Korean to Hindi subbing tips/suggestions

Hello Hindi Subbers,
I have been on Viki as Hindi Moderator/Subber for quite sometime . There are lots of new comers coming to Viki now to sub so thought of putting some tips out. First of all subbing doesn’t mean just simply translating the English to Hindi. Please read up on Korean way to address people, things, relatives etc. also.

  • Please double check your grammar/ spellings/pronouns. Don’t be in a hurry to finish the episode. Re-read your translation/subs. There is a difference between कि & की, हूँ & हू, जाति & जाती etc.
  • Noona is used for real older sister or any female older than a person, even for lover (same with Oppa for boys) therefore please don’t translate Noona/Oppa into “Didi/Bhayia” without understanding the context. If Noona/Oppa is being used for someone they like/love, just person’s name with Ji at end example --“Song Hyo जी”
  • Ahjumma/Ahjusshi is used for anyone like we say Uncle/ Aunty or “भाई साहब/बहनजी”
  • Sunbae is used to show seniority in any place/occupation. In India, there is no equivalent so please use Sir/Madam instead.
  • Koreans address each other with various respect levels – आप, तुम, तू . Please check who is talking to whom. This is crucial because that shows how close or far the relations are.
  • My personal preference —Don’t translate the songs into Hindi. Leave them in English.

@sandeepsandhu Thank u so much…!! I really needed these tips… 'cause of u, now my work will be more efficient…!

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so the name in English?

I made this doc yesterday for Search. This isn’t completely mine, but a modified version of English guidelines at Viki. I just made some changes here and there to make it fit for Hindi.

I want to get some criticism for this document. :grin:


Maybe add a URL for a site where you can convert won to INR?



Thank you @mirjam_465 , I’ll add it as soon as possible :smiley:


I asked few of Hindi readers about Names and response I got back was that sometimes when name is typed in Hindi, it is harder to read because of pronunciation. Also I have seen that in same episode, name in Hindi changes spelling if person is not careful. Again this is my personal preference is to leave names as they are… I will give example — Lee Song Hi is the one…“ली सोंग ही ही वो आदमी है” — Hi and is have same spelling in Hindi so it might get confusing…


@sandeepsandhu thanks a lot for putting these up! it makes things a lot easier when there’s a clear set of rules to follow for those of us who are new and/or don’t know the norms and general guidelines of Hindi subbing at Viki :grinning: much appreciated!


ohh…thank you so much!

I had seen this, that you wrote sometime ago, and I had deeply appreciated it. [quote=“sandeepsandhu, post:3, topic:35278”]
Hello, if by modern Hindi you mean Hindi + English mix, then no. Please use Hindi script and Hindi to translate.

But now I read this:

Whaaaat? I just happened to see this. Why on earth? Does every single Indian viewer understand the nuances of English so well? Songs are meant to convey insights into the deep feelings of the characters and help create a mood, so if one doesn’t understand it, much of it is lost.

About the spelling changes… That’s why we Other Language moderators have guideline sheets for our projects, so that the subbers will always put the same spelling for names, the same titles, be consistent with the politeness levels etc.

But this isn’t all. Inspired by this discussion, I went and checked episode 1 of I’ll Go To You When the Weather is Nice. I was appalled to see that you’ve mixed English into Hindi quite a lot. Not translating the names of characters and songs is bad enough, plus names of places like Seoul and Europe (are you saying that there isn’t a standardized transliteration for those?), but also words like marshmallow, sticker, skating rink, international driver’s licence, ma’m, teacher, goodnight, bookstore, bathroom, uncle… And those are only from episode 1. Let’s say you don’t have a word for “cello”, but you could have transliterated that in Hindi (Google translate comfortably suggests सेलो, not that it’s a reliable source, but since it’s just a transliteration, I suppose it is used, right?). However, I am positive that you have words for uncle and teacher in Hindi. (I even know those!) Or bookstore and bathroom. I’m sure there were bookstores before the English came to India so how did people manage then?
Not to mention whole sentences just copied into English, for instance the team credits and the episode title. And the explanation of teokboki.

1%20at%2059'%2013'' 1%20at%2056'%2034 1%20at%2053'%2049''%20 1%20at%2053'%2011'' 1%20at%2010'03'' 1%20at%209' I'll%20Go%20To%20You%20episode%201%20team%20name 1%20at%2042'08 1%20at%2033'15'' 1%2033'06'' 1%20at%2032'28''


I was really shocked and I’m feeling really miserable, because you were one of my favourite collaborators, such a nice and warm person to work with.
That’s what happens if a CM doesn’t know the various languages. But how could we possibly?

People might think that, not being Indian myself, I have to right to butt in in this conversation. But as an Other Language moderator who has had this discussion within Italian community many times (don’t think that in Italy we don’t have infiltration of English words, although nowhere as much as in India), I think it is a discussion worth having with all international volunteers because this bastardization of local languages is surely a worldwide phenomenon.

And there is another reason, more practical. One of the first things that Mahoula taught me, back in 2016 when I first started translating into Greek, is to put everything in Greek script, because there are some elderly people (including her own mother) who just can’t read Latin script. Even if they officially learned English at school, maybe they didn’t need to use it for decades and completely forgot it, or they weren’t good students to begin with, or… So, are we spitting on those people’s faces because of snobbery or laziness, or “because cool urban middle and upper class people do it”? Is that really what we want to promote? Is that how we want to ostracize a whole part of our audience? Don’t these people have the right to watch dramas? If they know English so well, they could easily use the English subs, so what’s the point in Hindi subs anyway?

Dear Sandeep, I am sure you’ll be mad at me, but please don’t be. All this doesn’t mean I don’t like you as a person. But it’s an issue I’m deeply passionate about and I couldn’t just keep quiet about it.

@vivi_1485, @twinkling, @kaorikazehaya,
@cgwm808, @dudie, @mahoula, @piranna, @anna79_9, @simi11, @lutra


That IS a lot of english words…I don’t think this is happening in other dramas, I’ve already watched a few and didn’t see this.
In the case of names, yeah it can be weird but personally, I think doing Si-Yeon like 'सी-योन ’ with a dash in the middle lets people know it’s a name.
I had a problem with Seoul though…it’s real pronunciation sounds like “Sheo-ool” but all the people here will say it as “See-ole” or “Se-ole” so when translating I keep wondering whether to let it be as ''सियूल" or “सीओल” so people will understand.

Since we’re talking about this, has anyone here watched Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with English subs? I was just STUNNED at the translation. Just to see how translation works on other sites, I turned on English subs for Munna Bhai MBBS and WOW. I obviously didn’t expect them to find equivalents to our slang so it lost so much of it’s zing BUT…they just changed Indian names like Aishwarya to Pamela(when he sings that song to the suicidal guy)! The songs were a total mess, when a guy started singing bhajans they translated(I can’t even call this translating) it to the “Now I lay me down to sleep…” prayer!!! :scream:
What I got from that weird experience is: there are two audiences people are trying to cater to when subtitling-

  1. the ones who just want to be entertained
  2. the ones who are trying to understand another country’s culture.

I had started a topic on this exact same thing and got reprimanded because I was thinking more of the first kind of people. After reading all their arguments and experiencing Korean culture myself through k-dramas, I strongly argue for the second kind of people. If I was an American watching Bollywood on Prime to learn about Indian culture, I would have gotten away completely confused. However, if I, the supposed American, was watching it just to watch another story, I guess I would be satisfied because they presented subtitles to me in a way I could understand and relate to.

With my previous thought process, this is the answer I had for this question- The elderly aren’t going to watch with subtitles. They’re comfortable with their own serials and if they even consider watching something like this, they’d watch it dubbed because they would hate reading subs. The main reason so many of my friends won’t watch k-drama is “Who’s going to read the subs? I can’t understand what they’re saying.” It’s only the so-called “cool urban and upper-class people” who are open to reading subs.
I watched Home Alone at school a few years ago. Since I consciously learned Hindi when I transferred to Mumbai, I could read better than the majority of my class, who struggled with reading Hindi even more than they struggled with English. So they opted to watch Home Alone with Hindi-dubbed since they refused to read subs. I don’t know about others’ experiences, but this is what I noticed: in Mumbai, most of us are mixed-state or from other states. Most of us speak separate languages at home. English is the medium we study in, so we need to know that. Hindi is something we learn just to converse on a normal basis with everyone, so we don’t really pay attention to reading and writing it. Because my mom wanted us to be good academically, I studied it well. Though my grammar was off a lot of the time, my spelling was better than most of theirs.

In my case, I’m from Karnataka, so I have been taught to read, write and speak Kannada and English. Kannada because it’s my culture, my heritage and we have to preserve it no matter where we go. Hindi is called the ‘national language’ so we study it as a second language in school. So the majority of people will understand basic Hindi because it’s the ‘national language’ and the general language in North India and Bollywood.
In South India, we’re proud of our own languages. Hindi is not in our culture. We don’t really do much to preserve it because it isn’t ‘ours’. The elderly are NOT comfortable in Hindi. It’s almost as foreign to them as English. I am in no way disrespecting hindi as a language. It is what it is.

I’m sorry for writing so much, but it seemed like the more I wrote, the more I needed to explain.


You know I like to discuss this, however at the moment unfortunately I can’t afford the time.
Just let me say this, from outside making subtitles … For those who might not know I am from Germany and my native language is German. My first other language however was French as it was my main language till I left school. In school, I didn’t have one French teacher who would have made me love the language or find another access to learn the language in a more fun way. So I hated learning vocabulary and grammar and my favorite thing after school was to just throw my school bag in a corner at home and to avoid homework as long as I could sometimes by resulting in not doing them at all. So in my school at the age of 12-13 (that is class 7 and 8 in our education system) we would have the possibility to choose another subject in our school it was offered either home economics, economics, mathematic/nature science and if you had French as first you kind of automatically got English as the additional subject.
So now with French already “tormenting” me at that time, I got a 2nd language on top with a teacher, who didn’t show me any passion for language either. Resulting in giving up English after 2 years, when we again could choose another subject and I went into math/science (if anyone is curious). Did I give up on English? No. MTV was my teacher since I was a huge music lover and as I didn’t have that much vocabulary I learned through songs later by music magazines and books.
So when I later joined another school for a higher school qualification I had to take English classes. We all had mixed backgrounds, but I was by far the one with the smallest amount of English knowledge on paper - 2 years of school English and that 8 years ago. My teacher looked troubled as English made up 25% of the final evaluation. But I made it from a “sufficient minus 4- (D- if there is such a thing)” to a “good to satisfying 2-3 (B-C)” in a year. I even made an 1 (A) in reading test and I felt so good, since even the top pupils barely made the top score.

Anyway why tell such a long story, … In that year I learned my vocabulary the hard way, but for the first time I had a teacher who was passionate about English and teaching it. And she told me this, take a big dictionary and make it your own. Means if you look for one word and in the description of that word there are other words you do not understand, look those up until you comprehend it fully. That is what I did and became a habit. Not to literally translate but to understand the structure of a sentence and with that translate the meaning.
To provide the meaning of a text from another language to your own means, break it down, so even grandma next door who might be less educated understands it. It doesn’t mean to break down context from legal, medical, scientific in a way to explain it, it means to transfer it in words that fit your language not the language in general and not to reduce it so only one part can understand it by using youth language or slang. Make the subtitle clear, so they are understandable in one go, one shouldn’t need to pose the video too often only to understand what the translator meant.

So the resume is, use as much of your own language as possible and only use English or any other language you are translating from either is a loan word or the appropriate word in your native language is not used that much. For example a cellphone in German officially is “Mobiltelefon” (mobile phone), but somehow the word “Handy” came into play, not an English word but a creation for whatever reason … Probably because it came more handy, than the long word “Mobiltelefon”, anyway today Handy is the word in daily use and no one is questioning it, even though it isn’t even a loan word.
I think my stand of view came through, I don’t even like to look at the time, so I need to stop here. Have fun discussing it further.

This is a really big coincidence Irmar, I was watching the episode 1 in Hindi this afternoon (4-5 hours ago) and my reaction to the subs was the same.

I’d definitely not like to watch so much mixed language stuff.

I wanted to say this at the same time when this topic was made. If a Korean name conflicts with a Hindi word and you prefer to write the Korean name in English then what about English words that conflict with Korean names?

Should “Park went to Park” or “Song sang a song” be written in English like “박 went to park” or 송 sang a song"?

Not so long ago, I received a request from a person to improve the subtitles of a drama. I asked the moderator to add me and according to what the person said she also asked to add me to the team, I wonder what’s taking so long to add me to the team?

I strongly feel the Devnagari script is much more powerful and expressive than the Latin alphabets when it comes to writing Korean names. Many people at first won’t even realize that Seoul is not pronounced as Se-o-u-l. I see a lot of Hindi subbers writing Se-o-u-l in Hindi when we can write 서울 without much “vowel conflicts” and the reader can also read Seoul comfortably and not get mixed with the three vowels in a row.

I’ve always had the Devnagari script to write Korean words and I use Latin letters only when there are short forms in subs, like XYZ company or KPSE institute. I only write the “XYZ and KPSE” part in Latin, writing this in Hindi will be too big to read in a few seconds. (eks-wai-zee and ke-pi-es-ee)

The person who complained about the quality of subs in another drama gave a really valid reason as to why not use Latin alphabets for names. “It’s a headache to switch between two different scripts in 2 seconds”. Also, as for the OSTs, she likes them so much but the translations were not there. I also love that show but I watch in English so I can’t say how much of that is truth but she said the OSTs are not translated, the names of places are not translated, either they are in English or there are just full stops or music notes.

We do have Hindi versions of more popular places. Like USA is “Amrika”, Greece is “Yunaan” and so much more. And if there are no Hindi versions, we transliterate the English names.

As of now, I am working on High school dramas and as usual, there are scenes of teachers teaching math, history science, etc. My subbers leave the English subs just transliterated in Hindi. When I edit, I sit for almost an hour finding the Hindi equivalents of English terms because if the viewer is watching the subs in Hindi, the very first assumption I make is the person attended a Hindi medium school so the person was educated in Hindi language.

As an example, this is a sub from True Beauty episode 5,
What’s the limiting value of constant function 7 when x goes over 6?
The original subber just transliterated the mathematical terms and I am not saying the subber did wrong, the subber did their best and the subber has always given good subtitles.
This is my version of the above subtitle
अचर फलन 7 का सीमांत मान क्या होगा जब x 6 से आगे बढ़ेगा?
This one contains the Hindi words of “limiting value” and “constant function”. This is a very good reason why I take a lot of time to edit Hindi subtitles, because I do immense research while making the subs and making the sure that the spelling and grammar is always correct.

The viewer I mentioned above does not know English so she finds the regular appearance of English subs very uncomfortable and she is not blame for not knowing English. The person also claims to be a Hindi teacher and she catches mistakes so fast.

There is a military drama where I am redoing the subs because an abuser ruined the subs and the affected episodes were recently corrected. That was one of the first dramas I took as a moderator, I did research, went through several Wikipedia pages, compared the Indian army ranks, the US army and Korean ranks to finally settle to the posts of the cast. I also did a lot of research on the way Indian Army address their juniors and seniors. For the other military drama at Viki, the ranks of the cast is according to US army. How are the viewers going to understand if the speaker and listener hold the same position or not based on ranks they don’t even know?

Putting every other stuff apart, I was actually thinking about this the other night. When there are scenes in a drama where dialogs from some other dramas are used for pun, should we provide translation notes in the subs.

To be more clear, there is a scene in True Beauty where dialogs from some other movie were used to make the situation look funny. Are we, the OLs, also supposed to quote the same dialogs and provide TNs in the subs? Reading the long TNs can be cumbersome. I did not provide any TN and to preserve the inside joke of the scene, I used another dialog from a Bollywood movie, Don (the one with Shahrukh Khan) and used the “11 countries’ police are chasing me” dialog. This way, I could preserve the joke as well as use less screen space.
Now, the dilemma is, what to do if somebody from a movie where the lead has worked and the person makes a cameo and makes references to their work together. One such example is the Han river scene in Legend Of The Blue Sea where the main lead from the movie Sassy Girl makes appearance and talks about their work (I forgot what they talked about though). In this situation, I’d choose to provide TNs rather than choosing an alternative from my country.
Are these approaches acceptable for these two different situations?

I saw this music video on YT and I find the subs really soothing. They are short, crisp and above all rhyming. I really appreciate the effort made by the translator. I’d like to elaborate and support Vivi’s statement in my own words.
If the original meaning is there in the subs and I can see the original culture, I am okay with the subs.
And just like Vivi, I won’t support the shift from Aishwarya to Pamela.
This MV is a really good example of how to keep the original meaning and rhyme intact. Ever since I watched this video, I also try to do the same.

This is another song from the same movie

P.S This is the first movie of the actress and she is such a big star of Bollywoood right now. The movie is worth watching.

Whatever I said might hurt some people, I did not say this to pick up fights but to find solutions


Then why did you never sub in Kannada?

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Hello Irmar,

I will continue my crochet pattern today :slight_smile: Hope you slept well!

If you ask for my opinion… I feel a little uneasy. I think it’s better to communicate in private over some matters when it’s possible to communicate with the other party or publish it without identifying the person. I’m def. not the best person out there to say that, but thinking it over and listening to some podcasts made me understand some things.

If you ask for my opinion on Hindi subtitling, I feel like that time when we were clueless and asked more about Serbian, Serbo-Croatian… I’m still clueless!
In my mind, Hindi is part of the group of languages where I was told different things and I feel lost because it’s not one definitive answer, sometimes it’s contradicting arguments.

I would need a linguist in these languages to explain me and it’s difficult to explain this type of thing to someone who has 0 knowledge in Hindi like me, so… good luck!

There was another topic about Hindi subtitles mixing English subtitles where a few of us asked some questions if I remember correctly. Like how did Hindi evolve, who can read it, how do they speak nowadays, how do you translate Oppa or modern terms… Globally it was questions like that, but my memory is failing me…

I recalled I was surprised to read different answers, so… I still don’t know what to think about how it’s subbed in Hindi, how it should be done, how it’s…

(I agree, we evolve as subtitlers, so I think if most of us compared our first subtitles and our subtitles nowadays, we might have changed our style over the time and experience. But I don’t know the story of this person, whether it’s a recent drama or not or what made her change her opinion or maybe this drama has some terms not possible to translate in pure Hindi. Or maybe not!)

I have 0 idea because I don’t speak Hindi.


I took the liberty of tagging you all, because I think that this goes beyond Hindi. It’s a general concept. From you, for example, I would expect your opinion about English loanwords in French, .

Thinking of it, maybe I should have made it a separate thread. But now it’s too late, since four people have already replied.


I see what you mean. But… the cool urban and upper-class people… why would they read subs in Hindi, when they would be totally comfortable reading the English ones? These people don’t actually need Hindi subs. Then what is the real audience for this effort?


It’s difficult because India was a former British colony and I have no idea about the importance of their past colonial impact on Hindi. When I read posts from our Hindi contributors, I feel like there’re still deep lingering remnants.
It’s really a particular language in my mind, so I can’t say that the way we would only pick French and not mix English is similar to the way we would only write pure Hindi and not mix English.

That’s why I’m feeling uneasy, saying that the way French is translated from English works the same or would work the same as Hindi translated from English, because we don’t share the same evolution in languages and today’s society, I can’t compare LOL

I am not sure I am clear in what I say, got some hard time to explain it with words.

Or maybe since there are divergent pov in the Hindi community, we could suggest to, in addition to “Hindi” (pure Hindi), create “Modern Hindi,” so everyone’s satisfied… but creating 2 sets of subs for Hindi, time is running :slight_smile:

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I understand Piranna’s dilemma. If I were to say something on French, I would have been reluctant to say anything too.

But, Hindi or any other language severly affected by English should not be this “Englishized” that no words from Hindi are used. Just like Irmar, I would also use the phrase “laziness of middle and upperclassmen”

I see modern Hindi from a different perspective. For me, modern Hindi is choosing between two Hindi words, one which was used in the past by the “royalties” and the other used by “commons”. As an example, there are several words for “love” in Hindi. One is “prem” other is “pyaar”. I’d label “pyaar” as modern Hindi, it does not sound too ancient, it is not too unusual and it is not too weird to say “I love you” using “pyaar”. Today’s generation also uses “pyaar” a lot as compared to “prem”. If there are these two words (and several others), why use “love” in the subs?

Words like “bookstore”, “bathroom”, “world” or any other existing word in English have Hindi equivalents too. The same goes for Urdu or any other Indian language.

As of now, the Hindi news channels give the maximum exposure to Hindi. They are the best place to learn Hindi vocabulary.

Just like this, I am sure, other Englishized languages have some organizations which keep their languages strong.

We definitely change opinions over time. I used to use different rules to write Korean names when I joined, I use different, more suitable rules now.

Not trying to be rude: I just noticed, “I can’t go down alone” is translated as “Why should I listen to talks alone?” Not sure if the translated sub was relevant to the scene.


For me, it seems to have 2 groups.
The one defending the Hindi heritage and wanting to keep their historical language for future generations.
The one wanting to go with the way their society is evolving or the reflect of the current language they use every day or hear every day from the neighbourhood where they live.

Again it’s a big guess, because I don’t know their society. I only watched a few Hindi movies and yes, they were mixing English and Hindi when they spoke. I don’t know whether that’s the way things should be done or not.

I think Irmar is more from the 1st group because she loves India, their culture and she bounded with Indian people. A real passion.

For me, both parties’ wish is worth it. It’s defensible. There are people who still wear hanboks and jeans.
For youngsters maybe they would like to pick the second choice because it’s easier for them to understand. They might read more fluently that way, whereas some others would prefer the first pick to keep their ancestors’ language. So the traditional Hindi or the modern Hindi…