yeah it’s like a neverending story, and if it’s boring it’s even worse. The drama I’m subbing rn, I just can’t stand some of the arcs, they are sooooooooo irritating.
Also, when new volunteers join, keeping track of all the terms and making sure everyone is using the same terms is another huge headache.
But worst of all is when you’re subbing alone. Sometimes I push myself to keep subbing because I feel accountable, that I have to finish my part so the team can complete it together. But when there’s no one else, it’s just the worst. What was once exciting becomes burdensome and I’d give anything to just close everything up and walk away.
The one thing that works for me is getting involved in the story. If I’m subbing parts 1 and 2, i usually watch the rest of the parts before continuing, so there’s at least a little suspense on where the story is going.
Loosing motivation is the biggest problem. No matter how interesting a series is, it can still be tiresome to translate. Things which motivate me best:
1. Not working alone. You don’t want to disappoint your team mate, you don’t want to be the slacking one, the lazy one. You keep each other in check. And you progress faster, so you see the light at the end of a tunnel. Nothing beats a good team, one where every member feels the responsibility to finish the series.
None of these are a problem if you have a google spreadsheet which everyone can view and edit. You can also chat in it or leave notes, such as “I’m not too sure about this translation”.
I quit on volunteering on long kdrama because when I did volunteer on those there always was a time I didn’t want to do it anymore. You have commit yourself to one kdrama for at least half a year and I rather work on various kdrama. Next to that I hardly watch really long kdrama as they usually are going to drag a lot at one point.
I used to do long dramas too, by myself, but got some help later. If you’re subbing in a language that has few subbers, you often have to work by yourself.
But you can also ask other subbers for help and tell them it’s okay if they only help for X amount of episodes. This way they aren’t stuck with a long project and you get some much needed help. I don’t mind that I have to edit all the terms and such, especially if the person who’s helping is a good subber.
(Also, I recently started to re-edit one of the first long dramas I did and even though there aren’t many mistakes, I do have to change some things, because my subbing style has changed. As I’m going through the episodes - on 3 out of 60 now - I’m kicking myself, asking why I’m doing this…).
I think it depends on the story/characters and time frame. You can see it as a marathon or like a sport’s event with several stages. When you rush forward you might be the first at the beginning but later falling back because of losing energy and power. Same goes for long dramas.
So the amount of episodes that are translated in a certain amount of time should be related to the size of the team and the number of episodes.
Another aspect that is important imo is to offer some kind of flexibility, set a deadline but give enough time so everyone can choose the days when to work on it (when someone wants to work on 2 parts right away - it’s fine; sometimes people are in a flow and enjoy subbing multiple parts at once, allow that and don’t stick to a fixed order who has to do how many parts unless it is a bigger team).
If someone has to translate the whole drama by herself I imagine it very very hard because then ~50 episodes need forever and the one probably must either really enjoy translating or is dedicated to the story/characters.
What is a long drama? Perhaps thirty-six, forty-two or fifty episodes is considered long. But no drama should take six months to a year unless it’s over one hundred episodes!
A good CM recruits enough volunteers and releases episodes in a timely manner. I joined a team with co-CMs, but one left and the remaining one is difficult to work under. With the same situation on another show, the remaining CM is a joy. I always follow through on my commitments if my health allows, no matter how stressful it is to work with some people.
If a show seems boring, I find the challenge to edit well still presents enough interest for me. I have edited books written by the Ph.D. and I pored through long psychology books and edited several educational theses. Thus, I don’t find any drama really boring, but loads of fun in comparison
haha I feel like a warrior now
I’m wandering over here trying to find motivation to finish the drama I’m working onnnn
the battle scars owwww sometimes I go see all our accomplished sunbaes’ profiles to get myself back on the project
As a moderator my biggest fear is the slow release of episodes for OL. It drives me crazy, when we have to wait weeks or months and my team members are vanishing slowly. My schedule for dramas gets messed up and it’s difficult to motivate the team. I moderated dramas with around 50 episodes and it took almost a year to complete this drama due to slow releases. I watched this drama, when it was on air, but after such a long time, I forgot a lot and had to rewatch some episodes in order to update our google doc with the casts and the terminology.
It’s not easy to find enough subbers, but usually we could complete 3 episodes per week at least. Depending on the drama maybe up to 5 episodes. And it is so cruel, if you have to wait for each release, week by week and the subbers get impatient.
As a subtitler I was part of teams, where the moderators were demotivated and they didn’t care anymore for the drama. So now I’m careful and only join teams with such moderators I really trust and know, they will do their best for the drama. It’s frustrating to get stuck in a drama and you want to sub but can’t because the moderator lost the motivation.
If you sub alone, you should make a schedule, so you can see your progress clearly and you should be determined to keep up with this schedule.
I think the longest I did was Ever night 1. The drama started on October 31, 2018 for 60 episodes. French team followed English team all along. We finished in September / October 2019. The funniest thing in the story is that season 2 started 2 months later. And now, we are still working ok season 2. (34/43 episodes). With some lucky, I will also have 2 months off before Season 3. I know it’s a long job, it’s a very hard drama to translate. But I admit that it takes determination and bravery like a warrior going to war to survive Ever night.
And if it was only one drama…
In conclusion, more than saying what is the most difficult, I can tell you what we need to survive: to be a warrior going to war!
I mean that the English Team should not take six months to a year. If you are the only translator in your language, I think you have more leeway to pick and choose dramas which you really want to work on. As English editors, we have less choice than say the only Yoruba translator.
When I join a team as an English editor, my aim is two to three episodes per week. On some shows with great TEs and pre-subs, we did five episodes per week. I group message the TE team and always show gratitude for their hard work. People need to feel that their hard work is recognized and worthwhile! Some CMs may scold their team which de-motivates.
My friend who translates Greek does a couple of hours per day, and I’m amazed at her progress as the only OL on the Greek Team. She is very organized, has a Greek copy of all OST lyrics, is sweet, positive and upbeat. I’m only human, and she caught one mistake in the English OST that I didn’t catch so I was able to fix that.
Having great OL moderators makes a difference. I always keep them in mind when I choose a synonym for a subtitle as I do English editing, plus I edit subs to fit the timing given so OL don’t have super long subs. For me, knowing that what I do affects others makes the biggest difference for motivation.
One of my GEs says that she is happy knowing someone out there will enjoy the drama due to her hard work. As a longtime viewer, I know how much I appreciate good subs!!! I try my best to be other-focused in my volunteer work rather than to sit on my pity pot LOL. So I’m glad to do my part as well.
The main problem is that you don’t know whether it will be good.
Once I was lucky, I was called as Italian Editor on Five Children (50 hour-long episodes). I fell in love with the drama.
But one can’t always be lucky, with on-air shows you never know how it will turn out.
I was very unhappy whenever I’ve had to work on a drama that looked promising but turned out to be very bad: it happened to me with Bride of the Water God and with Melting Me Softly. I couldn’t wait for them to finish! And they were only 16 episodes. Just imagine what it would be if they were 50 episodes or more.
Now I’ve started working on Yu Na’s Street, which I have binge-watched in its entirety during this last couple of weeks, and which has shot up to the top five dramas I’ve ever watched (out of more than 200). But before asking for it I first watched some episodes, read reviews etc.
I volunteer here because I like doing it, but if it has to be a chore, and suffer, no thanks!
And that’s why I would never commit to a long on-air show. An old show that I can watch before deciding, definitely yes. If I like it, it’s no problem. Of course I also have to find subbers that like it equally, and the CM has to be patient if we take a while. I am not a “lone subber” kind of person.
P.S. It’s a bummer that Viki never says how many episodes there will be before the drama is here. You have to hunt for the info elsewhere.
Precisely because of this I can’t remember the last time I applied as a mod for an on-going drama. It’s been only the old or completed dramas for me. The thought of investing my time in shallow, meaningless dramas makes me shudder.
When you’re still editing the first few episodes of a drama and a little demon on your shoulder tells you that you should just binge watch the entire thing because it’s fun… and the instant regret that washes over you when you realize the drama isn’t all that interesting and you now have to watch everything all over again, segment by segment, multiple times