Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Since I watch a lot of Korean TV and I don't speak Korean, I depend on subtitles to understand what's going on. Some channels will provide "official" subtitles (KBS World) but for the rest of the shows, I have to wait for various "fansub" groups to translate and subtitle each show. It's a lot of work and I really appreciate their efforts.

Since it is so time consuming, often it takes days and weeks to translate and subtitle a particular show/episode; even the official KBS translations are about a month late. Understandably, viewers waiting for subtitles will sometime be impatient and ping the translators for status on latest episodes. Since these "fansubbers" usually follow an idol group, there's bound to be a lot of young fanboy/fangirls which probably makes the requests more irritating.

Anyway, what I see more and more is some pretty arrogant and nasty notices and replies to subtitle requests. For example:
Don't even think about complaining. If you think you can do a better job, then join the team and help out instead of running your mouth. You can't understand Korean? You don't know how to time? Then be quiet and take what you can get from the people that do know how to do these things. We're not your slaves.

Or this on a YouTube channel:
If there is one person who demands for a faster reup, the next episode will be delayed by 3 days.

Of course, I don't know the history behind these specific cases but the messages seem rather angry and immature. It's cool that they're subbing for non-Koreans fans but I don't understand the attitude. Maybe it's a power trip thing or their main reason for subbing is to look for acknowledgment. Almost always, these are high-school or college kids since they always seem to talk about papers and exams as well... I guess old people like me who work don't have time for this. I would hate to have to work for these people when they grow up.


Maybe it's simply part of human nature. I guess I felt this way sometimes too when I was volunteering for NewSong. For months and months, I would put in 12+ hours each weekend moving, setting up, and tearing down sound equipment in addition to actually running the sound board during service. Often, I don't get any acknowledgment or even a quick "thank you" from the paid staff. Even worse, we sometimes get whiny and demanding musicians or congregation/staff criticizing the sound quality. During those times, it's hard to remember why I bother to help out at all.

I think what I learned is that motivation and expectations really matter. If you're doing something for attention or appreciation, sooner or later you are going to burn out. What I also learned is that very few things are life-or-death important. If I don't run sound or play bass, someone else will step up and fill the gap. Maybe these frustrated fansubbers need to take a break. If they don't subtitle an episode, then someone else will... or not... and it will be okay either way.

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