Proposal for new NSSA Italian Subbing Academy

This is my proposal for an Italian Subtitling Academy.
I have written an application to the NSSA heads asking to be made a sensei responsible of the NSSA Italian Subbing Academy (stating the reasons why I think I am the right person for this role), and I have also submitted a complete proposal of how I think such a course should be. You will find the link further on.

You may say, “But there already is an Italian Subtitling Academy, why change that?” Yes, there is something by that name, but if you study the details you will see that the existing so-called “training course” for subbers is not a course at all, just a series of tests with feedback.
For the Basic badge, you only have to translate three parts of a drama episode, and you get feedback from three tutors.
For the Viki subbing badge, you have to take part in four different dramas and you again get feedback.
Being tested on translation and getting feedback from more experienced volunteers is great, but before being tested, shouldn’t the subber be TAUGHT something? Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?
The next one, “junior sensei badge”, which means to become an editor, is along the same lines. You are the first editor in a number of dramas, an existing junior sensei (editor) comes and makes revisions to your work, and then gives you feedback, under the benign supervision of a senior sensei. That might have been nice, if the editors had the time to give the feedback after each part, before the next part comes. But in reality, the available senseis are so few and thus so overwhelmed, that often the 2nd editing is done and the feedback to the trainee editor is given long after the drama is completed - in some instances months or even years after.

That’s where my proposal comes in.

Why am I sharing it here?

  1. Because I like transparency. I don’t do things behind anyone’s backs. I want everyone to be able to read the exact words I’ve written and not learn about it by hearsay, probably distorted. And, by the way, I have voiced my concerns and proposed changes numerous times in the Italian FB group, over the past years, the last time being a lengthy post in February 2023. (See screenshots of that last post at the end of this). With no result whatsoever. So it’s not that I haven’t first tried to solve the question from within.
  2. Because the Viki community knows who I am and what I do, and I’m sick and tired of being the Cinderella of the Italian community because of power games, and I wish to finally take a role for which I am more than qualified.
  3. Because the newbie subbers who are eager to learn and contribute deserve to know exactly what’s going on and what kind of training is provided to them under the pompous title of “Academy”, and what they could instead aspire to.
  4. Because now is the time when moderators have been asked to compile their own applications and proposals for language academies. This might help decide someone who is still on the fence on whether to apply or not, because s/he thinks it will be difficult to come up with a good structure/curriculum for their language and doesn’t know where to start.
  5. Because I would like my fellow volunteers, not only from the Italian community but from all language communities, the existing senseis of language academies, the moderators/editors, the subbers, to have a look at my work and give their feedback and point of view. Someone might be inspired by something in it, someone else might give me a new/better idea to supplement or tweak or replace mine.

I heartily welcome civil discussion – I will not reply to personal insults, though, so don’t bother: keep those for your Messenger chats.

Here is the complete text of the proposal. The first part is the “history” of how the existing NSSA Italian subbing academy was formed, four years ago, the second is why I think the existing “percorso formativo” (training path) is no good. If you are not interested in those, you can skip directly to the third part, which is the proposed course itself (there is a navigation pane on the left for that)

And here is my last post on the subject on the Italian FB group, on February 2023; to prove that I have transparently and publicly stated my views and suggestions within the community in the past (it’s one of many posts I have made on the subject, but obviously I cannot screenshot all of them, neither the replies I got, because of respect of other people’s privacy).

In case it is of interest to anyone, here is also my application.

Whatever the outcome with the NSSA, the important thing for me is to raise awareness, that this is read and discussed by the community. That alone for me is a success. As a keen gardener, I know that when you plant seeds in the ground it is foolish to expect them to all grow, or for them to grow into seedlings the very next day. You know that some of them will die, you know that you have to wait. And patience is not something I lack.

Or I should take into account this quote from Buckminster Fuller:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

@tony83n_283, @oriya, @enayssac, @cerejacult, @danylor, @anda64, @pilar_velasquez, @deval_chloe, @damiechan, @mirjam_465


My idea is: 3 or 4 people who change every 3 or 4 years that manage Nssa italia and no test for various badges, only one when you enter in Nssa and then everyone does their own path independently and freely.

1 Like

Buongiorno, ti rispondo in merito al tuo forum aperto questa mattina. Non rispondo come Sensei Senior dell’NSSA ma come chi ha partecipato fin dal principio a questo progetto e ancor prima, all’altro. Detto ciò, se parliamo di “Trasparenza” credo che bisogni dare una piccola spiegazione prima. Mi va molto bene se si parla di vera e propria trasparenza ma nel momento che questa diventa un circo, all’interno del quale le accuse diventano automaticamente condanne e all’interno del quale i teoremi valgono più delle prove, non mi trovi d’accordo e mi sento in oblligo di rispondere. Le mie domande sono: 1. Sei all’ interno anche tu DELL’NSSA, ma hai mai chiesto vere e proprie spiegazioni in merito? 2. Sai davvero come sta lavorando l’NSSA tanto da poterlo evidenziare in questo forum? 3. Evidenzi il fatto che la comunità di VIKI debba sapere come si svolge il percorso, in cosa consiste e quanto altro, perché pensi che non venga spiegato a dovere quando i Subber esordienti si avvicinano all’NSSA? 4. Ma soprattutto, sai se L’NSSA Italiana si è già mossa verso altre decisioni, lidi o quant altro per migliorarsi o uniformarsi alle altre NSSA? 5. Parli anche di conoscenza in merito alla lingua tradotta e tutto quello che ne compete, conosci alla perfezione se le persone che stanno lavorando su quel progetto parlino o studino la lingua o magari (dico magari) abbiano vissuto per un periodo in Asia? Vedi Irene, sono sempre Dell’opinione che prima di alzare un polverone si debba avere in mano tutte le carte necessarie o almeno avere l’80% di queste ma per te non è così. Mi spiace. Ognuno di noi è liberissimo di lavorare su viki come vuole, NSSA O NON NSSA, ma se si entra in una community (tra le quali vorrei evidenziare autorizzata da viki la quale è a conoscenza del percorso che viene svolto di selezione e tutto il resto) ci sono delle regole da rispettare. Le nostre le conosci bene e sono state valutate da tutte le Sensei che sono all’interno. Come vengono valutati i cambiamenti e/o proposte e/o decisioni in merito a qualsiasi cosa. Il tuo corso è TUO. TUE sono le decisioni. TUE sono le proposte. TUE sono le condizioni. In NSSA vengono valutate le proposte di 200 persone, messe al vaglio, analizzate e rese al meglio per ognuno. Sicuramente ci sarà sempre qualcuno che non sarà d’accordo ma è anche vero che ci sarà qualcuno d’accordo. Detto questo credo che il tuo concetto di TRASPARENZA debba venir revisionato per quello che effettivamente vale. La TRASPARENZA non è un attacco in massa o un post pubblico con tanto di foto di gruppo privato (METTO IN CHIARO PER RISPETTO DELLA PRIVACY) ma un dialogo costruttivo tra più persone con possibilità di risposta e toni pacifici. O almeno questo è MIO il modo di vivere e quello di tutte le persone che sono entrate con me su questo Portale più di 10 aa fa. Ti evidenzio che questo post è arrivato anche ALL’NSSA generale e chi ne è a capo, non ha gradito proprio per i motivi che ti ho espresso sopra. Rimango comunque a dispozione per qualsiasi altra informazioni in merito e/o chiarimento. Come ultima cosa vorrei anche dirti che è vero che in Italia esiste la libertà di pensiero ma è anche vero che si dovrebbe vagliare con attenzione ciò che si vuole esprimere e, soprattutto, come lo si vuole fare. Ci tengo a precisare che L’NSSA italiana non ha mai costretto, obbligato, forzato o vincolato nessuno. Nemmeno te. Grazie.


Dearest Irmar, I am rooting for you! I can’t say enough positive things about this effort. Sheer dedication and determination from a qualified and well-educated person. You’ve worked so hard for this. Best of luck! :hugs: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


I like the idea. It’s not like hereditary monarchy, give the possibility for people in charge to change periodically.

Certamente, varie volte. Se hai la pazienza di frugare un po’ tra i post dei gruppi FB le troverai.

Tutto il percorso viene spiegato sul sito della NSSA italiana, chiunque lo può vedere, e spesso i membri dei gruppi FBk fanno domande (io pure), e vengono date risposte. Se parli delle decisioni interne tra i capi, certo che no, ma non parlo di queste, io parlo delle cose visibili a tutti.

Agli italiani certo che viene spiegato, e poi sta pure sul sito, come ho fatto presente più su. La comunità di Viki però non sono solo gli italiani, ti pare?
Riguardo agli italiani esordienti, mi interessava rendere presente quanto di più si potrebbe fare per aiutarli nei loro primi passi.

Io parlo del percorso come è fino ad ora, non di eventuali progetti futuri. Come era fino a pochi giorni fa, quando è passato l’ultimo gruppo di candidati. Se ci saranno dei cambiamenti o miglioramenti, ne prenderemo atto quando saranno resi pubblici.
In quanto all’uniformazione con le altre accademie, non conosco i dettagli di come funzionino le altre (conosco solo quello della francese che ora non c’è più), però non è detto che anch’esse siano perfette, infallibili e “intoccabili”. Anche loro sono composte da persone come noi, e forse alcuni dei “capi” delle altre accademie sono aperti all’evoluzione, al cambiamento, al miglioramento forse. Ripeto, senza conoscere esattamente i loro percorsi non posso dire se mi sembrano buone o meno.
Anzi, sarebbe molto bello se tutte le accademie già presenti condividessero il proprio sistema, in modo che gli uni possano ispirarsi agli altri.

In che cosa è rilevante questo alla conversazione? Chi ha queste competenze può venire avanti, proporsi come collaboratore condividendo le sue conoscenze con i futuri subber. Non capisco la domanda o il problema.

Quel che ho pubblicato è stato solamente quel che ho scritto IO e nessun altro. Avrò pure il diritto di mostrare le mie stesse parole, no?

“Questo post” intendi il mio? Ma loro sono stati i primi a cui ho comunicato tutto ciò, ieri sera. :grinning:


Hello! An English translation, please?


Hello! As you tagged me, I will give an answer. The informations from your PMs were way too much for me, so it is hard to remember the main idea. About changing the existent ”senseis” I don’t understand why. There is not only one person in charge, so you can’t compare them with the ”North Korean president”. Why should be changed something that is working? If you want to change the responsible ones, you need real motives. I don’t find it suitable to change a system just because we don’t like some users or a testing system. This is subjectivism. They worked hard so far and now someone wants to change the activity. Maybe after a few months someone else wants to change again and so on. I find the testing system from Italian Subbing Academy a little complicated, but is up to them how they organize their academy. I am sure that they will change it a little. Maybe it will be better if you write them some of your proposals and if they find them suitable, maybe they will use some of them. For me, the language academies are not there to replace school and for teaching volunteers language skills, but for guiding good subbers so the viewers watch good translations on Viki. This is just my personal opinion, as a simple volunteer on Viki.


I tried reading everything, but I’m still not finished. I will write from what I’ve read (I’m on 4th page out of 13).
I think criticizing the system is valid. There are reasons mentioned, why the system might be wrong or how it could be improved.
It’s not just that someone doesn’t like it and that’s it.
I personally think both training and testing are a neccessary part of the process.

As for the “conflict” part, I know very little about this situation and I’m only just learning about it now, so I don’t think it’s my right to speak on it.


May I ask how are the experienced users afected by the testing system? If the new volunteers are not satisfied, they can quit the testing program. Nobody is forced on Viki to do something. If you want to train new volunteers as you think is better, who stops you to do so? It is not mandatory to have the NSSA badge. Choose your own team, train them as you think is better. Those who are satisfied by Italian Subbing Academy will go on. This is very simple. Just my opinion.


Irmar, I greatly appreciate your contribution to the Viki community, your dedication and determination as a qualified and well educated person. In my opinion, you have illuminated the issue well in your Italian NSSA community. I support your views and proposals. I wish you success and will be rooting for you. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


It states in the introduction of the proposal (and the same issue has been raised several times before here in Discussions), that, whether intentionally or unintentionally, some volunteers were denied being part of teams where Moderators are NSSA graduates just based on the fact that the volunteers themselves did not hold the academy badge. That goes against the contribution rules of Viki, the principles of NSSA, and definitely against common sense. A professional translator might come along and be excluded from a project because they do not posses the right badge.

Irene has indeed been training many students over the years. But if those same students don’t have the full freedom to apply for any project on Viki (including projects led by NSSA graduates), that creates a rift within the language community. A newbie might wonder if it pays off at all to get an intense 1-on-1 training with a Moderator outside the NSSA, since they might not be “hireable” afterwards.

I’m also the proponent of criticising what you love in order to improve it. There is never a perfect system, and there will never be one. But justified criticism is a deep form of care in my opinion. And it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Or personally for that matter.

@irmar, I’ve gone briefly through the document you attached (the proposal). The program seems a bit too intense for a mere position of a subber. In my opinion it’s much more suited for Editor/Moderator training. I’m just thinking that motivation is important for newbies. Everything takes ages in the beginning - first ten contributions feel like a hundred. And the younger generations tend to be on the impatient side, wanting to contribute sooner, rather than later.

So, considering the reply that came from NSSA, I think you should work with Viki to create a new subbing school, specialising for Italian Editors/Moderators (with a new badge, too).


Sorry, but the Moderator is free to choose his team. Just because you are a professional translator I should accept you in my team? I know cases where they know very well English but their native language is not so perfect. A diploma guarantees that you are perfect? Viki a is a free space for volunteers not for professionals only. But, I think we should refuse all the ones who are bad subtitlers. We don’t recruit our teams on Linkedin. We should present our diplomas and the level of studies graduated? Is way too much for this kind of site. Another example: I want a team of 6 subtitlers. Should I be forced to accept you just because you are professional? They can be part of other teams, they can be Moderators as well. Should I make o petition at Help Center if a CM refused me for another one and I think I translate better than the one chosen? Sure! Viki will add me instead :rofl:. If Irene trained subtitlers on Viki, bravo! She can form her teams with the subtitlers trained by her. Why should interfere in a system we don’t like? I didn’t want to be part of this topic, but I was tagged. I don’t have any personal preferences from Italian Subbing Academy and I am sure that all this will be considered that I have something against someone. If my opinion can’t be accepted, I shouldn’t have been asked to give an answer.


I have already written, both here and there, that all the proposals have already been made (repeatedly), but they weren’t liked by them.
It’s not that I don’t like specific people, it’s the system that I feel is inadequate, and sadly these specific people are unwilling to accept anyone’s input (not only mine, other people have proposed changes over the years. Some have been made to leave the group)
Also, I believe that having regular elections and periodically changing the people in charge is a healthy thing. This doesn’t mean they would choose me, because others have a much more numerous following and connections whereas I’ve always been more of an outsider, concentrating more on Viki than the group. However, new people might be more open to accept new ideas.

I fully agree with that, but I really don’t know why you felt the need to write it.
I have clearly stated, when talking about the entrance test, that this course is not meant to teach languages, and that’s why we need people who already know good English and also well enough their own local language. So I don’t understand what your observation comes from.

I tagged you and the other NSSA senseis because I know you’ve been involved with training subbers for a long time (you’re listed as a sensei on their official page here on Viki).
I think that it would be wonderful if the different existing academies were willing to share their methods and structures so that the next ones being formed could be inspired by them and get good ideas, which they will of course adapt to the needs of their own language.

Why are you assuming that your opinion won’t be accepted, when I specifically said that I would like feedback? Isn’t that being negatively predisposed? Accept doesn’t mean necessarily agree, of course. But whether someone agrees or disagrees with what you say, of course every voice needs to be heard. And, as Voltaire said “Even if I don’t agree with what you say, I will fight to death for your right to say it”. Sincerely hoping that you will also extend the same courtesy to others, including me.

May I kindly ask where it was said that a moderator “should” accept someone because of official diplomas?
In the proposal, I said we aim for people who are at C1 or minimum B2 level, specifying that I don’t mean that as having official certificates but actual knowledge, and then I copy-pasted the definition of C1 and B2 for reference. I think it was obvious I didn’t say that subbers should be required to have either academic or professional credentials. After all, as experienced moderators, we fully know that some people have natural talent, or have been living in another country so they know two languages very well, or have been raised in a family where people speak correctly etc.
So all this tirade has nothing to do with the subject of this thread which is my proposal (regardless of whom it was a reply to).

The experienced users who want to pass the test? Most of them have already passed it by now, even if they didn’t feel the need to, just to have the badge, because there’s a strong tendency to take subbers only from the badge-bearing pool. If you don’t have the badge, you’re not even allowed into the group where all the projects looking for a team are posted. Yes, you can use the Project Finder (LOL!) or look in the Coming Soon section daily and then write to moderators but, as I said, they are very strongly encouraged to prefer those within the NSSA system.
The experienced users who are moderators and editors are affected because untrained subbers have the impression that since they got a badge it means they’ve achieved something and their work is decent, while most of them make vary poor subtitles and thus heavy editing is needed. Lack of comprehension of the English, literal translation of idioms and generally word-for-word translation, not to mention problems with their own language. Heck, nowadays that automatic translators have evolved, some authentic subber translations are much worse than Google Translate!

It is not mandatory but without it you struggle to find work. This is the reality. Even CMs have told me that they prefer Italian moderators with a NSSA badge because it’s a guarantee and because it’s recommended by Viki staff (I don’t know if that last statement is true, but that’s what I was told).

Once upon a time, as you know, there were two segmenting courses: NSSA and Seg 101. They both had pages on Viki, they were both well-advertised. The two schools coexisted peacefully and there was no problem. Graduates from both were equally accepted in teams.
But now, as the subbing academies are concerned, only the existing NSSA course has a page here, only they have badges recognized by Viki, only they are considered “official”.
I would gladly create an alternative course, but how to get it known to possible aspirants?
I do have one that I offer privately, without any support nor recognition from Viki. The scale and scope is smaller. I do all the work alone, without other teachers, and each time I have to wait until I gather 4-5 participants. Almost nobody knows about it. At least surely not the people it’s targeting. The announcement is hidden somewhere here in Discussions, and only comes up for a few minutes if someone looks at my profile page (very unlikely, unless I’m a moderator and they’re interested in joining the team), clicks on the link, reads the announcement and writes a reply. Then, ten minutes later, a few other posts are written and it’s buried again. I obviously cannot advertise it on the NSSA Italian FB group either!
There is no way in the world that a newbie Italian subber would get to know about it.
Most of the students who have done my course have felt the need to also do the NSSA testing course, in order to get the badge and be able to find projects. And they typically avoid revealing that they did mine or speak about it, for fear of repercussions, so it’s not as if they advertise it to others. Some of them do, to be fair, and I did get some new participants this way, by word of mouth - but it’s usually done in private Messenger chats, not publicly in the FB group.

This is the truth of the matter. As you see, it’s not that “simple”.


My answer was a general one regarding the motives why someone wants to change something on a academy. For me, the badge is only for good subbers. The moderators and editors are another subject and at Romanian Subbing Academy we dont have such activities. If you want other system feel free to train volunteers as you wish, since the NSSA badge is not mandatory. Feel free to choose them as subtitlers in your team after you trained them as you want. I don’t understand why do you want to replace the existing ISA ”senseis”. Sorry, but I can’t be convinced that their activities are so bad, that only your system will save the Italian Community. More than this, I am sure they will change a bit their system of testing the subtitlers. If you wanted an opionion from the Romanian Academy, I am not the NSSA Moderator, so my answers are just personal opionions. I just wanted to be polite and now I am going to be ”the black sheep” of this topic. Sorry for giving my opionins so far.


Did I ever say “only my system” will save etc? This is what I was able to come up with. But I put on the table, and I repeatedly asked for others, people of all communities, to give their input so that we can make it better. The experienced ones like you so that they could share their experience, the new people who have started recently so that they could say what they feel they would like to learn and the difficulties they have faced so far… So that there may be a discussion.
That was my goal, my dream if you like. Have I been too naive?
And why on earth would you feel like a black sheep or anything? Did I give you that impression? If so, I am sorry. I just thought that you came with a preconceived opinion (bad mood?) and misunderstandings, which I tried to dispel.

If you could see the witch-hunt going on in the FB group right now, you would see who the real black sheep is supposed to be. :rofl: The negative energy was so strong that the, Instagram, Messenger and Thread servers all went down for hours, affecting millions of users all over the world.


It was an answer to what Bozoli wrote regarding a professional translator

I know that. But she never said what you mentioned either! She only said that with the existing badge bias we might deny even someone proficient like a professional translator not because s/he’s not good enough but because s/he doesn’t have a badge. So there was never a question of being forced to accept her because she is a professional.
After all, you’ve surely heard us criticize professional Viki subbers here in Discussions, and some users have even said that they prefer our volunteer subs to the professional ones.
So there was never such an intention, neither from bozoli nor from me.
That’s why I’m saying that somehow you keep misunderstanding our intentions today.

But it’s already two o’ clock where I am, we’re probably both tired and maybe it’s not the best moment for dialogue. I think we’d better sleep on it.


My conclusion is that not ISA and the testing system are the problem, but the way the subtitlers are added on the teams by the Moderators, so this is another subject and I think this is a internal problem of your language community and the other language academies from NSSA are not suitable to interfere in such problems.


It is 02:07 here, too :rofl: