Sacrificing Speed for Quality in Subtitles

In the past year or so, I have heard that viki staff have decided to dispense with any editing of the subtitles written by paid subbers on certain dramas. It seems that the subtitles are not quality controlled by any professional editor either. Here are some examples on the first episode of A Good Day To Be A Dog with my comments.
In Korean when anything countable is mentioned, there is a mandatory counter word. [UKR-012] List of All Korean Counters | ultimateKOREAN Viki subbers erroneously include the counter word in the subtitle.
개 10 마리 dogs 10 animals 마리 is a counter word for animals (but not humans) We don’t translate dogs 10 animals. We translate as “10 dogs.”
In the same way, today is 2023 ■ 10 월 11 일 — We don’t translate as year 2023 month 10 day 11, in American English we would translate as October 11, 2023. In “A good day to be a dog”, the viki subber translated the counter wrords. “The year 2005”, “The year 2020”.
So, other language subbers, please don’t translate the “year” for “The year 2005”, etc., unless you are subbing to Chinese, Japanese or another language which uses counter words.

“Calling attendance” — In American English, it is “taking attendance” or “calling the roll”, “roll call”, “taking the roll”. In British English it is “calling the register” Neither in the US nor in the UK do we “call" attendance.

“I think a dialysis is needed.” Do not place an article before “dialysis”. There are no articles “a, an, and the” in Korean so mistakes in articles when subbers are not completely fluent in English are common.
“but he’s too old to get surgery for his head tumor.” The dialogue used the Korean word 머리, which means hair, head or BRAIN.” We do not typically say head tumor for a tumor of the brain.
@40:30 Subtitle not translated. Should be: “You and I should do something.”
@48:50 subtitle incomplete — add " I remember."
@49:25 Why on Earth … don’t capitalize earth.
There are also several segments containing two person dialogues, but there is no html break in the subtitle. Anyone, definitely including me, can commit typos, but we do try to fix them at some point!
It seems to me by not permitting any editing of the pre-subbed dialogue, viki staff view the editing of the English subs which are incomplete and wrong, especially as to lexical content, rather than just formatting, punctuation, subject/object agreement, etc. as an unnecessary obstacle to speed.


I support every point you’ve made in this example. Very well said. @vikicommunity, @brendas, can this information be passed on, so we can get the editing correctly completed? Editing volunteers are more than happy to make the necessary corrections.


The safe option here to viki would be to add new things and new privileges to CM and OL-M!
First adding a new language for the presub languages one is for viki staff “English” which can’t be edited! And another one “English(Volunteer)” for English team to work with, something like this. And the same thing for each presub language. So that if the viewer wants to watch it as soon as it aired he can, and if he want to enjoy the real thing ha can wait a little, At least they have the choice!

The other thing that I was thinking of, is giving the CM and Mods the control of releasing and hiding the language for each episode, so that they only make it available to viewers once they complete the translation, and if the CM found that some language mods had stop working in the middle he has the option to hide that language till he find someone to complete the project.


@guiltyo0o at the beginnning of, the subbing team volunteers used to upload videos to youtube or other streaming sites like ■■■■■■■■■■■ and we would not publicize the site until the subtitling was completed. Other fansubbed sites would delay the publication of the URL for each episode – one day for each complaint about when the subs would appear. Viki is concerned about losing paying customers to some other site which uploads subtitles faster. More often than not, those sites are pirate sites which don’t pay any licensing fee and take other site’s subtitles. Within the US, viki’s main competitor for subbed Kdramas by SBS, KBS, and MBC, seems to be Kokowa, and viki is a member of the consortium. When viki has a drama from any of those broadcasters, viki’s upload is delayed by several hours to shortly before the English subs are completed on Kocowa. Kocowa now uploads without subs while the subbing is ongoing, but there are NO complaints about speed of subs because Kocowa does not provide for any comments from viewers. Simple solution, yes? The Portuguese and Spanish subs on Kocowa, like viki’s, are delayed because subbing is done off the English. (note censoring of my post!)


English-speaking viewers loose nothing if the English team edits pre-subbed shows.

The issue here is the release to other languages. And consequently, the speed at which the show is translated to those.

But, here’s a lesson from science, more specifically from biobanking (storage of biological samples), which can also be applied here:

Crap in = crap out

This means that if English is incorrect or just simply difficult, every single mistake is being amplified after it’s translated to 15 different languages. Without good English there is zero chance the rest of the languages would be good.

Just hide the episode until English, Spanish and Portuguese are done. They are the reason for 90% of the complaints anyway.

And the rest of the languages can work in parallel, in their own pace. But by all means keep the original full editing process for English.

In this case it’s unfair that, because of three languages (one of which is denied a team), the rest of the team is suffering.


So true…

But I think another problem is Viki telling CMs not to take a TE while there are obviously translation errors as well. Unless you’re 100% fluent, you won’t be able to catch all the mistakes and they’ll also subsequently be translated into OL. So even if you are allowed to edit the subtitles, without a good TE, you’re just making sure the English is grammatically right, but who is to say that the translation is right?


Very good point! It might make perfect sense in English but the character may be saying a totally different thing.


@cgwm808 I don’t think that you understand what I’ve said… I’m not at all against the presubs, they will remain as they are without editing. So Viki could keep them as they are and lock them as will, They just have to add a new sub-language that volunteers could work on, and then the volunteers have a full control on subbing/releasing what they work on with no pressure and without affecting the presubs too.
It will be like this:
English, English(V), Portuguese, Portuguese(V), Arabic,etc
So the presubs “English,Portuguese” will be locked, the Volunteers will sub and edit only on “English(V), Portuguese(V)”, and we as the OL can work with English(V) as a reference.

It will be a win win, Viki will not loose the whining subscribers (the episodes will be uploaded with the presubs as scheduled), and also the shows will have a better option for the ones who could wait and the other language translation will be more accurate as well.( I mean here by releasing not the episode itself, only the subs, they could do it automatic also the language will be hidden and only appears when complete 90% for on air per episode,and all episodes must be 90% each if it is complete one)


Why on earth? How and whom does this help? I don’t see the reason for this complication, making two sets of subs and whatnot. And why lock to preserve and protect something that is imperfect and contains mistakes? It would be confusing for newbie viewers as well.
The compromise we have now is not bad. And it’s the same we had when our own translators did the initial subs.
The viewers can choose whether to watch immediately with the unedited subs or wait. The impatient ones will start watching right away and in the meanwhile volunteer editors can work in the background. Their corrections will appear gradually, making them better and better to each new viewer that starts watching (or to the existing viewers if they think of refreshing the page once in a while).
On the cover page, we will write when the episode is released - just as we’ve been doing. And we could also add something (for those viewers who don’t know what this means):
“English editing complete for episodes X of 16 - released for all other languages”.
So that people could immediately know whether they are watching an edited or an unedited version.

I just watched the 1st episode. It’s a very silly drama with mediocre acting, we didn’t lose anything - not a project that I would be happy to work on.


I do understand people’s worries and complaints about quality, I really do. But the way it’s presented is like everything done by the volunteers (before the paid subbers) was tranlation made in heaven. Give me a break! I’ve seen countless dramas with bad or mediocre English subtitles by volunteers. We shouldn’t judge based only on our own - possibly well done- projects. There are many others that are way worse than those of the paid subbers. Regarding the quality of paid subbers’ translation: Although I’m not a native English speaker and I’m sure I can’t detect every grammatical or other mistake, the quality of their subs is quite decent. I can sometimes detect what Connie mentioned, let’s say the “Korean language structure or mentality” in their translations, but not tragically often. That tells me they’re probably new in the job and also that there’s no editing, at least not in all the dramas. But English editing is not forbidden or something. In the projects I’ve worked we were very much allowed to have an English editor. The only condition was to release episodes to other languages fast and have the English editing done at the same time. That has worked just fine in my projects. OL moderators start translating and when English editing is done, OL editors can do their final editing. So, I don’t see any difference with the previous situation, in fact I think it’s better, because now viewers can watch the episode with English subtitles right away and OL can start working right away as well. Any quality improvement will come along the way and the patient ones will be able to watch the best version, as irmar mentioned, with a note in the drama’s page. Regarding TE, I agree it’s still needed for perfection, but again I never received a “no TE allowed” note, just “no TE needed”. If the CM asks, I think viki won’t say “no” to an extra TE. As long as it’s done to correct actual translation mistakes and not to change subtitles subjectively. To summarize, I don’t find the new situation as frustrating as described. Any problem or imperfection can be solved with communication.


I agree, no 2 sets… it’d look chaotic…

I think Viki should let a proper team correct and edit the paid subtitles… it’s really a shame what is done to the subtitles and carried wrongly over to OL, it’s a indeed a shame to leave subtitles “unfinished” because of error and misspelling etc.

@vikicommunity please do by right and let a Volunteer team TE and Edit for proper translation. I see many wrongly used translation, like American slang in historical dramas, it’s such a turn off!! There should be a collaboration, as you know Volunteers use Team Notes to also make some titles or wordings uniform instead of once this next that… It’s such a pity, that Viki doesn’t put more effort in this quality :frowning:


My replay was for if the editing for presub is not allowed as what I understand from this topic. If it is already allowed I don’t know where is the problem?!

Now as I’m working on an onair project, the editing for the english is somehow slow, so as an OL team, I make my team wait for the GE finish, else start after 2. days to be sure of two things first is to make less mistakes/edits as possible, second to make the delay time lesser and finish subbing before the next week episode aired, and we have 2 rounds of editing the first one done by the team editor once the episode finished and the second one will be held after the whole project done by the mod, so we can be sure of the quality, consistent of the show. Also we have the episode reference that we can go back to it whenever we need to!

So as an OL mod, I don’t really find any problem with the current system. I just thought that in this show ( a good day to become a dog ) the editing is not even allowed!

1 Like

Yes, in this one they told the CM not to assign any English editors.
I think they are slowly pushing this style of work, and they want to gradually take over to the point that it will be done in all dramas.

We are fighting for Viki to understand that this “experiment” is not good, and if there MUST be pre-subs, at least let us edit them.


But they really need to be edited! The presubs lacks for a lot of things, yes we know ourself how to do a proper job even without the editing, but that will mean extra job for us now, and little by little Viki will loose it’s touch :sweat_smile:


I got you, I mentioned that as well.
Viki can make license holders happy.
The subbing community can make their fans happy.
Viki can still use the slogan subbed by fans.
Sounds like everyone could be happy, right?
Personally I wouldn’t need a “double option” for each language, maybe only for those who get pre-subs and the other language teams need to chose what they prefer pre-subs or community subs. Otherwise it’s the birth of another data-kraken.

Edit: Yes, and this would only be a wish, if editing of the pre-subs would be prohibited, otherwise there would be no reason to do it. And Viki would not need to alienate original language to English subbers, they could just “stay in the job”.

For some odd reason or maybe just a thing to please eager viewers, paying customers and last but not least it could be preferred by the license holder. Otherwise, why should they come up with those sometimes and at some points faulty or poor translations.


I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Honestly, I find the paid subbers to be quite competent. No one is perfect. I made plenty mistakes myself as a translator/TE, and I have also watched many older shows worked on by the best translators and highly respected English editors that had glaring errors. In comparison, I have to say the newer Korean dramas have far fewer mistakes.

It’s been a while since I stopped contributing regularly but I still offer occasional translation advice and even fill in some missing segments when requested by CM or CE, without any issue. I don’t think Viki staff or paid subbers are opposed to such arrangement.

Borrowing the words of Rodney King, “Can we all get along?” After all, don’t we all want to provide the best possible subtitles for our beloved shows?


Bingo! :ok_hand:t2: I don’t think it will be a big deal for the viewers and no need for experience to choose a language. But as a contributor it may be a hassle at first but will get use to it with time.

And from a viewer experience, now we watch the shows from the app, TV, tablets, phones! It is rare that we use a browser to watch a show. From the app we can’t view the subtitle team, so we don’t have a direct way to see the cover page to see what has finish, we can’t see the team members, and we can’t like the team too! :sweat_smile: and frankly saying, when I’m in a watching mood I don’t care about these things, so I don’t bother to go to the website to check things unless I’m super invested in a show! But as a contributor it will be a good thing if the user could give us a like :joy:, I only open the browser as a contributor.

And the thing I don’t like the most is the unfinished projects even more than bad subs, cos bad subs I can live with them and even appreciate the volunteers for their efforts (not the google ones)… this is why I suggested the release option to be controlled.

In some of the newest projects it is :eyes: And Viki staff has to give permissions for every segment edit, too.




Agreed no one is perfect. But that’s why we have editors allowed in every language except that for some dramas now, viki is explicitly prohibiting English editing, which would be fine if the subs were done well. But I have seen on a recent drama that there was inconsistency in flashback dialoge compared to the first viewing of the scene, in the spelling of character names and mix ups of the character’s gender so a female was often referred to as “he”, English idiom is mixed up so that an idiom is inappropriately used, or the idiom is misspelled with a homonym or the wrong preposition. There are frequently inappropriate choice of alternative definitions, and other lexical errors. When I worked on a drama which was a fictional account of the collapse of a department store or one about construction of oil-drilling ships, one of my co-editors had a PhD in physics who could correctly express the technical aspects of why the collapse occured and why the shortcuts taken in construction to save money caused the collapse or how a drill was constructed. When I work on a medical drama, I am routinely assisted by Korean Americans who are trained medical professionals. I have had the privilege of working with volunteer subbers and editors with engineers, and PhDs in linguistics. These professionals enhanced the quality of subtitles not only on technical aspects but their knowledge of both Korean and English definitely improved the quality of the subtitles. This is the talent that viki is turning away.


What? No! Who would want to watch a show in a small, small screen? You can enjoy it much more from your nice PC screen (okay, TV is even bigger, but you cannot easily write comments from there)
The only time in my whole life I’ve watched videos on my phone was when I was in the hospital. It was a great relief to be able to, but of course it wasn’t quite the same! Reading the subs is also not easy, unless you have very young eyes.