How to post-edit published subtitles

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The term “post-editing” refers to making changes in published subtitles. Below, you'll find tips and technical suggestions useful when post-editing transcripts and translations.

When to post-edit

Green dots in the language list mean the subtitles have been published

Post-editing can be used in a few situations:

  • A mentee realizes that their past work could be improved and shares correction suggestions
  • You want to improve the quality of subtitles published a long time ago (e.g. subtitles without line breaks published before the current technical rules were in place)
  • You realize you made a mistake in your own work and want to improve it
  • A viewer suggested a valid change
  • You were informed the transcript was edited and existing translations must be adapted (see this article for post-editing timing alignment)

Do not edit TED and TED-Ed transcripts

Never post-edit any TED or TED-Ed transcripts. These transcripts are created by TED's editorial staff. If you see a mistake, please report it via email to This will enable the TED Translators staff to analyze your submission, make sure that it has not been reported yet, gather all the necessary information and forward the report for editorial corrections.

Post-editing tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when doing a post-edit.

Leave feedback and communicate

You always need to respect the volunteer’s right to contest or discuss any edits. Just like when working on a review or approval, you must leave feedback and describe how they can discuss your changes (e.g. by contacting you via Amara). Before you begin post-editing, check to make sure whether the contributors who originally created are still active subtitlers, and when they were last active. Volunteers who stopped contributing a long time ago may not have been aware of all the current rules and resources. However, still leave feedback for such users, as learning new information about their past contribution may motivate them to dig in and become active again.

Keep in mind that when post-editing, you will not be able to send the subtitles back, so if you desire to discuss something with the contributors, use direct messages. Remember that neither the transcriber/translator nor the reviewer are obliged to make any edits in published subtitles, so you cannot ask them to do the work on their own (e.g. in an offline solution), though you can of course suggest it politely, asking if it's something they would like to do, and remembering that it was your decision to post-edit their work and it's up to them whether they want to come back to it again.

Focus on newer subtitles

Don’t invest too much time in improving subtitles published a long time ago. A lot of these could use some improvement, but your focus should always be on mentoring currently active volunteers so that they produce good-quality subtitles in the future.

Be careful when post-editing transcripts

The "Edit subtitles" button is located at the top of the subtitle page

Post-editing original transcripts is a special case. If you change the timing of a published transcript or split or merge subtitles, users currently working on translations may lose their place in the talk and create unsynchronized subtitles. Use splitting and merging subtitles in a post-edit only on very rare occasions (preferably never), because in most cases, other volunteers won't be able to incorporate your edits in their translations. When going in and post-editing a transcript, you will often find more possible improvements aside from the corrections you already planned, but bear in mind that making too many edits in a published transcript may actually end up being difficult for translators.

Before post-editing a transcript, wait until all translations have been published or are at least awaiting a review. Changing timing or, worse, the number of subtitles in a transcript while translations are in progress may result in the translators losing their place in the talk and creating unsynchronized subtitles that would require considerable time to fix.

Even if you don’t edit the timing or split or merge subtitles, if your edits in the original transcript change the meaning of any subtitles in an important way, make sure to message the LCs in all the languages with published translations, and send a message to volunteers who are currently assigned to a translation or a review. You must notify them about any changes in the transcript that must be implemented in the translations as well. If changes in the number of subtitles were absolutely necessary, consider sharing this article on re-aligning subtitles along with your message.

How to make edits in published subtitles

Below, you will find some technical advice on how to perform edits in published subtitles.

Remember to hit "Publish" after you've completed your edits

Consider using offline software

If you do want to fix subtitles published a long time ago, consider using an offline tool to speed up making corrections by using advanced features like a global spell-check or minute timing improvements. You can learn more by reading this article.

How to post-edit on Amara

  1. Navigate to the talk's page and choose the task language from the list on the left.
  2. Click the Edit Subtitles button, and you will be transferred to the subtitle editor.
  3. Make all the necessary corrections, both in the subtitles and in the title and description.
  4. Click Publish. Note that saving interim versions is not possible when post-editing subtitles.

Related resources