How to handle extremely slow subbing

What is the protocol for getting subbers to finish subbing episodes? First, I would like to say that most subbers do a great job and I am thankful for all their hard work. However, myself and all the other people that are watching a certain drama, are beyond frustrated. We are watching a new/currently airing drama here on viki. But we are stuck at the mercy of the subbers. There are currently 10 episodes out, with #11 due out tomorrow. However, episode 7 has been at roughly 60% subbed for the past 3 weeks. As the same for following episodes. Many people have numerous complaints in the comment section, but it seems like it is falling on deaf ears. I pay for viki, and most shows do a great job of subbing, so I patiently wait. But there should be a time limit for subbers and channel managers to get the job done. Especailly on new shows. I know older ones, not a lot of people are currently watching and subbers practice on those, so it’s not done fast. So what can us faithful watchers do to rectify this situation? It is a great drama, so far, but we can’t get past the episodes from 3 weeks ago.

You can name the drama, or how else can anyone give you a fitting answer related to the channel?
Oh, and is it about English subs or another language?

Well, I wanted to give you a quick reply, but only can do this if I happen to know about which channel you talk. If you don’t want to write it openly here, you can send a PM to me. Anyway, I need my sleep, so good night for now. I will be around for another 5 minutes, but then ZzzzzzzZ.
Till then.

@lutra, I see you’ve done some good detective work already and found the show :laughing:

1 Like

Found the channel, contacted the CM to get to know about the problems with translation. We will see what she says.
So far I have to leave you with … There is no such thing as a protocol, but I think we should at least give her a chance to explain.
Good night for now, it’s this late again.

1 Like

Yes, I just had to look up the on air shows and leave the subbed ones behind.
I should ask Viki to count my comments as contribution. :wink:
Good night!

1 Like

Thank you. I didn’t want to fully throw the subbers and CM under the bus, rather, just ask how I should go about handling it. Thanks for your response. (Oh and its about english subs)

1 Like

The subbing progress for any volunteer managed channel is unpredictable (The ones managed by Viki staff members are another story).
Subbing can be done in 2 hours or it can take 1 day, 2 days or even more.
It all depends on the popularity of the drama airing. If it has a HUGE international fan base (because of the cast), then the fans come to our rescue and help us happily. International fan support can transcend borders.

Let’s not forget that this is done by fans and for the fans for free.


I totally understand all the hard work, seggers, subbers, and channel managers do. I’m not discounting the 90%, that work hard and have subs out by the 3rd day, at the latest. I’m just asking the best way to handle the 10% who are extremely (3 weeks past, only 60% subbed) slow.

And I am a fan (who pays to watch), the fans who sub, get it for free. (so technically, they don’t work for free, they are getting a big benefit)

Thanks for your input.

1 Like

Let’s not start a discussion that we volunteers are getting the shows for free. Many of us started years ago, when the videos were just uploaded and worked on and most laws about putting shows up publicly were weak enough that streaming dramas like that was at least in a legal gray area.
And there is no benefit for us to give our knowledge in comments or to go against the tide, when bad comments are flooding channels or “striking” our inbox. Or we can’t meet the expectations of customers, when we care about the community, sometimes the opinions are clashing, that’s just the way it is.
Still the numbers of volunteers are limited, it’s not that we have plenty of native speakers standing in line waiting to sub …
So, I ask of you not to start that kind of discussion, if some here put in hours of contribution getting the “amount” you are talking about … Soon the “labor union” might join in …


Yes, darnit! :laughing:

Takes time to respond there as well, particularly on channels you’re not involved in professionally.

As I had already responded to you in the comments section, the benefits QCs (qualified contributors) receive are scarce at best and are only getting smaller.

The reason we even have them is that I can’t translate a show I can’t access myself. So, it’s not really a nice perk Viki wants to give us. It’s something we must have in order for the site to function properly.

Not to mention that all the QCs used to be equal in these benefits, but from a couple of years back the non-American QCs are left quite behind. I would say we effectively lost half of our access. It’s a joke really.

And then comes that thing that @lutra said - we simply don’t have very much time to watch after the school or work has been done and that episode of the day on Viki translated.


Vikipass doesn’t cost a lot. It’s a better use of time to just pay for access.

Have no reply till now, well only to tell you. I am trying, but don’t know if we will get any more information today. I am a little sick too, so maybe I will go earlier to sleep. I do not have high hopes at this moment, will keep you updated.

Vikipass costs 5 euros per month, right? It’s the hourly wage for an office worker where I live.
How many hours of subbing and editing per month do I do? At least 40 hours, usually more. Some of us do much more than that. Please do the math. And this is without counting deleting the offensive timed comments, giving info here and on the episode pages.

But yes, there are some dramas which are just not very popular with subbers. I was in one like that once, “Temperature of Love”. We had I don’t know how many Ko-En subbers, maybe twenty, but only one or two did all the job! No nudging and cajoling could bring them to come. It didn’t help that it wasn’t licensed for the place where many of them lived. So when the main hard-working subber had to leave for a week on a trip, we had to ask Viki to come to the rescue sending one of their staff.


I assume it’s one of the Chinese drama and when you look at the TV guide on Viki it’s no surprise, to me, that one or a few fall a bit behind because there is a lot to sub to keep up and so little time considering most of us have school, work, kids to look after etc etc.

And we volunteer because we like to help out to get things subbed so we can enjoy the things we like subbed. The benefits we get don’t cover all the work we put into it. And now for volunteers outside the US the perks become more and more limited. A few years ago I never got a license restriction error and now I get quite a few.


Actually it’s a Korean drama. And apparently it’s not the only Korean one currently suffering. They were mentioning two more. I’ve never heard of these many happening before. Must be some sort of fluke, bad luck.

My advice on how to “handle this” is there is nothing you as a viewer can do to MAKE the subbers show up and put in the time and effort for the drama so don’t even ask the question.
But I will tell you what you can do to make subbers LESS willing to volunteer their time on a channel:

  1. . Moan, groan and whine, and write comments like this “Subs?”
  2. . Emphasize that you pay what is essentially the cost of a special drink at Starbucks for subtitles which are better than those “professionally” produced.
  3. . Mention that if subbers volunteered, they have a duty and responsibility to honor the committment to subtitle faster than humanly possible. ( There are still a lot of viewers who believe Korean broadcasters put the English (Spanish, Portuguese, French, etc.) subtitles on and therefore when the videos are uploaded, the English subtitles should instantly appear).
  4. . Write a review giving the drama 1 star because subtitles are slow or missing.
    5). Write a review giving the drama 1 star because the drama is not accessible in your region.

Yes, you are right, your comments are indeed “falling on deaf ears.” If the subbers don’t have the time to subtitle, they are definitely not reviewing comments venting frustration.

I have volunteered on over 200 Korean dramas. The majority of Korean to English subbers are in the USA and their numbers are limited. Most of the subbers I have met through pms work or are in school so they sub for their own enjoyment in their spare time. Many are parents of young children. So I am always grateful that the subbers donate any time at all and come when they can and as often as they can spare the time. Once every 3 or 4 months, I actually get an unsolicited thank you note from a viewer – Sometimes just a one liner – and it makes all the difference in the world for me to put in some more time volunteering.


The most important thing is learning patience, that is the key. We have to realize that the members who are subbers also have a life outside Viki therefore they may do subbing when it is convenient and work with their time. For example I know and speak Chinese Mandarin, but my time between working and other personally things do not allow me to do so. Therefore that is the main reason why I am not a subber.

I know it can be frustrating when you are following a drama that is not yet finish. One rule I personally following with the korean or Japanese drama is if the subbing is not yet completed for the episodes, I never look at any of it, until it is totally all done no matter how long it takes.

Because once I start watching a drama I want each episodes to follow already done. I never look at a few episodes and wait for the other to be finish with subbing. I rather wait for the complete whole of it. We have to learn patience in life. that’s just a part of life lessons. I am thankful for all the subbers who find the time to reach out and help. :slight_smile:


Yes, but what of the subbers who accept to be part of the team and then, in a 16-hour drama, contribute like 10-20 subs? Or zero subs?
I understand if someone initially says she will do the job and then something unexpected happens so she cannot do it. But that’s why communication is crucial.
“This week I’ll be out of town with no internet, I won’t be able to help”.
“This month we have our exams, so I’ll come whenever I can but I cannot promise much”. Or even
“I know that I was the one to ask you to be in this show, but something came up, so I cannot after all - so please remove me, it will be for next time”.
What’s so difficult about writing something like that so that the moderator knows on how many subbers to rely?
In my own teams, I expect subbers to be present at least once a week - even if it’s not for a full part - or if they cannot, write it on our Google sheet so the rest of us know the situation and someone else including me can do more.
Communication, collaboration, helping each other and filling in for each other, that’s what teamwork is supposed to mean, right? Not just everyone doing their own thing whenever they feel like it.
I sometimes volunteer for an organization that helps immigrant unaccompanied minors. They issue an email saying “a volunteer is needed for a baby in X hospital (Note: they put them in hospitals even when they’re not sick): Monday to Saturday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.” . If I reply to that email and say I’m available to watch and take care of the baby on one or more of those time slots, should I feel free to not turn up just because I’m a volunteer? If I committed, I have to go, and if something comes up, then I have to tell them beforehand so that they can arrange for someone else.
Certainly subbing a drama is much less urgent and important, but the principle should be the same, right?

1 Like

@ Irmar – I too feel for MYSELF that when I volunteer, its a committment that I will keep and I feel very guilty when I can’t show up. But that is a standard I set for myself and I don’t try to impose that standard on others. And I think subbing on viki is a leisure time activity which an orange to your apple of volunteering for an immigrant organization.
I know factually that you are correct that there are subbers who don’t show up or who show up for only one or two episodes and never again. I figure life happens – either they didn’t have as much time as they thought they would or the series didn’t interest them so I leave them off the thank you list and remove them from the list of people I ask to join the next team. Although I am thankful when some one does tell me before or after an episode to explain their absence, I have zero expectation of being informed. Let me try to run a parallel to scheduling work in an employment situation. If you feel you need five people to cover the days’ work, you will schedule five people and you must be told in advance if someone cannot show up so you can find a substitute. But we don’t have a time deadline to meet with respect to subtitling. I do try to keep one ideal in my mind – to finish this week’s episodes before next week’s upload. But with respect to volunteer subtitlers, I know there are a small number of subtitlers who are capable of subbing an entire one hour episode alone in three hours. So if even one of them is on the team and regularly subtitles, I don’t worry if no one else shows up. And if I only have one such subber on the team and she tells me in advance that she can’t come due to work/ family/school for a few weeks, – I can’t really schedule someone else to take her place. I’ve been at viki long enough to have had series which were so long and apparently uninteresting to the original subbers that for the second half of the series there were only three subtitlers working. Two of us subbing and a third person who would come to edit our work and fill in the blanks. These series were usually 50 episodes on the weekends. I was still grateful for the original subbers because collectively they did 25 episodes. What are you going to do with a volunteer who doesn’t show up? Fire her or take back the money she earned?