The golden way of editing ... Or is there one?


What is needed for a good edit?

What comes first?

What are your intents while editing?

Mine are enjoyment for the viewer while using subtitles and not to get lost in translation.
Consistence with titles, form of address, grammar and of course the right meaning.

How about you?

I am aware that some people think that you need to “respect” the translation of a subber to correct a sentence till the editor “bleeds”. I don’t exlude myself that sometimes there are sentences that just don’t sound smooth, no matter what … And I will discuss over such matters. Do I need to respect a subtitle that is studded with mistakes?

How many subbers are coming back looking for the edited version?
As I asked once before what comes first a chance for the viewer to not stumble over a subtitle or the subtitler’s feelings?

Want to subtitle? Let people know!
What do you find difficult when you edit and what is time consuming?
R.i.p. fan channels

nssa guide is helpful about that. Look here:(i have added/changed some things i feel are important as well)
General editors must be fluent in English and be very familiar with the grammar and punctuation conventions used in English.
To respect the contribution of the subbers, please avoid making any unnecessary changes. For example:
Do not edit the subtitle only to add a break unless a break is necessary.
If the original sentence is correct in terms of grammar,syntax, punctuation, and make sence in English then please do not change the sentence.

Please be aware of where italics, music symbols, round brackets and square brackets should be used to be able to add these in when editing.
These can be found in Chapter III.

Please do not try to rearrange a grammatically correct sentence as it may change the meaning of the sentence. This is especially so for Chinese. A small change in the wording of a sentence could change the whole meaning of a subtitle. Therefore, please assume that the original subtitle is correct and make changes where needed only.

General editors are assumed to have knowledge of correct English grammar and punctuation. This includes the correct phrasing of a sentence, correct tense and correct positioning of full stops/periods, commas, questions marks and speech marks.
These will need to be included where needed and also follow the guidelines in Chapter III.

Help - Newbie English Editor

I’ve only had to edit myself so far, as I’ve only been mod to projects I completed all by myself.

In an ongoing project I have, I only correct very obvious word-for-word translations or obvious mistranslations, not slight differences, but I get the feeling of a subber’s ways early on. I mean, I can tell by the first few subs whether there’s going to be a lot of editing. I try to minimize them myself (and I might miss one or twenty), but I have low tolerance for typos etc. I believe a subber should at least check for things like spelling and punctuation before turning a part in.

I never go back on my subs looking for edits by my mod, I don’t see the point. If they think they should address something specific, they’ll tell me. And I won’t start a back-and-forth when the mod has the last word anyway.


My goal as a contributor was to create a native video language speaker-like experience. I am the horrible one that has long subtitles with explanations…always pestering my English editor colleagues for a good word when was not good enough.

I try to make things consistent, even though it may be annoying… yesterday I went through 6 episodes looking for misspellings in consistency even though I just finished reviewing every part of every episode!!! 102 parts or 1020 hrs of work.

BUT!!! That’s where I learn what is corrected and what is good! Because of non-English languages some being more wordy, I learned shorter is better. These edits to me are more useful than team notes. I used to watch and observe what was edited, and see how many of my subtitles survived!

I used to only correct when necessary, but a senior editor (over me) said that she preferred the subtitles be improved to the best of their ability. Most subtitlers I ran into are not possessive of their work. This leave things be mentality I think is pre-2012. If I can do better I will!

If it is that studded with mistakes, I evaluate whether this person is guessing, or misheard. If they are guessing I may bring this up with my senior editor (I have never been chief yet). If their grammar or English order or something like this is off… I kindof fix it and move on. I am not one to point fingers since…mine is apparently lacking too.


Honestly, I prefer to use my time more productively. Subbing, segging or editing, If I need to.

I don’t have the time to go back and see if my subs have corrections and sometimes I won’t even be able to tell, if it’s something minor.

It’s part of being a language moderator to let me know and instruct me, if necessary. At least the way I manage teams and projects.


What are the prerequisites of a good editor?
Let’s not talk about knowledge of the source language and target language. This is a given, so that you can understand what’s being said and which is the best way to translate it.

  1. You have to know good grammar, punctuation, the viki formatting rules. These are a “must”, a prerequisitve. If you don’t know these things, it’s better that you never become an editor, because you won’t be a good one. (It’s different for native speaker Translation Editors who take care of the meaning only)

  2. you have to be patient, precise and thorough (if you’re a bit of a perfectionist it’s not bad) and you need good memory, to remember how things were called some episodes back, for consistency.

  3. you need to have a sense of style, to correct this too according to common sense. For instance, some subbers make a child speak in the same language as a company president as a young cosmopolitan clubber, as a peasant ahjumma. Of course this has ludicrous results. So you should be able to choose the words and syntax most appropriate to the age, class, job, situation.
    Experience with other dramas and knowledge about culture, habits, ways of speech and addressing is very important, to convey the feel of the drama.

MY GOAL as an editor/moderator/subber…
My goal is subtitles as close in meaning to the original as possible, so that the viewers will get a complete understanding of what’s going on, while perfectly true to the target language in syntax and wording. If both are not possible, then I will privilege correctness in the target language over precise correspondence of meaning.
Of course the meaning should be complete, nothing missing, but if grammar and syntax rules in my language require that a small nuance is slightly different or the word order has to be changed, I won’t hesitate.

That’s why I have an ongoing “disagreement” with Ko-En subbers who insist on using Korean sentence order in the English translation as in the following examples:
“A long, long time ago, a man called Legendary Go Nan Gil lived.”
_“Because of the numerous obstacles you’ve created, it’s hard to get over them.” _
With a family that you love, everyday, sharing precious times, making precious memories…A nest of love. Isn’t that the happiest thing in the world?
In this home, for a very long time, like when you were newlyweds, hold each other’s hands tightly, and enjoy a happy life.

sub 1: Like a chocolate block,
sub 2: he has the perfect tanned abs.

sub 1: Director, Director, so that you can travel on the path of righteousness, to tell you good things,
sub 2: isn’t that my duty?

This said, I like to preserve some flavour of local culture, so for instance I don’t translate names of dishes by pointlessly trying to find a Western equivalent: I prefer to put the original name with a note underneath. And if there is more formality between people than there would be between people with a similar relationship in the West, I keep the formality of the East Asian original, because it’s part of the culture.


In that vein, cgwm808’s guidelines say, as an example of unnecessary change:
Don’t change “okay” with “all right”.
But if I see a Joseon emperor or high ranking minister saying “okay”, I will change it, because it is ridiculous in that precise context and for that precise character.

[quote=“mahoula, post:2, topic:15607”]
NSSA guidelines:
If the original sentence is correct in terms of grammar and punctuation, then please do not change the sentence. [/quote]
Grammar and punctuation are the first thing, but not everything. See the beginning of my post.

I don’t assume anything. If it’s not good it’s not good and it has to be changed. Even if one comma is out of place, I will change it. The viewer’s benefit for me is more important than the subber’s ego. And, once the episodes are locked, nobody knows who did what anyway. Whereas the mistakes, the poor word choice etc. will be there as long as the video is on viki, for everyone to see. And my name as editor written on the wall, so I will be presumed responsible for everything that is not so good.


This is wise, because it avoids friction. But on the other hand not all mods believe in giving feedback, so it may be that they won’t tell you what they want to address. You are right that they should, of course! I do, I provide plenty of feedback to help subbers become better so that I won’t have so much to edit in the future. However, as a subber I’ve often been frustrated when the mod didn’t even answer questions on “how do you prefer this”, or sometimes she responded saying “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of everything during the edit phase”. (Most of the Italian mods are like that). Whereas if she told me clearly, I would do it as she wants thereafter and she would need less editing. So in that case, I sometimes went to check what changes she made (in namings, titles, position of breaks etc.) so that I could do it as she wanted. Not in all episodes, just 2 or 3 until I got her style. It’s not the perfect mod-sub situation, as it promotes laziness instead of responsibility, but unfortunately it’s very common.


In my early days here in Viki I tried asking for some guidance (I’m pro-active that way), but I didn’t get much to work with. So I go on, trying my best and here’s to hoping. Maybe because Greek subbers are so few, the teams are usually more concerned about finishing the projects, which is understandable. But I won’t spend my time poring over subs written and corrected, just to accommodate everyone and everything. There’s a triple time/ quality/ efficiency balance here and that’s my ultimate goal.

Also, who had the chocolate abs? Asking for a friend.


A friend, uh? Αλλού αυτά, πονηρό πλάσμα!


I am not sure everyone is willing to wait, one of your favorite dramas of all time, which I just finished a round of editing and am going back again (halfway through in 2 days) to fix spelling errors, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon has pages and pages and pages begging for subtitles even though without fail every episode was 95+ in 24 hrs of upload.

Why don’t you just ask the editors on the English team about the subtitle in question? All the editors I have worked with are always willing to provide explanations. If it is an older show, you will need to “hire” someone to check the subtitle for you.

As for youtube… the timings are not horrible but not up to NSSA standard. In fact there may be some overlapping contributors of the youtube fansubs and viki. I also wonder what is a good subtitle to you? Some people may prefer DF (though I clearly don’t) because it is simpler. For example you don’t have lyrics interspersed with dialogue.

Korean people in general prefer concise translations which is totally opposite of the viki-style of thoroughness I am used to.

Some like their subtitles to be grammatically perfect, yet I would argue still… a wrong subtitle is still wrong even though there is no grammatical fault.

For Viki timings, I told the segmenters on my team not to worry too much. I have an extreme makjang with fast talking. Making 4 sec machine cuts is a-okay. Since I edit in segment timer, I end up quality checking too. There seems to be a lot of microgaps lately or… people’s work isn’t saving properly.

@angelight313_168 if you are for getting the best subtitles ever, I suggest you join the team as an English editor. You will be well aware of how edited a show is, and fix things maybe to your liking. If you want to be bosslady of all, you can even go for chief editor.

I spotted some typos in my favorite cdrama right now Across the Ocean to See You, so I leave notes and work as a type of consultant on an ad-hoc basis hahaha.


I prefer to seg more than subtitle. But… if I have a say in making things consistent as editor, I will exercise that right… (Strong Woman for example is one of the most tightly written scripts ever so I am having to go back…).


For this reason I greatly encouraged a different user to be an “English editor.” The English team has two different types of editors, this “English editor” position is the one where you clean up the English subtitles for grammar and word choice. <= I think you may enjoy it and like having more say so you can try it. Many of the English editors are language learners of the video, but do not yet have the proficiency to check for accuracy in translation.

As for the “bossing” part, you will feel out the team as you continue to work with them.


There are many off-air/library dramas that are currently being fixed. I know Dong Yi is one as is all the dramas that Mahoula is stewarding (she has like probably over 20), Special Investigation Unit, Hooray for Love is another, I am also on New Heart team.

I suggested to NSSA they do a badge next time for old dramas or variety so maybe some people will feel more motivated to fix.

I am not sure how things were pre-2012. The older ID’s said it was around that time people really started doing this “editing” thing. (BTW I am still working on Strong Woman. I so badly want to put it as “COMPLETE”)


Uh at least 6 typos in spelling of the English. I am going back to make the ainsoft, gyeong shim, and chronicles of albertan, and chronicles of strength consistent. In the meantime I picked up some typos and fixed some OST (copy-pasted) to be identical. Things like this. I have 3 more eps to go. I re-edited 13 eps in 2 days.

I am thinking of captioning the entire series in Korean and then begging a native to check my spacing and spelling.



I think it’s every editors dream to not have to change a single line, or let’s say many of them. You could tell me if I am wrong.

If I see a minor mistake that will not change a thing, or possibly not get the viewers attention … I will not make a change.

For missing punctuation marks, I will change even only for a “.” But I no longer change “…” When there are 2-4 dots or even more.

How about SHOUTING in subtitles, I really don’t like it, but I didn’t see it mentioned from NSSA or I overlooked it, it was late yesterday reading all this and my arms were to heavy to answer. If it’s around 2-3 words, I can tolerate it, but long sentences … If we were to make subtitles for hearing impaired, there would have to be more to add than only this method. So I am not buying this argument.

  • 1 mistake, or typo, I will quickly erase
  • 2 mistake of the minor type, I will quickly erase
  • 2 mistake that contain syntax or honorifics often bring more mistakes with them, and then I start to make a “proper” translation and “disregarding” the former subtitle. Just to clear my mind in order to bring a good subtitle.

I think, I do not have to state what I am doing, if there are more mistakes in one subtitle.

It makes it even harder to edit, when the the translation is in a language that used the English subtitles “first generation” and there happened to be an update to the subs, means a new English editor went through it. I rarely experience that other language moderator get any info that there is minor to grave changes in the translation. When out of 5 subtitles are changed by then it is hard to withstand and let the subtitles in peace, when there would be so much better words fitting the mood or the character’s speech.

I don’t have the urge to change correct sentences, I only wished for some subbers, they would be more careful while typing and not only make “meter”.


Editing yourself, I do that all the time and crucial part is, that one is kind of blind in some cases.
I will always go back to old translations to watch them once more, since often there are some typos that escaped me.

As a subber, I always am my first editor, because I do not want the editor in charge have to much of a tiring job, I know how it can be. If I get to see really bad subs, I want to be fair but after a while I am asking myself - is it blissful unawarness,mindlessness, ignorance or even worse … (I won’t name it.)

I have low tolerance with typo too, if I see one, I want to correct it. But that works for me for other mistakes too, because of that “habit”, I can’t watch a drama with my native language’s subtitles. It distracts me that much that after a while, I will only see the faulty subtitles and I do not even remember how the story went.

And yes, if the moderator is soft on the subber it makes it hard for the editors …


Wow, Sophie I admire you for that, I try to do the same, but it is the factor time, that is not always as plenty as I would need it. And yes, as an editor you need to justify your edits, as a subber others seem to assume that there is everything fine. I was always glad, when I had an editor and he/she would tell me, that I was making some constant mistake, because then I can correct myself in the future and the editor has less trouble too.

I don’t have any trouble, if others correct my subs for the better.

You mean the “standard” here at viki for subbing and editing. Well I can’t state that, since the last on-air drama I did moderate was in 2011. And I was always “testing” my subbers. Since I hated editing back then, I still don’t love it, because in some cases you feel like a “cleaning lady”. The job is unappreciated. I only took in 1-2 subbers with less good subtitling, giving them smaller parts and giving advise on the line. As you could see that in their daily life, grammar was not their friend either. Some were willing to learn and some just went to other project with a more “amicable” moderator.

As for guessing, or just using the max of vocabulary one has without a thought to improve. I try to improve my vocabulary daily, the native one as well as the non-native one. There is always room for improvement.


I will be back this evening to discuss with all of you further about this topic, I like it.
Write on …


But you know that measured by time, the editor takes longer to read and correct, then the subber, at least for smaller scentences, I am not talking about the complex ones now.


But both of you get the count?


I have only these not twenty my dear:
-Behind the white tower(CM)(ep 1-7 released to other languages)(we need help with TE for the rest of the episodes)
-The Duo(CM)(ep 1-6 released to other languages)(need help with TE)
-Special Investigation Team(CM)(ep 1-6,ep 8-12 translated into english,ep 7 46%)
-New Heart(CM)(ep 1-6 released to other languages)
-General Hospital 2(CM)(1-17 released and currently is being translated to other languages, recruiting language moderators)
-Medical Brothers(CM)(ep 1-6 translated into english)(need help translating the rest)
Yi San(CM) (fully translated into english,spanish, greek(needs a little more editing though), and other languages such as German, French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Romanian, Finnish, Portuguese are following(might need help), we also recruit moderators for other languages)