How to tackle an Approval
Approval is the last step that the translation or transcript go through before they are published. Approvals are done by Language Coordinators after a transcript or translation have been reviewed.
- 1 What is the job of an approver?
- 2 How to approve a task
- 3 How to select tasks for approval
- 4 Share resources with the translators
What is the job of an approver?
Approval is the last task before publishing, so the approver has to verify the quality of the translation and correct any remaining mistakes. If the transcript or translation were poorly reviewed and extensive editing is necessary, the approver should return the task back with instructions detailing what needs to be changed and how (ideally including links to helpful resources like the guide to reviewing talks.
How to approve a task
Below, you fill find instructions on what aspects may need fixing and how to fix them. Remember that if you find the transcript or translation need extensive changes, you can always send the task back, explaining what needs to be done. Hint: before sending the subtitles back, it's a good idea to make the necessary changes in the first few minutes, to show the reviewer what you mean.
Fix the reading speed
Using the new ("beta") editor, you can check the reading speed and character length of every subtitle. This tutorial explains how to use this information. Fix the reading speed by compressing/reducing text or by editing the timing. If compression doesn't work, you can extend the duration of a subtitle a little and make the following subtitle start a little later. You can also sometimes merge subtitles that together form a complete sentence or clause (put all the text into the first subtitle, delete the second subtitle and extend the duration of the first one over the gap). Don't merge subtitles if the resulting subtitle would include part of the next sentence.
Fix the line breaks and subtitle length
In languages that use Latin script, every subtitle longer than 42 characters must be broken into two lines, and no subtitle can have a total length of over 84 characters. Even if a subtitle is broken into two lines, the break may be placed in a way that splits up a linguistic whole, e.g. after an article. Fixing line breaks involves inserting line breaks into unbroken subtitles with over 42 characters and relocating the line-break if one of the lines is over 42 characters or if the current line break splits up a linguistic whole. It may sometimes be necessary to rephrase the translation a little to make breaking a subtitle in keeping with the rules possible. For more tips on line-breaking, see this guide.
Scan for translation accuracy, grammar, spelling and punctuation
Do a sweep for mistakes in meaning, grammar, punctuation and spelling. Some common types of mistakes are:
- Punctuation copied from the original
- No punctuation at the end of the subtitle
- Idioms translated literally or uncommon (e.g. archaic) idioms used to translate idioms where a non-idiomatic phrase would sound more natural
- Translations of terms created by the volunteers instead of being based on established translations in your language
- Weird word order or phrasing due to the translation being too close to the original (too literal or based on uncorrected machine translation)
- Special (non-English) characters in your language not used
- Incorrect naming of numbers (short scale vs long scale); units of mass and length not converted
- Proper names translated even though the speaker doesn't talk about their meaning and there is no common equivalent in your language (which makes it impossible to Google for more information on what the proper name refers to, since the viewer would be searching for the translator's novel translation)
- In transcripts: important on-screen text not transcribed even though there's room (wouldn't overlap with other subtitles, with good reading speed); subtitles embedded in videos played on the stage not included in the transcript (they have to be in order to make it possible to translate them into other languages)
- Subtitles stay on the screen for less than 1 second or over 7 seconds; sound representation (like (Applause) displays for over 3 seconds
Check the title and description
Make sure that the title and description were actually translated and that the speaker's name isn't missing. When approving TEDxTalks, make sure the title structure is correct and that the description only contains a brief description of the talk (learn more here). In TED-Ed videos, make sure that the information about the author of the lesson and the animation has been translated.
How to select tasks for approval
Mix old tasks and new tasks
If there is a long queue of approval tasks waiting, try to mix working on some of the oldest tasks and some of the ones done recently. If you only focus on the tasks waiting the longest, new volunteers won’t get the feedback necessary not to make some mistakes in their future work. At the same time, if you only focus on the newest tasks, volunteers who have been waiting for their work to see the light of day may lose the motivation necessary to keep working on new tasks, and they may be less likely to go back and implement your suggestions if a long time has passed since they last worked on the given task.
Help people learn from your comments
Before you start, always look at the revision history and find out whose work you are approving. If you have sent back one reviewer's work several times before, and you saw them gradually improve based on your comments and actually implement your feedback, you may want to spend less time on making corrections on your own and instead send the work back with instructions. This may seem counter-intuitive, but more advanced reviewers will often enjoy improving their work armed with the knowledge gained from LCs' feedback – they can fix stuff that they simply didn't originally know was an issue. This approach can also give you more time to focus on guiding beginners by correcting more of their work.
If you can tell somebody is a beginner (e.g. it was their first review), consider making more changes than usual before sending the task back, or even fixing the mistakes on your own to provide a good model, while adding comments explaining what you did and why, and how to avoid similar mistakes in the future. The first-timer may be confused about your comments and not know how to make the necessary changes, so your model examples will help with that. Make sure to instruct the reviewer how to compare your revision with their final work.
We have a variety of general resources on how to prepare subtitles, that you can share with the translators to help them improve their work.
- How to tackle a translation
- How to tackle a transcript
- How to tackle a review
- How to break lines
- Sound Subtitling Guidelines
Some languages have their own translated guides. You can write your own guides in your language, and share on OTPedia and your language group.