How to translate from a language to English?

Hello wonderful people ! <3
I have a question that is related to translation from chinese (or any language) to English.
I explain : I have a friend that already subtitled on Viki a few months ago. We both study chinese and she’s fluent in english, and she’d like to try translating from chinese to english. Could you please give me more infos about it ? She doesn’t want to do it before marking sure she can do it. For example when you translate, do you have the script or do you just understand what they are saying without any text/transcription ?
Thank you very much for your answer, it’s important to me !
Have a nice day everyone, jiayou <3


This kind of depends on the drama. However, most I’ve seen do have scrips. The CM will always know whether a drama has scripts available or not.


One of the teams I’m working with right now has a person captioning first the script into the original language (Korean) and then the Kor-to-Eng translators come to translate. They then have both the script and the video/audio in front of them to understand the dialogue. But I don’t know if that’s the norm.

I think you primarily need the video, so that you can pick up the nuances in speech, such as intonation, pauses etc. to make the translation accurate.

If she hadn’t translated from Chinese to English before, what language did she translate from?


Hi, this type translation (native language for English) usually be does for the TE. I recommend that write for CM because that one knows all the information for the drama.

Hope I was help you :blush:

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@lauclv If she already did it before, how did she do it, and in what language(s)?
Btw, check this out if you or your friend haven’t already done so.


It depends on the channel itself. It could be either/or, or both included. One must understand and be proficient in the source language (i.e. Mandarin Chinese, in this case) in both written and spoken formats in order to translate to English, the basis for all onward translation to other languages.

Yes, @damiechan is right. Check with the CM of the channel. Usually, if there’s no script available from the start, CMs would request Viki to obtain it from the provider, although it all depends on their contractual arrangement.

This is not the norm, as far as I know. I think while it’s a good practice and would help the English team, the time taken from source language (spoken/on screen/signages) to captioning to translating would make viewers wait even longer. I believe the English translators (exception may be made for newbies/trainees) are proficient in the source language (and usually in the target language as well, in whichever format) before they are accepted as part of the team. So there’s no need for them to wait for the captions. However, if it’s an old or off-air channel, the time factor wouldn’t be much of an issue, and this practice would certainly work.


Thank you so much for your answer, it’s really interesting to understand how it works ! To answer to you and @bozoli, we are french so she translated from english to french, but she’s been studying chinese for 3 years and she wants to have a go at it as she is starting a Master in Chinese (just so that you have an idea; and she’s also fluent in english, obviously). Tbh, I was also curious to understand how the english team works. <3


I agree with you in principle. In practice you can have a Chief Segmenter and Captioner in Europe, while the English team is in North America. So, the time difference would be perfect for an efficient relay race.

In the case I mentioned I’m guessing this is done because the show has heavy professional jargon and lots of slang.