Viki

[Viki Community] We Want Your Feedback


#284

Hello I’m having problems with the chatter, it used to show the new messages but now I need to roll down all the time to see the new messages.
Another thing I wanted to ask: if a Channel manager isn’t answering any message who sould I speak with? it’s been more than a month since I send a message and I’ve send another maybe two weeks ago, the spanish moderator left the team and we need a new one to start working.


#285

Despite the detailed explanation of how automatic translations and algorithms will not supersede or interfere with the quality of subs coming out of the Viki community, I have to laugh at the automatic response to my wanting to post on this topic:

Revive this topic?

The last reply to this topic was 10 months ago . Your reply will bump the topic to the top of its list and notify anyone previously involved in the conversation.

Are you sure you want to continue this old conversation?

The answer is, “Of course!”

Ten months ago, when people in charge of political decisions all over the world were universally and uniformly handling COVID policies and procedures badly, when economies and families and hopes and dreams were being devastated every day, and when disdain and hatred for AAPI groups in my country was rampant, I barely had time to focus on the Viki Community I contribute to as a subber.

I had trouble keeping in touch with my family members 500 miles from my home; I was in tears from hearing the stories of “Asianese” friends who were ridiculed and threatened on a daily basis; I wept because bad COVID policies kept two dear non-Asian friends from getting medical help on a timely basis and contributed to their non-COVID deaths.

I personally was so stressed out last year from a combination of issues that my previously robust health declined rapidly and led to my spending two weeks in the hospital with COVID at the the start of 2022.

Do I want to revive a topic that has been near and dear to my heart since my joining Viki?

Making subbing easier for subbers, the people that I consider to be the heart of the Viki Community Team, is something I definitely want to revive! I always want to have it as a topic of discussion.

As I look around the “Viki-verse” (the Viki universe) right now, in the spring of 2022, I see that those who serve as liaisons between Viki and the decision-makers at Rakuten are still struggling as much as they were three years ago.

Viki is what some economic models would call a wholly owned subsidiary of Rakuten. It has the unenviable task of making sure Viki retains everything that makes it superior to Netflix as a platform for promoting and showing Korean television shows and movies. And this is because Viki will disappear just like DramaFever if it doesn’t provide Rakuten with a decent income stream.

I cannot imagine the pressure the most responsible members of the Viki Community must be under every single day to make sure the best source for Asian drama doesn’t disappear from the entertainment marketplace.

However, as someone university-trained in the mysteries of English literature of the past 1600 years, and as someone who has spent the past 35 years tutoring people in English as a second language, I keep having to shake my head when I look around the world of Viki.

Limiting projects that channel managers can work on is great. Providing automatic translations for dramas is great (even though I wonder what the difference would be between those and presubs).

However, when I look at a wide variety of dramas on Viki, the biggest problem I see is consistency in the application of already existing standards for subbing and segmenting.

Different channel managers apparently use or ignore those standards as they see fit. I was taught, for instance, that an off-screen monolog or an off-screen dialog should always be italicized. However, I am watching Master of My Own, a delightful show in all respects, and the formatting for dialog is much different. Off-screen monologs and dialogs are enclosed in parentheses.

Also, it is often hard to know if the particular choices of English translation in Master of My Own are the result of deliberate decisions to reflect the essence of Chinese culture and language . . . OR are they are auto-translations . . . OR are they typically bizarre and mysterious pre-subs that escaped someone’s notice . . . ???

Regarding the idea that there are too many dramas and too few segmenters and subbers to handle them . . . well, where is that Asian creativity and problem solving that gave the world writing, gunpowder, ancient medicine, some of the earliest forms of money, and some of the earliest forms of art and literature? Where is some brainstorming, some Google-style collaboration, some Apple-style ingenuity, some Samsung-style and LG-style and Kia-style precision and streamlining?

There will always be human beings who are unhappy, whether they are family members, neighbors, or strangers. That unhappiness in certain Viki subscribers/users comes from experiences that occurred long before they started watching Goblin or Devil Judge or Sh**ting Stars.

Their emotional trauma did not originate with Viki, nor is it Viki’s responsibility to function as their parent or therapist and give them the happiness they think someone owes them.

Viki’s job is to take care of Viki, to make it the best, simplest, most elegant, most representative venue for modern treasures of Asian culture that it can possibly be.

Viki’s job is to make sure the website works well, that the hardware and software and firmware and servers operating behind the scenes are up to date.

Viki’s job is to offer the best possible technical assistance to subbers and segmenters who freely and without any monetary compensation often spend twenty hours a week providing subtitling and segmenting.

Viki’s job is to help potential users and subscribers how Viki is distinctly different from Netflix and other websites and to ignite a passion for Viki-style entertainment.

That’s how Viki can really improve life for subbers and segmenters, subscribers and users, Viki paid employees and their managers, supervisors, directors, etc.

That’s MY feedback. That’s why I’m reviving this 10-month-old topic, and that’s why I will continue to talk about my particular view of how Viki can strive to truly be the “heart of of Asian entertainment.”


#286

seriously, you are so right :sob:


#287

You made very good points.

However, we’ve already talked about standardizing the standards. It just doesn’t work. We’re all different and have different perspectives, so we just have to follow along with the CE or CM. To standardize the standards, there will always be a group who is unhappy with the decision. We can hardly come to one decision when so many minds are at work here. As far as I’ve seen, most of the standards don’t really hurt anyone. Parentheses and italics probably aren’t going to inconvenience anyone much.


#288

Also some of the pre-subbed English subs we get at viki insist on all capitalization of on screen text rather than simple italics.


#289

This is where cultural sensitivity and not stepping on toes meets the reality of the marketplace.

Netflix has subs that are consistent in format. Period. Korean and Chinese and Thai and every other Asian tv/movie network/platform produce shows that have an exceedingly high level of quality in every aspect BEFORE they get passed to Viki.

Graphic design, costumes, opening and closing credits, music, advertising . . . everything about those shows BEFORE they get entrusted to Viki is top-notch because those shows are modern cultural artifacts, expressions (at least in terms of what I watch) of the best aspects of different cultures.

And in theory, the various women (and men) who are involved in making them “Viki-available” through subbing and segmenting take great pride in sharing something that can give complete strangers a positive view of their cultures.

But from drama to drama, culture to culture, responsible person to responsible person . . . the impression is not good because there is no consistent, coherent, comprehensive application of basic standards that have been around for a long time. The standards are not a secret known only to the special few.

If Viki community members who are most senior and most experienced in subbing and segmenting all agree on the same formatting . . . if they all train junior and less experienced community members to do the same things the same way . . . if Viki employees focus on NOT letting themselves get scared by a vocal minority . . . if EVERYBODY (both paid and volunteer) works hard at collaboration and excelling individually . . . I don’t think there would be any problem producing great dramas with great subs.

As with many other things in this world, careful education according to high standards, modeling, mentoring, and honest communication back and forth would produce great results.


#290

This drama is coming with pre-subs, maybe you watched it before it has been edited.


#291

I have been watching Master of My Own since it started on Viki. I have been watching purely as a subscriber, not as anyone who has access to the show’s presubs.

There are currently 24 episodes showing on the Viki website. Up to episode 22, the percentage of subbing in English for each episode is 100 percent with the exception of two (I think) being 99%. Episodes 23 and 24 have the caption underneath that reads, “Available in 1 day.”

Below are two examples of English subtitling that do not follow what I learned when I started working on pre-subs for the C-drama Be Together.

In episode 10 of Master of My Own at time stamp 08:43, the scene shows a computer monitor displaying some type of financial report. The English sub looks like this:

[Yuanyuan Real Estate Co., Ltd. Financial Report]

The English sub should look like this:

[Yuanyuan Real Estate Co., Ltd. Financial Report] (everything italicized)

In episode 11, at time stamp 02:46, the English sub looks like this:

[Change]Thanks.

The English sub should look like this:

[Change] (the title of the economics textbook Su Wei Ran is reading)
Thanks. (Ning Meng’s response to Su Wei Ran letting her read the book)

I worked on Be Together with @worthyromance as my teacher before she had health issues that forced her to stop subbing for quite a period of time. She stressed consistency and clear identification in English of different types of dialog and descriptions.

Then I worked on _The Prince Who Turned Into A Frog _ . I had a fascinating time discussing some fairly incomprehensible presubs with @addictedtobooks and several others, and the philosophy was: make things simple, make them make sense, and Follow. The. Guidelines.

In the past two years, I have fallen in love with C-dramas completely. At the start of 2021, I was was excited to learn that Yang Mi (whom I adored in The Legend of Fu Yao) was starring in a modern drama, Storm Eye, and it was, from my perspective, an almost perfect drama, both technically and creatively.

It said so much that is important about the value of home, family, the importance of cultivating beauty and virtue, and the importance of maturing from selfishness and thoughtless immaturity to unselfishness and sober, virtuous maturity. The opening theme and credits brought me to tears every time.

There is a sweetness and gentleness in C-dramas that I think many people ignore or misread because China seems to them to be so big, old, and mysterious. To me that is unfortunate, and I want people to be as in love with C-dramas as I am.

IMHO, the clearer and simpler and more standardized the English subs are, the easier it will be for people to appreciate both the subs and the dramas.


#292

Pre-sub means that the episodes are coming with subtitles already. Everyone can see them. I am a segmenter on this show, the last time I saw they haven’t edited episode 10 yet.


#293

Presubs means that the show is uploaded along with the subtitles provided by the content creator, most of the time. They are, in most cases, far from what we call consistent and under Viki’s guidelines. They are available to all subscribers as soon as the episode is up on the platform. What you pointed out are just episodes that weren’t edited by the editing team yet. As an editor myself, I can say that most of the editors follow what you said. I’ve work with both volunteers you mentioned and I can say that this show will be fixed and will be under those same guidelines. I believe only a few editor go the other way about these guidelines, most are following the same path. (Sorry for any typo, I’m commenting this on my cell at 12:25 am now )


#294

Yes, I am totally and completely aware of the whole process of creating English language subs. You can clearly see that from everything I have explained about my getting involved with subbing under the guidance of @worthyromance.

As I learned right at the start, pre-subs are based on some version of the script for a particular show or episode. However, that version of the script is rarely the final version of the script that ends up being used.

Once a drama is completed and edited, the dialog that needs to be translated into good and consistent English (for Viki viewers and for subbers translating into other languages) is not the dialog that shows up loosely translated in the pre-subs.

As I see it, presubs are a merciful gesture to Viki by the creators of K, C, T, Th, J and other dramas. Presubs enable Viki subbers and segmenters to get a quick start with putting shows on the website.

When I started cleaning pre-subs, I was told to focus on producing reasonably idiomatic sentences in English, to focus on getting the Viki sub formatting right, and to pass my work on to English-language subbers as quickly as possible.

When @worthyromance developed some health issues and had to stop teaching me, I was still very, very new to the whole process. I was still relatively unfamiliar with the subtitle editor, with the positions on a subbing team, with the ways that members communicate progress.

I needed to be able to ask questions and to be corrected when I made mistakes, but until I was given a chance to work on The Prince Who Turns Into a Frog, I could not get anyone to help me. People were, in fact, angry that I was contacting whoever I could think of and not properly “going through channels.”

I thoroughly enjoyed working on The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog and then got an opportunity to work on After School Club. That got interrupted at the start of this year when I ended up in the hospital with COVID and it was discovered that I had congestive heart failure, perhaps due to the effects of COVID or perhaps due to family genetics.

It has only been in the last month that I have gotten back to work on ASC, and it has been a bit difficult to get back up to speed and to remember all that I have learned until now.

However, the main thing about subbing that I hear in my memory over and over is: “have pride in what you do and make sure that everything that ends up on screen makes sense and is formatted properly.”

As time rolls along, and as Asian dramas of all kinds continue to attract attention, the Viki subbing community is under more and more pressure to perform well and to push even more dramas out to committed subscribers and interested viewers. Also, Viki paid employees who are liaisons between subbing teams and their “big bosses” are under more and more pressure to make sure Viki is profitable.

So at the moment it’s hard for everybody, and nobody is happy, and a lot of people (volunteer and paid) feel slightly desperate and misunderstood, and the temptation to cut corners in order to avoid “stress monkeys” is huge.

The subbing issues with Master of My Own are relatively minor, but I am a nitpicky person by nature.

As a literature major in college who was fortunate to study a number of Chinese poems in English translation, I actually have more issues with how the characters and plot are handled. They are handled sometimes well and sometimes not well at all.

At least the relationship between Lu Ji Ming and Ning Meng is not as awkward and cringeworthy as the relationship between Lin Ke Song and Jiang Qian Fan in Cupid’s Kitchen. Super cringe!


#295

Ok, I was explaining because you quoted a drama that’s with editing process on going and when was said it was pre-subed you said you were watching as a viewer not editor, that made me believe you were unaware that pre-subs are visible to all public.

So the real issue was about the plot and the characters? Sorry, I was under the impression that you were talking about editing issues.


#296

Wait… are you criticizing the subtitle quality or the plot quality of the drama?

In terms of plot quality… its understandable. VIKI has more dramas and more Chinese networks than NF does atm. There is a large quantity, you’re going to have to find ones you like.


#297

Also, FYI @nicoletak and @vivi_1485

My concern at the time I wrote my long post on May 12 about Master of My Own was very much about the appearance of the subtitles.

I know that policies and procedures are constantly changing in the Viki “home office” to try and keep up with demand for Asian dramas by a growing audience, but I truly was not aware that demand for production of good Viki products has made it necessary to get popular C-dramas up on the website while English subs are still in the pre-sub stage.

My experience with working on–and watching–a wide variety of C-dramas has been that the English subs are always very carefully handled, and there is a lot of effort made to give what I would call the whole, true flavor of Chinese language and culture.

I have friends who are ethnic Chinese who grew up (or their parents grew up) in Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, Guangdong, Vietnam. Their dialects, costumes, foods, New Year’s celebrations AND versions of classical Chinese opera are all very distinct, yet their pride in their Chinese heritage is fierce.

Over the years, as I have learned from my friends more and more about Chinese literature, food, art, clothing, music, and history, I have gotten more and more addicted to C-dramas, no matter what the genre.

(I’m pretty sure it was on DramaFever where I first saw the story of Ip Man starring Donnie Yen, and I cried buckets learning about what Ip Man suffered trying to help keep his family and community safe. It was at that point I truly fell in love with China. I cant marry China; and I can’t marry C-dramas, but my devotion runs deep.)

Right now, because of recently being ill and still needing to go to bed early, I have a very limited time frame to use for work on subbing. After School Club is about all I can handle. But I would love to get back into cleaning pre-subs for C-dramas. I really enjoyed everything I did on Be Together (which did NOT have any cringe-worthy romantic relationships).

Sadly, I am looking at another six to eight months. I hope at that time my cardiologist will tell me I can go back to my favorite volunteer job.


#298

I’m so sorry, I hope you get better and can comeback soon. At least you can spend time watching the dramas untill you can comeback.


#299

I appreciate all the dialog that I’ve been able to have here about the streaming platform that I really do think is “the heart of Asian drama.” Unless I marry a widowed linguist whose specialty is East Asian languages, I will never be able to fully satisfy my craving for good Asian dramas.

I will never personally support Netflix because, for them, Asian dramas are just another line of “merch” to sell. Their biggest suppliers of entertainment (mainstream Hollywood movie and TV studios) continue to be utterly clueless about the millions of ethnically Asian people who have kept California’s economy afloat since the late 1800s.

I am and will always be pro-Viki.


#300

YES!


#301

If its just about the subs, then everyone is right; they’re probably pre-subs. Give it a few days and check again - the subs may change. But you already know that :sweat_smile: Sorry, i love reading your long posts but sometimes it gets a little hard to understand what exactly you need help with :sweat_smile:


#302

Some days I don’t know what I need help with.

That’s why my ideal life would be the life of a memsahib under the Raj. British or local, either would do.

“Oh, I say, more tea, please. More chutney, please. More biscuits, please. And don’t forget to go out and wash down the white elephants, and before you do, please turn me over.”

I think what it boils down to is, there are days when my inner lazybones wants to be a completely inert version of Hyacinth Bouquet.


(Giphy)


#303

And now for something completely NOT different. More fussiness from me.

I understand how . . . um . . . interestingly a variety of “non-Western” languages have been transliterated by Western sorts over the past few centuries.

But when I see different sets of transliterations in subs (be they pre or final) and in synopses for the same drama, I am puzzled.


(Giphy)

Check out the English-language spelling of the names (in the subs) of the time-traveling lawyer and the quietly radical chaebol’s daughter in Again My Life. And then compare them to the spellings in the synopsis.

Kim Hee Ah and Kim Hee Woo are, for me, more representative of what I’ve been hearing in dialog than Kim Hui Ah and Kim Hui Wu. Actually, if I did a transliteration that matched what I’ve been hearing, I’d write Gim Hyah and Gim Hyu.

The thing that makes me shake my head and roll my eyes is that Viki is becoming an increasingly popular and increasingly scrutinized platform for Asian dramas. And there is a rigorous training program for subbers and segmenters. And EVERYONE I have worked with on English-language subs is as nitpicky as a cat choosing between minced Korean beef and minced Japanese beef. Yet these inconsistencies abound.

Transliteration inconsistencies certainly abounded when I was working on The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog. In some ways, it doesn’t matter what English transliterations show up on-screen, but if Viki were selling English-language translations of Asian novels, subscribers would have every right to say, “Hey, I’m getting crap for my money!”

Both English-language subs for dramas and their English-language synopses come from where? From the TV networks, I assume? Does anyone in the home office look ever look at the inconsistencies and make a decision about which type of transliteration to use? I assume that the TV networks don’t care too much as long as everything looks consistent and professional.

Obviously Viki can’t make too many rigid demands of people who are volunteering, but if they don’t have some firm guidelines, they can’t really get bent out of shape if volunteers try to mind read and second guess and get things wrong. Or leave things that are badly done alone because “it’s not worth it for me to stress over something that isn’t my responsibility.”

There are times when I wonder why I get so bent out of shape about some things. (I was one of those children who hated weirdly textured food, and I hated scratchy clothes, and I annoyed my parents constantly by pointing out, “But that’s not what you said yesterday!” I blame my inner child for everything. She just won’t stop being a pain in the butt.)


(Giphy)