@lutra started this thread by asking the rhetorical question, what is needed for a good edit?
I edit exclusively Korean to English drama. My first priority is understanding by the viewer, including the other language subbers. This is entirely subjective -- If I can't understand the dialogue I assume no one else can. Sometimes I can guess that the subber made a mistake in typing the word and that changing one letter in a word in the English sentence makes the sentence fit the plot perfectly. Sometime I write to the subber. And when I am lucky, I have the script or a kind subber who input the Korean so I can re-translate the sentence. Sometimes I have to listen many times to the dialogue, and then look up each word in the dictionary, hoping that the dictionary is going to give me alternate meanings to one or more of the keywords which will make the subtitle fit perfectly into the context of the story. And sometimes t I decide whether a parenthetical expression or a short explanation of some aspect of the subtitle which assists understanding by the consumer would be useful.
My second priority is getting the meaning as correct as possible. Or course this is essential to the first priority. As someone who will probably be forever a mere student of Korean, I have to rely first of all on great translation editors and second on constantly looking in the Korean to English dictionary. In order to get the meaning correct, I have to often guess at the screenwriter's/ director's intent because the Korean dialogue is so context dependent and because the language leaves out a lot of clues as to number, gender, tense, direct or indirect object etc. It is not at all unusual for both the subbers and the editors not to be sure about whether the character is talking about several people or just one, whether the person(s) is(are) male or female etc. Often I figure out little details like that many minutes in the episode after the sentence was uttered. And the way we work one person in a part at a time, the subber in the earlier part doesn't know what the subber in a later part knows. So I cannot fault a subber for putting the wrong sex or number in a sub. I learned in linguistics that essentially for tenses in Korean there is past and non-past. So the same verb might be correctly interpreted as present or future -- we just know for sure it is non-past.
Third priority is consistency with respect to the plot and perhaps an earlier version of a scene. Sometimes its hard to work on consistency because after I listen to the dialogue several times, I realize the director put a slightly different cut in the flashback -- so then I have to decide, do I make the subs perfectly consistent, or should we be true to what was said in the flashback even if it is different than the original scene. Consistency in naming of places and characters, of who did what, of dates, etc.
Fourth in priority is correctness in grammar, spelling and punctuation because as a viewer it does irritate me when I see errors in any of these aspects of writing. Within this category, I prefer whenever possible to have the subtitles follow standard English word order: Subject, verb, object. Because Korean is Subject Object Verb and also there is tendency to put time and place at the beginning of the sentence, the Korean sentence is in fact like the examples Irmar wrote: 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? Because our segmenters usually don't understand Korean and some tend to end a segment every time a pause is encountered, the subtitlers often write subs in phrases instead of sentences. I would rewrite the subtitle as: Isn't it my duty to tell you good things so that you can travel on the path of righteousness? It is highly likely the Korean was something like this: first segment: "Righteousness' path on Director so can travel to Director to tell thing." Second segment: " my responsibility is not?" Rather than saying you, the speaker correctly showed deference to the director by saying Director. The subtitler, faced with the word director twice in the Korean, put them both into the subtitle. For the second segment, (sub 2), there was no pronoun "that" but the subtitler inserted it.
"In this home, for a very long time, like when you were newlyweds, hold each other's hands tightly, and enjoy a happy life." You see how the sentence begins with place and time? "Hold each other's hands tightly as you did when newly wed and enjoy a happy life in this home for a very long time. " Korean: this home in very very long time newlywed when like each other's hands tightly hold and happily live.
Some of you have written that the subber should go back and check their own work. I have an opposing philosophy with respect to the subber spending time on grammar, spelling and punctuation. If the subber has the meaning correct and has a finite amount of time to contribute, I prefer they sub a lot and leave the grammar, spelling and punctuation to be fixed up by the editors. Far far too often, I see perfectly written sentences in English in a K drama which is dead wrong as to meaning or consistency with the plot. Those perfectly written sentences are going to lead the other language subbers and the viewers completely astray. So if the meaning is correct I am definitely not going to write to any subber for mistakes in grammar, spelling or punctuation. if the subber chooses one correct English definition of a Korean word when another definition is a better choice, I am not going to write to the subber about that choice.
Because I know my knowledge of Korean is incomplete, I rely on the translation editors to go over my subbing from raw Korean to English -- I look forward to those edits because the edits increase my knowledge -- and I am very very happy everytime anything I subbed withstood the translation edit and was left unchanged. Every day I get the "ah hah experience for something I subbed -- so that's what the screenwriter really meant!" when I review the edits of what i subbed. And when I chose to use a particular English meaning of a Korean word, when several alternatives are available, and the meaning I chose shows up in the next episode, i feel very gratified!
@irmar and @mahoula -- if you find a good newbie subber who needs to be QC to help sub a current drama -- after they have done a some subs (low hundreds in past six months is enough) on something older, you can write to viki staff and have them designated temporary QC's to work on a specific drama.