Should viki's paid subbers be overwriting volunteers

Dear Viki Community,

First and foremost we want to apologize to cgwm808 who had her work overwritten by our staff subtitler and want to share that this was truly an honest mistake.

This unfortunate situation has provided us insight into areas we can improve our contributor tools. In this case our staff subtitler accidentally worked on a part that cgwm808 was already subtitling without realizing it. We would like to reassure everyone that it is not the intent of Viki staff to replace the hard work and care that go into any community member’s contributions. Chief Editors/Channel leaders have the final say in any subtitle that makes it through editing. As with any of your teams, you can choose the subtitle that works best for the translation. There should never be any preference for a Staff subber’s work over any other users’ just because they are staff, especially if the accuracy is the same.

Viki staff subtitlers are added to community contributor teams to assist. All staff subtitlers are trained to never overwrite existing subtitles created by the channel team and to follow the boundaries of said channel teams.

How do we take this moment to try and make things better for our community going forward? Through this post, we’ve seen suggestions such as further improvements to the Team Discussions system, displaying more details on who is working on a video part at any given time, and other great ideas to prevent situations like this from happening again in the future. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas. We are taking all your feedback and discussing internally to add on to the improvements and enhancements we are currently working on. We would also like to take this as an opportunity to see how we can improve our communications and make them clearer for both Viki staff and channel team members.

Thank you for your feedback thus far. As part of our next steps, we will hold a meeting with all Viki staff subtitlers again to remind and stress the importance of being in tune with each channel team’s workflow. We always appreciate hearing your feedback, and will continue to work on making your community experience better.

Viki Community Team


What about the timing on when the Viki staff paid subbers come to a drama? Can we agree that nobody comes before a certain amount of hours - for instance 48?


Thank you for following this discussion.

I highly recommend the feature someone else earlier mentioned, which is to limit a part to one subber at a time automatically. The issue is not that the TE can choose from subbing options. It’s rather that the volunteers who’d already subbed feel their work was made pointless. Limiting the # of subber in a part to one automatically would resolve that problem. Hopefully that suggestion is technologically feasible and affordable. Viki would have fewer upset volunteers and more parts subbed faster since volunteers would be free to move onto another part.


The issue is that the Channel Manager and the Chief Editor should be asked if assistance is needed, and if so, under what conditions. There is no longer any “asking”. There is only one way communication – viki staff inform the Channel Manager that the paid subbers are going to be subbing – and even when a specific time is stated in the message, the paid staff start to arrive earlier and earlier, claiming they don’t know when episodes are uploaded. I sometimes feel they are watching the clock and at the time set by community staff (which remains a secret to the volunteer CM and CE), dive in no matter that three or four volunteers are actively subbing on the channel.
The issue here is that neither the Channel Manager nor the English team had any input whatsoever in the decision to have the staff subbers “assist” within 5 or 6 hours after upload in Shtting Stars. Both on Shtting Stars and the recently completed Again My Life, the volunteers never asked for assistance. In “Again My Life” we were told that according to a never heard of before “policy”, the paid subber would start 12 hours after upload. Of course that ignored the fact that volunteers were still subbing. And we never heard of that policy before. It was a classic “top down” decision.
Sh**tting Stars is a plain vanilla rom-com which has no specialized or technical vocabulary which our volunteers can not handle. Even for medical, legal, financial dramas, I have not found that the paid subbers lend any expertise to the subtitling. I really question whether they ever do a Google search so that they don’t write a sub like “Jicho Wiwang” or “boncho gongmak” to puzzle everyone.
I reiterate that I do not believe the paid subber intentionally overwrote my subtitles – but that does not go around the fact that I clearly posted in Team Discussion and my presence was noted in Team Chatter and Activities. If paid subbers actually came when there was no volunteer activity and volunteers had been given a reasonable time to sub, this would never have happened, accidentally or intentionally.


That might get the Spanish teams in trouble.


But isn’t the whole point of staff subbers fast subs? They’re paid so that they can be called at anytime to any show, something Viki can’t ask of us. (Only after being requested, of course)


It doesn’t feel honest at all. What’s so honest about it? Overriding the work of another person, like literally pressing the backspace key on someone else’s subs in order to add your own, is NOT a mistake. And it’s certainly NOT honest. Are you kidding me? How dumb do you think people are?

Also, it seems that @vikicommunity exists solely to apologise for the awful and disrespectful things that its own team does.

Anyway, if anyone here continues to volunteer for Viki, then you truly deserve your faith. It’s utterly disgusting. And an individual who respects himself or herself wouldn’t put up with any of this crap!

If they have been added after you came in and you don’t refresh, you don’t see them.


This Community asked for paid staff subbers for one purpose only - to help out when the team gets stuck due to lack of volunteers.

However, Viki’s interpretation of this was following: Staff subbers go to the most popular projects, so that those are translated ASAP.

By doing this, Viki is appeasing the old and attracting the new audience. In essence, Viki is trying to mimic the subtitle practice of other streaming sites by speeding up translations. But this is actually unachievable with the current technical system of uploading publicly episodes raw (without subs).

Instead, Viki should focus their efforts on making it technically possible that uploaded episodes are first available only to the team to translate, and then publish them.

Meanwhile in Vikiland there are projects which are suffering from lack of volunteers and stand unfinished/unreleased to OLs for longer periods. What about those, @vikicommunity?


Okay, this may be my last post as a community member and a Kor-Eng subber/TE since I know that after what I have to say, I will become a persona non grata.

I am old, slow, and technologically illiterate but I know that I can still find ways to contribute to this community. Sure, I enjoy working on the more recent and popular shows as a subber, but I am not blind to the fact that the viewer demand for speedier translation is higher for those shows. Whether I agree or not with the mindset, the younger generation is all about “I want it, and I want it now.” Also, we can’t ignore the basic economic principle of demand and supply. Viki is a for-profit organization and it would be a bad business practice for them to have their paid translators, who we all seem to agree are faster than the average volunteer, work on the older and less popular shows while the viewers complain about the slowness of subtitles for the recent and/or popular shows.

Unless Viki is able to give the volunteers access to the videos prior to the advertised air date and time, I think prohibiting the paid translators to work on the “high demand” shows for days would be unwise. Let’s say the paid translators are locked out of a popular show for 48 hours. Let’s further imagine that the English team has a number of abusers and/or unqualified subbers. Not only would the English subtitles be impacted by the delay, but it would have a domino effect on the OLs.

By the way, I have no knowledge of the translation skills of Chinese, Japanese, Thai (if there are any) paid translators, but most of the Kor-Eng paid translators are decent to great, at least the ones I have worked with. This will sound heartless but I would rather work with them than to be associated with abusers or unqualified Kor-Eng subbers, even if it means I don’t get a chance to translate because I am slow.

I am still hopeful that the volunteers and paid translators can reach a workable solution that would enable Viki to produce speedy AND quality English translation.


Please, please don’t.
You are the only one here with quite some economic sense, a native speaker and pleasant here in the discussion. It would be an infinite loss.


Once a drama has been assigned to a team, then that team should have full control over it, without Viki staff interference, unless prompted to intervene. That’s how it should work, no deleted or overwritten subs.

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Things are definitely NOT that serious here in Discussions :joy:

It’s natural to state your opinion and it’s also natural it might not be similar to an opinion of another person. I personally have some people here with whom I clash heavily at times and then agree with whole-heartedly other times. That’s just life. So…


@choitrio Do not leave us. :sob:
Every contributor makes Viki different and special.
We must stay together as a community to face all the difficulties, issues, bugs, errors… Let’s continue making Viki a much better and friendlier place for everyone.

My almost 14 years at viki has taught me that…
Empathy and perseverance must be cultivated at all times. Let’s remain positive and be prepared for what’s to come on Viki :v:


I can’t remember agreeing to that…

But anyway, none of us would like to see you go. We’d rather see more of you. :bouquet:


That’s only because it’s their job.

This leads to the conclusion that money-wise all new shows should be done by paid translators and only unpopular shows should be translated by volunteers.

For the OL teams it usually makes no difference because there is a lack of editors in English main teams and that’s causing delays for OL teams. Recently not only for long Chinese shows, but also for shorter ones and other Asian languages than Chinese.
(And that’s causing that less shows, even newer ones, are translated into certain OL because the “waiting forever” issue is just too frustrating and couple of OL mods stopped applying for projects that aren’t fully released to OL or have teams that caused huge delays for OL in the past).


That was a mistake on their part. Doesn’t always happen. They’re usually the first ones to enter the editor, so their subs are first.

It’s nothing that concerns me. I just see these things, and I have no idea why people put up with Viki’s mistakes.

And since we’re on the subject, what’s the deal anyway? Why do people do it? Why do they volunteer for Viki? And please don’t tell me it’s for the love of Asian dramas. Plenty of not-so-legal sites out there where a person could provide subtitles without any of the hassle I see round here.

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Those sites you mention take the official subtitles (or sometimes Viki subtitles, whichever is available first) so they don’t need volunteers. And they typically have only English. Plus many people would be uncomfortable working for a pirate site.


What can I say, free market :sweat_smile::v: