Please stop translating the lyrics in the music

I find it just clutters up the screen,the translaters are trying way to hard. Its so annoying to have lyrics to a song pop up inbetween the characters conversation let alone at anytime during the program. To me it ruins the flow and totally unnessasary.


bujt I want to see the translation of a song. and yes you are right, wish there was an easier way to see the translations. sure we could go to youtube and find the song ( I did with that bug song from panda & hedgehog, and I admit that was better)


a lot of people like to see the lyrics of the songs, as they sometimes add more meaning to the scene.
However, it DOES clutter up the screen, and I do wish there was a better way to do it…


I understand your point of view. I think it depends on the teams if they translate background lyrics when there is a conversation of the characters at the same time. I usually do not add lyrics when there is a dialogue at the same time because it’s unnecessary - it’s af if you’re in a club or a restaurant and you’d pay more attention to the background music from playlist than to the person you speak with but if there is no dialogue I add the lyrics because some lyrics only appear in a certain scene and often stand for the emotions/thoughts of a character.

If VIKI implements the additional info box that problem might be solved for everyone with any preference.


What you might not know and I apologize if you do, the drama’s songs must follow the substance of the drama as an extra element to enjoy and help you understand. This is a rule in some producing countries and relatively new. It’s up to the CM and what makes Viki unique. Of course, all dialogue takes precedence over lyrics every time. No room - No Lyric. The song is bound to be repeated at another time.


Personally, I don’t like adding song lyrics in drama’s. I still do, because I also don’t like episodes not fully subbed. I don’t mind if it’s the intro or outro song where it’s not interrupted by talking. It’s just annoying if the actors are interrupting the song with their conversation. So you get something like:

Song: ''In the moonlight…
Talking + singing
Talking + singing
Talking + singing
Song: longing for you more than ever
Talking + singing
Talking + singing
Song: once again, I…
Talking + end of song.

It just feels illogical and unnecesary to sub it and it’s difficult because of the missing parts.


The missing parts are also a problem during translation. Recently I had several dramas which had just few lines but not even always those lines that are connected but here a line there a line and middle of the lyrics was left. Then much later the drama had more lines of the lyrics and suddenly it made more sense… (we as OL teams also didn’t have all lines from beginning bc we were translating early episodes while the drama was still ongooing/in subtitling/editing of the main team). So in the end I had to change several parts because the lyrics’s meaning was different when you see the whole text and not just a few lines :frowning:


Oh, that must have been annoying. That’s why in my last project as a moderator with a team, I didn’t allow my team to sub the ost. Only I did it, so that I at least had some control over it. Also word order in Dutch is different from English, so this lyric:

…should look like: once again, VERB, I…

So because I don’t have the verb, I have to make one up that would fit there.

I also think that subbing OST’s is more difficult than subbing conversation, because songs tend to be poetic and have figural speech and like I mentioned before, if it’s a lyric in the middle of the song, you have to think about the word order as well. And I found a lot of lyrics also kinda cheesy and awkward :neutral_face:


I recently subbed an ost for a Chinese drama and I found it quite hard to get the meaning of the song across (in Russian.)

The word order is different and there are different words for things depending on the context so I have to go with what feels the most right even though it might be wrong.

Also some words don’t have literal translations or at least ones that work.

In addition I’m the only Russian in my team so I have no one to check/correct it.


In these cases when you’re doubting what the precise meaning is, talk to the Chief English Editor. They’d be really happy to help :blush:


Do the best you can translating lyrics to your language. I think Russian viewers appreciate your efforts. Lyrics are very poetic so it’s okay if it’s not an exact match to the English. The meaning is conveyed, and that’s an important effort on your part. Thank you. :grinning:

Where there are both lyrics and dialogue, the rule is that dialogue comes first. Where there is a song between dialogue spoken, I think it’s a great thing that translators give us the lyrics. I appreciate it.

@joeyritter_204 “The male brain tends to focus on one thing at a time, to compartmentalize its attention. It is more linear, incremental in reasoning, and focused (e.g., step thinking), and less tolerant of ambiguity.” My husband is like you and doesn’t need or want the lyrics. The female brain can usually flow between lyrics and dialogue with no problem. I’m not saying one brain is better, simply that it’s different. :smiley:

I have found this for a long time on shows in any country. How can anyone think of the movie Pretty Woman without thinking of Roy Orbison’s song Oh, Pretty Woman? They go hand in hand! I hear the OST for a show and it conjures up so much emotion, especially if I can understand the lyrics.

For me, one of the best advantages of watching a show on Viki is to understand the lyrics. I watched a web drama called Do Dream. None of the lyrics were translated. I would have really liked to know what they were singing as that whole drama revolved around the music of their band called Do Dream.

The shows arriving pre-subbed usually don’t translate the lyrics. I find the quality of CMs is the effort they invest to ensure that lyrics get translated for those of us who feel a show is enhanced by its OST. My CM has the origin language editors write out the translated lyrics of the song in the Team Notes. That way, we all have it for reference. @frustratedwriter Many songs are not on YT or at least not for months or years. It’s easier to find for older shows, but not for new dramas.

The rule generally followed on new shows:
If there are lyrics only in a segment, translate them. If there is dialogue, leave out the lyrics unless there is ample room in the segment.
This depends first on the segmenters. If they don’t follow this procedure, no segments with just lyrics appear for those who subtitle. That happened on a movie I worked on, and I don’t think I’m the only one who would have liked to understand the lyrics.

As an aside, I watched a biography on the singer Glen Campbell. As he aged with failing memory, he forgot so much but he could still sing the lyrics of songs. So amazing! Perhaps, it’s good exercise for my brain to read all the subtitles and lyrics.

I do consider it vital not to clutter up the screen, and I spoke towards this on the discussion about unnecessary beaks. With lyrics, a break is needed. That’s why I would leave out lyrics where there is already dialogue.


Viki is famous for translating the song texts and I personally love OSTs. A drama without the songtexts is not a complete drama for me. So please don’t stop translating the songtexts!

But - if there is dialogue in a segment, leave out text. Don’t clutter up the scenes with 3-4 lines of spoken text and add the song lyrics.

Oh yes! There are so many wonderful OSTs and these are essential for a drama or movie. It would be a shame to not translate them.


In a way when it is about lyrics you have to transfer the essence to your own language. English is not always the ideal language to work with in the way of keeping something specific like a word/term. It happened that the English language didn’t have certain Chinese words with that meaning but German has the same word with same core essence like the Chinese word so when I get the feeling the English lyrics don’t catch the origin essence I ask some native speakers (who can also understand English and German).

The word order (syntax) is not only a problem for lyrics => other language but also for dialogues. I don’t know sometimes it is as if people forget the syntax of their own language while translating from English to own language :fearful:


That happens with dialogue as well. Most of the time you can see the rest of the sentence in the following segments, but sometimes someone gets interrupted and you may never know what they were about to say.

Indeed. And not just here. Even “official” translations often sound like literally translated English.


I agree with the above. Song lyrics are essential to my enjoyment. But they should not clutter important conversations.


Thank you to each of you who expressed a liking for the subtitling of OST!
When I first joined viki in 2009, translating of OST rarely happened. When I first was a student in Seg 101 in 2010, we were told to skip subbing the reviews, previews and the OST. When I watched Kdrama on television, it was very rare to have the OST subtitled. I was attracted to K drama because I liked listening to the OST. So after I became a qualified segmenter in 2010, I started adding OST segments to already completed episodes and to any new episodes I was segmenting. (We segmenters often had the opportunity to resegment completed episodes because viki did not have its own servers and used other streaming services. Sometimes the viki version would suddenly disappear and we would re-upload, re-segment and re-sub all prior episodes of a drama. Viki staff would send the team our own subs to re-input.) For already completed episodes, I would pm the Korean subbers to please come back to sub the OST and I was lucky – no one ever refused! I decided to study Korean because I enjoyed the OST so much and started taking university courses in 2010 just so I could sub the OST by myself. When Team Notes were first available around 2011 or 2012, I started entering the OST Korean and English and since then I estimate I have translated probably 2000 OST songs. In both Seg 101 and Ninja Academy we taught the students how to segment lyrics. The basic rule is that if the voice singing is at the same volume as the dialogue, assume the director meant the song to be comprehended so the segmenter is to cut segments for them. Most OST songs are custom written for the drama and add meaning to the story.
But it is true that sometimes bits and pieces don’t make sense. I have found that lots of grammar rules are relaxed, there is more leaving out of parts of speech and particles in OST. And Korean Subject-Object-Predicate order makes subbing fragments even more difficult. When a song first appears, sometimes the lyrics aren’t published yet, and the segments don’t match up with the song’s lyric length so the subbers try their best with a fragment of a line. Sometimes the enunciation by the singer isn’t clear.
Very often, a complete sentence may be expressed in three lines of the song. To make sense in English, I often need to use the words in the third line in the first line of the translation.
This is why once a song is published, we editors should go back to the first episode the song was sung and revise the subs.
Even if the OST is in a language other than Korean on a K drama, we sub the OST – so we have subbed songs in Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Swedish and Russian.
It is interesting that Netflix last year and the year before had an explicit rule for subbers of K drama that “all OST” were to be subbed. The rule has been somewhat relaxes and instead of saying “should be subbed” Netflix instead now says that “song lyrics should be in italics” implying that song lyrics should be subtitled without explicitly saying so.
Unfortunately sometimes we don’t have enough real estate on the screen to put all the song lyrics and translator notes we would like to put on the video.
Now that viki is getting licenses for lots of old movies and dramas, whenever I get the opportunity, even if the movie or drama is fully subbed, I add the OST. I sub the OST before the upload and knowledgeable segmenters are encouraged to add both segments and the subs for the lyrics.


Subject–verb (predicate)–object SVO

Word order English equivalent Example languages
SVO “She loves him.” Chinese, English, French, Hausa, Italian, Malay, Russian, Spanish, Thai
VSO “Loves she him.” Biblical Hebrew, Arabic, Irish, Filipino, Tuareg-Berber, Welsh
VOS “Loves him she.” Malagasy, Baure, Car (Pu language in Nicobar Islands)
OVS “Him loves she.” Apalaí, Hixkaryana, Klingon :wink:

I recently saw a comment on Love Designer:
“can someone please tell me if they know the song in episode 7, in front of the hospital, when she drove off with the car without him and she played it in her car? Anyone?”
It’s found at 27:02 and I played it over and over for fifteen minutes, but I couldn’t figure out the exact words. It sounds like “when you love you” or “let me love you,” somewhat like that. I think it’s amazing when translators can give us lyrics!

I have purchased many songs which I heard for the first time on Viki dramas. I believe many people have also done the same thing. It’s a way of supporting musicians, singers and composers, as they are all an important part of creativity to give us “a many splendored thing.”


You are doing a great job! :star_struck:

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I agree totally, but sometimes, in the past, the dramas would have beautiful songs but didn’t have anything to do with the story line. So a more uniform structure in the OSTs was adopted by various countries for their dramas. I know we used to skip translating any background song that was softer than the dialogue. We often get “Comment” requests from many for the songs because someone likes the lyrics.


Sometimes a song doesn’t have to do with the storyline but just the scene at the moment. One in my lyrics collection is Couple or Trouble where they face off with the ocean in the background. The song which plays right then is:
I was five; he was six. We rode on horses made of sticks. He wore black; I wore white. He would always win the fight! Bang bang. My baby shot me down.

I have yet to see a song that wasn’t at least appropriate to the scene, when not to the overall story. :sunny: