Condor. (laughing).

I know what I saw. I was there frantically segmenting AHEAD of them, I checked the clock when they started that episode, there were FOUR of them and SIX parts. 48 minute drama. Mandarin to English, historical, but an episode with less dialogue…and so it happened.

I remember looking at this and saying “YES!!” and then “NO WAY!”" to myself nearly at the same time. :slight_smile:

I love those guys. :slight_smile: That Team was my first and well, they made the experience as a CM memorable in so many good ways. :slight_smile:

It’s noticeable though even if you do whole eps of transcription like I do for fun sometimes when my brain has gone Condoriiffc or Demi-God-awful. I do type like a banshee in English, and if an episode has little dialogue I can rip through it in less than an hour alone easily and go back and review it of course for accuracy. :slight_smile:

Speed is great when coupled with care of detail and a reason for it, but building an unrealistic expectation for fans should be avoided.

Fans, if they are unhappy at the lack of “speed”, can act to help their own cause. Learn to segment, for that’s one of the reasons things are not as fast too - good segmenters still mostly aren’t even KNOWN to be necessary to many fans here, and they are another group in high demand - fast and GOOD again being limiters!

Crouching Dieter, Hidden Donut


Yes this is very fast, I learned writing without that i can see the keyboard with objective that i can writing more fast and less mistakes, but I still more practice for this.

1 Like

Typing fast is surely useful but in this case it’s only half of the story.
I am a super fast typist, I even went to secretary school back in the '70s to learn so-called “blind system” (that’s what it’s called in Greek because they covered the typewriter’s keys with coloured caps and you only looked at a screen on the wall) and since then, because of my job, I have been practicing daily. I more or less can follow the speed of my thoughts.
But captioning it’s a different thing. First of all the hardsubs disappear while you’re typing so you have to remember them from memory and after typing select and remove your subtitle (CTRL+X) to check them again (great exercise). OR work in Segment Timer, where the hardsubs fade but don’t disappear. But then you have to still go to Subtitle Editor if there’s a long subtitle (for instance historical/medical explanations on a different row), because in Segment Timer it will get truncated.
And of course there is formatting like italics and breaks to halt your speed as well. And checking from the things you know about the language, whether it’s correct or there are things missing.
So it’s not mindless typing which can be done speedily.
Still of course you’re at an advantage compared to a person who types with only two fingers looking at the keyboard for every letter - no question about that.
For me, translating (a non-technical) dialogue is much quicker than captioning, as I don’t have to stop at all. If there is a technical term, however, it may take me from 5 to as long as 20 minutes to find it: this is what makes medical, historical or legal dramas so long to finish.

1 Like

MINDLESS typing?

I learned on an actual typewriter a very long time ago too. I also learned to type lawyers’ pleadings with a phone tucked ear to shoulder as fast as they could dictate them, a long time ago. Came in handy years later when I could type on line like a banshee to court my husband. :slight_smile:

Never mind. :slight_smile: I’ll go back to editing - and singing in Mandarin with Hu Ge on the end lyrics. :slight_smile: I can do that now…and as a bonus, it somewhat freaks out my husband. :slight_smile:

GeNie of the Lamp POOF!

By “mindless” I mean typing under dictation, or copying a text that you are reading, without having to stop to think what to write.
My point being that captioning could be tought to be “mindless copying” as you don’t have to think of the translation, which is already done, but still it’s not as mindless as it could seem.

By the way, I just timed myself, for the first time since I started on viki. A 10 minute part of Solomon’s Perjury took me more than 30 minutes. Well, it did have some legal stuff, but not a lot.


Yeah people forget timezones… 10 PM KST is not the same as 10 PM in your own country. And when it says it airs on a monday it can actually air on a tuesday for you or the other way around.

Last time I subbed a full episode on my own it took me almost the whole day. Not because I’m so slow but I had to take breaks and sometimes had to double check things. But I do know my personal record of segging a 10 minute part was 12-15 minutes. I once segged 3 parts of Hwarang in a bit less then 45 minutes. But that was because sometimes there wasn’t much dialogue and I seg quite fast according to others. So after an episode is up the first hour and maybe two (depending on how many seggers) are spend on segging the episode. And then the subbers will start.
In my timezone Viki uploads late afternoon/early evening and I consider everything done before going to bed super fast and done before the next episode fast if that airs the next day.


I normally expect to watch an episode within 24h after it airs. If the subs are below 75% by then, I understand it is a low-priority project and I put on my to-watch list (and constantly refresh the tab, in case somebody had a sleepless night :stuck_out_tongue: )


Thank you so much for your words. My advantage is, I study the Spanish language in my country (Puerto Rico) and of course, learned English when I came to U.S. as a teenager. I also worked for a while as an ESL teacher for kids who didn’t know one word in English (it was a very challenging work).

I must add, I also edit my work after I am done (every subber should recheck their work). If the English in the drama is really good, is a breeze for me. But… when the English translation in the drama is very poor …;( I go through hell and back and it takes me close to 2 hours or more. I try my best to fix my subs in Spanish because i refuse to translate the English sub written, when i know they are so wrong.

I very often see a mess in the English subs translated into Spanish and it annoys me so much. I don’t know what language you translate from, but I do know that English to Spanish is one of the easiest translation to do, even if your english is not so proficient, there is no question about it. In U.S. we use the same alphabet (except from a few added in the spanish language: ch, Ñ and so on…)


You are so right about ‘‘fast subs’’ I see people end their subbing and proudly write in TD ‘‘done!’’ I pity those that has to do the editing in that drama (I have dropped editing some dramas bc I can’t deal with the horrible mess in there). If they paid me, I would work through the mess, but for free? No way! I must add, I detest those that knowingly give poor quality subs, so they can keep their ‘‘count’’ to watch dramas for free. I feel viki site should have a system to determine if a subber is really proficient enough in the language they want to sub in to see if that person can provide decent subs at least. By the way, they don’t need to be perfect just decent, understandable subs, whatever language it may be

I was the one who wrote ‘’–Quantity over quality will never win in the end–’’ I wrote to viki personnel on this issue many, many times. Frustrated I left and when I came back (I left for a few months) II was shocked to see a marked improvement in the Spanish subtitles. Although it hasn’t reach its full potential at least is good enough for the viewers to read and personally for me too.

A week ago or more, they did some spanish subs in ‘‘The Legend of the Blue Sea’’ drama and I was laughing so hard with the comments someone wrote about them. When I went to check them I was mortified with those translations. But I guess a moderator during that time was also reading our comments because they were soon deleted. I believe an ‘‘abuser’’ got in there somehow bc I doubt it was an assigned subber from the drama who did those so terrible spanish subs.

I admire everyone who does this volunteer work (especially the fact is for free). I admire those that take hours and hours of this so exhausting work and they never give up. This ‘‘free volunteer work’’ has its advantage: some of us can learn new languages in the process

.I applaud you for your determination and good work bc someone who works so hard and for so many hours, can only give their best. Thank you, bc I, as a viewer also appreciate the effort every subber like you, here at R VIKI do to give viewers BETTER QUALITY SUBS bc in the end, quantity doesn’t matter when quality is overlooked. This also include volunteers that do segmenting, editing, moderators, CM, the TEAMS in whole all of us who take our time and provide this not so easy free volunteer work in this site.


[quote=“angelight313_168, post:17, topic:14186”]
You are so right about ‘‘fast subs’’ I see people end their subbing and proudly write in TD ‘‘done!’’ I pity those that has to do the editing in that drama (I have dropped editing some dramas bc I can’t deal with the horrible mess in there). [/quote]

This sentence about those who announce they are done in TD, in your post, is in the context of those people who sub fast and without quality.
I am one who does this and I felt hurt by your comment.
“Proudly” announcing one is finished is not necessarily to boast: it is to notify the CM that one more language is done. And it is not synonymous with sloppy work.
Fast or not fast also depends on my team, not only on me. I do tell them at the beginning that they are expected to keep that day open each week because our on-air drama will be released and commit to finishing the same day it was released (if it’s morning), or the next morning, if it is after mid-day. So they take part in the team only if they can commit to that. And if they haven’t finished it by that time, I go and finish it myself to keep to that schedule.
As for quality… I don’t lock an episode and pronounce it finished without looking at it very carefully. I am known to correct every single comma and period and space to the point of exasperating my team, so what you say is unfair. You may not have been thinking of me when writing it, but then you haven’t excluded me either (me and others who may be conscientious editors), so that’s why I felt I had to reply to this.

My point is that:
fast can be bad, fast can be good. Slow can be bad, slow can be good.
A sandwich is fast food but it’s not necessarily unhealthy. Spirits and pickles take a lot to mature, but they are not as healthy as freshly made juices and freshly cut salads, which take minutes to prepare.


I never saw people posting “Done!” or anything along those lines so they can proudly show off they subbed fast but I guss we don’t work on the same drama then.

We only posting we are done so everything stays organized and we know which parts are done and which is free, Saves time. We even have rules that people write in TD when they are done with a part. And for subbing we also have rules to state on which part you are currently working and when leaving to state how much you have done.

1 Like

@irmar, I think I messed up here first. I generalized, saying fast subs usually mean lower quality, which I never should have done in the first place. It’s just my prejudice, which unfortunately came from experience.

Loved this one! :smiley:

Lol! And I was the one who started “Quality over Quantity…” thread. Nice to meet you again :wink:


Well, [quote=“bozoli, post:20, topic:14186”]
I generalized, saying fast subs usually mean lower quality, which I never should have done in the first place. It’s just my prejudice, which unfortunately came from experience.

I do agree that most of the time, very fast subs by a non professional translator/speed typist can mean sloppiness.