Which "version" of English is the standard in Viki?

I was just reading a book about America written by an English person (American Gods by N. Gaiman, if anyone’s interested) and he writes in the acknowledgements (yes, I always read them :flushed:) that he thanked all the people who pointed out his “anglicisms”.

Which made me wonder if there is a standard in Viki about which version is preferred in the subs, British or American (or other). Since English is spoken in so many different countries as an official language, and each country unavoidably develops its own version over time, does the CM or the English editor give a specific guideline upfront, or is everyone allowed to sub as they see fit, based on their country’s “version”?

I don’t mean slang etc. In the writer’s words " in chapter one I had car parks instead of parking lots and driving licenses instead of drivers licences, and we can go on from there.". And also all those spelling differences.

Personally, I tend to mix and match according to my preferences (as it’s obvious in my posts here and the same way I tend to mix languages sometimes), unless it’s a professional environment, where we usually gravitate towards one specific “version” for a variety of reasons, not relevant here.

I’m just asking out of curiosity, what’s the norm here?


The important thing is that the drama is subtitled consistently. The T-editors and G-editors will fix up the inconsistencies accordingly. But, please try to stay consistent with other subtitlers so the T-editors and G-editors don’t have too much extra work. Also remember that many translators are translating the English subtitles into other languages. It is considerate to them for the English subtitles to be consistent. This is just my opinion as an editor.

The English editors will try to provide a consistent base from which other language translators can work. However, in translating the English subtitles into other languages, the subtitlers and editors for those languages will apply their own idiom/style/rules/guidelines to their translations. So, everyone is doing what works best for their language, but are doing so consistently within the parameters of their respective languages.

That’s too generic a guideline!
It’s better if the Chief English Editor gives a clear guideline upfront: AE or BE.
Generally I’ve noticed that most of the English Editors here are U.S. based so American English is what you find the most. But they don’t bother to give a guideline because they assume their English is the only and obvious choice. (You know how most U.S. people often tend to forget about the existence of the rest of the world).
For many of us, for instance Europeans, Indians and so on, who have been taught British English at school or the British Council or “academies”, as they call them in Corea, but were brought up on American films, so are familiar more or less with both (but tend to write B.E. and speak A.E.), it would be so nice if there were a specific stated rule.

I never really thought about this to b honest as I do understand both and my own English is more of mix of BE and AE. In school I learned BE but through TV, music and everything else I also picked up AE like most of the non natives. Yes I also watched tv series on BBC like “Are you being served?” (had to watch that in class too) and I like Mr. Bean. But most series here are American.

So my guess is that the subs are also a bit of a mixture of both because the subbers are most of the time not natives in English either and are exposed to both too.

1 Like

I’m a Greek subtitler. As I said, I’m asking out of curiosity.

I agree with @irmar, that’s too generic and puts to much work on the editors (again).

How can they stay consistent with other subtitlers if there are no guidelines, they can’t read everyone’s subs on the drama!

1 Like

What if someone’s from another country, or if the whole team is Australian? (I have no idea, but I’d bet they’ve done their own thing, it’s only natural. I mean, even curse words are different between countries.)

Will a person’s subs be “corrected” or will they be asked to research a new spelling, if it’s not their own? I agree about the rest of the world, and some times even us foreigners do that.

There are some great British series, but I need subs for some accents, I don’t understand a thing!

So, everyone’s free to use whatever comes naturally? What about consistency? (I wouldn’t want things imposed on people, but grammar and slang words can’t be all over the place, especially for the other languages’ subbers, right?)

I think slang is a whole other category and yes that doesn’t fit in the subs unless the Korean (or Japanese or whatever) is slang too.

I once was a fan of a British idol and was part of the official fan forums which of course was British. And honestly, this might sound arrogant, my English was better then at least half of the natives BE that where posting there. At first I had a hard time figuring out what some people where saying. Because some where typing like this for example: “Soz mate, its bcuz I luv…” (and that’s an easy one!) I also posted topics there and some replied to me like that and when I asked for a translation some didn’t even know the correct BE word because they got used to the slang.

But that aside which American native doesn’t know what “he looks fancy”,“I fancy this or that” means? To my understanding the word fancy is BE and isn’t used in AE. Now I can’t think of an example for an AE word that isn’t being used in BE as most of the time I cannot even tell which is typical BE or typical AE in written form. When some speaks BE or AE it’s clear due the accent.

I meant American slang vs British slang vs Australian slang etc, you get the picture.

If a Korean student says something about going to the prom (American subber), and an Australian subber writes about the deb? Things like that.

(…And the “root for your team” thing.)

EDIT: I thought of another example: I was watching a court drama in Viki and the subs kept mentioning about “taking the fifth”. I personally know what it means, but it’s specific to a country and only there. Why should everyone assume it’s common knowledge? I mean, why should a British subber use it?

That, for example, shouldn’t be there, as it is a direct reference to something pertaining to only one country*. And it would sound strange in a Korean character’s mouth.
That’s why I also feel awkward with everyone saying “Geez” or “Jeez”. I get it that many Koreans are Christians, but not all of them. I would like something more neutral.
That’s exactly why I’m telling my Greek subber team not to use “aman” for “aigoo”. Aman , although it has more or less the same meaning and use as aigoo, is too Greek/Turkish/Middle Eastern, and it sounds funny and out of place coming from a Korean.

*(Taking the fifth: Invoking the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which says that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself”)

I wouldn’t want to do the opposite of “localizing” and end up with a “sterile” line of dialogue, but I get what you mean.

Strange, I never thought of Aman as a direct substitute of Aigoo. Maybe, in some cases, in context, but if anyone asked it wouldn’t be my first answer.

While translating from Korean to English, both American English and British English are accepted. However, majority of Ko-En subbers are Korean-Americans, so most of us naturally use American English when we sub. Having said that, I remember reading somewhere not to correct British English so I usually leave them alone when I see them, even though they look a bit weird to me.

1 Like

So, it’s up to the volunteer, really, there’s not a general consensus or something, just to leave alone each other’s versions.

Statistically, I expected most to be Americans, but I guess they are overwhelmingly so, so there’s really no need about what I asked.

1 Like

Honestly I have not thought about this. I think in most cases people figure things out pretty fast.

The general grammars should be similar or the same regardless of where English is spoken. I think on viki most people don’t pay attention to this aspect of the English language being spoke world wide. If I am a translator of a big company, I would took note of certain terms that changes depending on the countries and try to hit my target audience with the proper terms and grammars.

However, I do think as many other people here that a large portion of the English speaker and perhaps the people translating series into English on viki are from America. So we are not going to notice this, until we starting notice something is wrong with the translation. Seriously, most people will notice something is wrong with the translation and rule out the translator’s background. But I won’t complain because most of the sub I see are free.

There are differences in grammar, spelling and vocabulary, depending on the country. Not so many that a speaker from one country wouldn’t understand a speaker from another one (except for idioms and dialects), but differences exist.

Also, this is not about “wrong” English, no country’s official language is less or more right, compared to another one. Unless you mean BE or AE only are “correct” English, which of course isn’t true.

(insert 20 minutes of Bolivian folk dance to Andes flutes and pipes)

Moa Desaym

Which one? If you mean the browser spellchecker, it can be set to your preferred version of English, so not everybody has the same. Look at mine, for instance:

1 Like

It’s not only spelling, it’s also expressions and other details, as mentioned above.

Context, logic etc are taken for granted in this topic (yes, I know), my question was specifically about different versions of correct things.

I take it that you, as a CM, allow each person to use their own version.