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.
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)
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.
- 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.
WRONG SYNTAX, however, IS NOT A FLAVOUR OF THE CULTURE, SO IT SHOULD GO!
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.
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.