What I really appreciate about this interview is the fact that you've asked questions that get after so many different angles of this topic, making it an interesting artifact for researchers in multiple disciplines and sub-disciplines. As a researcher in technical communication, I find it fascinating to learn more about the work patterns of this unique group and how they employ technical communication documents, like manuals, to maintain their community. It sheds like on writing practices in really interesting ways.
Really interesting to see Viki from the perspective of a Segmenter. It had me thinking that this is such a unique and fascinating form of composing/writing, one truly worth the attention of rhetoric, composition, and communication scholarship. Again, so many angles to unpack with this work, and so few seem to know about it.
As you stated in an earlier reply, there is to much to look at with this site, and I think your original post asks a poignant first question: what is it, exactly? "Viki unsettles neat divisions." I think it's important to examine how it expands or problematizes our definitions for similar phenomena before digging into its many other facets, as the question of defining it will influence our understanding of how it works in other regards.
Thank you for giving us some background information in Viki, segmenting, and subtitling. It sounds like a great practice to know to get to know others within the community, to engage in new languages and media is as widely acknowledged by the general public. Dr. Dwyer, I was also interested in how different locations and time zones determined how the fansubbing was done and how they were all able to work together when needed. I can imagine there are those that are well versed within segmenting and fansubbing compared to others and I was thinking about how that worked.
I've never heard of Viki before this and that says much to how the fansubbing community is growing as friends that I have asked have heard all about it before. The fact that they're so well organized and put so much time and commitment to it certainly shows how dedicated people can be. Viki being a platform to continue to bring people together is definitely something I'd like to look into more.
Thanks for this fascinating insight into the inner workings of Viki and the crucial role played by segmenters! Can't wait to hear more.
This interview is really interesting for the way that it highlights the fairly chaotic, grassroots vibe that persists on Viki despite its professionalisation. The Seg101 training program, for instance, is something that volunteers have initiated and built. Also, this segmenter comments on the fact that directions, guidance and advice are only given if people seek it out and that otherwise people can segment however they like.
I'm also interested in the way that geography, location and time zones play such a critical role in the fansubbing processes, despite the supposedly 'deterritorialised' nature of online spaces. Food for thought…
Yes, there is so much to look at. Its great to read Jamie's interview with a Viki segmenter and to get the inside perspective. Reading through chat forums, it seems there are quite a few divergent attitudes amongst the Viki community about the ethics of the venture. Fascinating reading…. Also, the cultural dynamics (East-West, Pan-Asian etc…) provide a really fruitful area for future work. I have touched upon these issues in my research ("Fansub Dreaming on Viki" and "Multilingual Publics"), but much more needs to be done.
Well, the work of the subtitlers on Viki is certainly not paid!
Its business model is specifically based around volunteer contributions. I guess issues of copyright are the pay off. All Viki fansubs are legal, so fans can keep doing what they love to do without contravening copyright laws. There have been grumblings in the Viki community about whether or not their business model exploitats of fan labour, and after it was sold to Rakuten in 2013, some fansubbers left at that point.
According to Hovaghimiam, the idea of paying senior volunteers was mooted early on in the company, but was ultimately rejected by the fansubbers themselves. See article by Peter Kafka in All Things Digital.
I realize my subject line may sound like a WoW reference, but I'm thinking more of how trades and crafts were once learned.
The apprenticing / training, and earning one's way into a group via some repeated basic skills until one can prove ones chops / earn a badge, is reminiscent of the old way of controlling a market or a skill — and an essentially communal / self-policed system at that.
That said, the segmenting seems to be almost reminiscent of the industrial revolution with the shift away from a worker having control from start to finish of a project to a repeated single action in a factory.
Looked at in labor terms this is an intriguing blend of pre-capital / early capital models and is especially fascinating as we apply it to Viki's fan-based for-profit model.
I am reminded very much of the communities that are devoted to manga scanlation — beyond the obvious comparison of fan translations — and the sheer organizational feats that go into the work that are really only possible because of the internet. Their for profit status combined with the offsetting (or is that a cynical take?) of what some fan communities might see as co-opted labor with the "good works" of their campaigns is especially interesting.