Hi Viki Volunteer Community!
We’re in the process of designing a new feature. Your thoughts and concerns are important to us, so we’d like you to:
- Share your feedback on the proposed feature (please comment below!), and
- Let us know if you’d like to preview the new feature (we have limited seats, so first come first served!)
We’re designing an auto-translated subtitle feature in the video player
- When an episode’s volunteer subtitles are in-progress (less than 90%), we want to show viewers a separate subtitle track with auto-translated subtitles.
- Viewers will by default continue to watch with in-progress volunteer subtitles, but they can choose to switch to auto-translated subtitles.
- Whenever auto-translated subtitles are shown, we’ll make it as clear as possible to viewers that they’re watching auto-translated and not volunteer subtitles.
- Once volunteer subs reach 90%, auto-translated subs will be disabled.
As part of the Viki community, you’re the reason why we’re able to spread the joy of Asian entertainment around the world and across language barriers. Your voice is important to us, and that’s why we’d like to explain our plans and get your feedback.
Why do we want to do this?
As we continue to grow, the number of new shows has been growing faster than our community. This means that often, you’ve faced (and continue to face) immense time pressure to translate shows as fast as possible. At the same time, many viewers (who might not understand that Viki subtitles are created by volunteers like you) get impatient and unfairly blame the volunteering teams for a lack of subtitles.
That’s not good, and we want to solve that. We wanna create an environment where you can create the highest quality subs in the world in a safe and pleasant working environment. We want to relieve and remove the rush to create subs as new episodes get released, so that you don’t lose your passion for translating shows. Subbing is as much an art as it is a science, and rushing through the subbing process will benefit neither volunteers nor viewers.
We think auto-translated subtitles allow us to do that, by serving viewers with a separate subtitle track for auto-translated subtitles. This way, when subtitles by volunteers are still in-progress (less than 90%), viewers have the option to watch with auto-translated subtitles. Once volunteer subtitles reach 90%, auto-translated subtitles will be disabled for the episode. This helps provide viewers with lower-quality subtitles if they want to watch an episode as soon as possible—and help relieve the time pressure on you.
Is this… Vikibot?
It’s not! We’ve learned from our past issues in the discontinued Vikibot, and that’s why we want your voice heard. Unlike Vikibot, auto-translated subtitles will also not override any subtitles that you create.
We want to reassure you that we will never replace you and/or the amazing subtitles you create. Auto-translated subs are meant to temporarily satisfy viewers while you’re crafting high-quality subs for shows. That way, you have more time to create thoughtful, precise and culturally-aware subs that you’ve made Viki known for. We know that auto-translated subs can never match up to the quality of the ones you create with such passion, knowledge and expertise! Your effort over the years has created and will continue to create one of the best viewing experiences for Asian content.
Whenever auto-translated subs are shown, we’ll make it clear to viewers that they’re watching with auto-translated subs rather than volunteer-created ones. This way, viewers will not mistake the lower-quality auto-translated subs for the high-quality ones you create.
And while we explore auto-translated subs as a temporary solution for when volunteer subs are in-progress, we’ll also continue to invest in our volunteering community in parallel. For example, we’re working on a new and better onboarding experience for new volunteers, so they can get started faster and easier. We’re also exploring how to make it easier for you to recruit a team and find a project to join.
So, how will auto-translated subtitles work?
We intend to translate volunteer-created English subs into whichever language is currently in-progress / less than 90%. We’ll focus on Spanish and Portuguese first, because that way we’re able to serve the most viewers who want fast access to subtitles.
If an episode’s volunteer subs are in-progress, viewers will see an extra option to watch with auto-translated subs. They’ll still see volunteer subs by default, and can choose to watch with volunteer subs if they want to. If they choose to watch with auto-translated subs, we’ll make it super obvious that our volunteers are working hard to bring amazing, high-quality subs to viewers. Once volunteer subs reach 90%, we’ll remove auto-translated ones, since their purpose will have been fulfilled.
A Brazilian Viki viewer has just started watching an on-air K-drama. The plot is gripping, and the Vikian is hooked. The volunteer subs are on point and help to explain subtle cultural references in the show. In a matter of hours, the Vikian is at episode 5—alas, volunteers are still working hard to bring Portuguese subs to that episode.
The Vikian’s heart sinks a little—but then she sees a message that while volunteers are hard at work, she can watch with auto-translated subs if she wants! She really loves the high-quality volunteer subs, but she also must know what’s gonna happen to the male lead when he finally gets to meet the female lead! Omo, ottoke? She decides to watch with lower-quality auto-translated subs first, then re-watch the episode when volunteer subs are complete.
Meanwhile, since a few hours ago, volunteers of the Portuguese team have begun working on translating the English team’s subtitles. This time, however, the team is able to put careful attention into making sure idioms and cultural explanations don’t get lost in translation. Instead of a rush to meet an impossible deadline, the focus is to create the best subtitles in the world.
That’s the scenario we want to create with this project. We’ll serve lower-quality, auto-translated subs to viewers who need to watch new episodes ASAP, while lowering the time pressure for volunteer teams.
To recap: the differences between Vikibot and auto-translated subtitles
We want your feedback!
We’re not gonna lie: All of us here at the Viki Community Team are quite nervous to hear your thoughts on this project. We’re very aware of the elephant in the room (Vikibot), but we hope that you can see that this time, it’s different. We know that you’re passionate about what you do, and we want to have a transparent discussion about this feature and address your concerns.
If you’re interested to preview the design prototype of this feature, you can register your interest here. Please understand that we have limited slots so it will be on a first come first serve basis.
Thank you for being a part of the Viki Community, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts, suggestions, and feedback!
Amy, Camille, Jes, Mari, Sean, Val and Yu Siang
Viki Community Team