As a novice in the crowd-sourcing discussion, I find your focus on the collaborative training model that emerges particularly interesting. That individuals seem to be employing pedagogical best practices is especially notable, as you signal; it suggests individuals who are aware of effective training practices. While many of our students pass through our courses, encountering some of these practices, I think a smaller group is particularly aware of the specific strategies we use and why. It makes me wonder more about the folks engaging in these training and translation practices on Viki.
At the same time, I think it intersects with some questions I have in regards to the Smithsonian's recent efforts to enable volunteers to transcribe archival material or the UVA Book Traces project which encourages folks to archive traces of readers in old library books. This transcription/archiving/translation/training activities as leisure/pleasure is interesting to me; creating and preserving all forms of information that the individual decides is valuable is in a way transgressive, yet is being encouraged by large and established institutions. In other words, how many filters are already in place by the time that information has made it to the leisure knowledge maker?
An interesting point. Do we need to define Viki in order to engage with it? One problem in doing so is that Viki keeps evolving and changing, as do digital platforms, networking translation technologies and eCommerce parameters. Viki actually started as a not-for-profit class project… It has already changed so much, and it continues to do so – which is part of its strength. It can certainly be considered a form of crowdsourcing but it is also clear that contributors still identify as fans and that fandom remains central to the project as a whole. Thanks for your feedback.
Yes, lots of cross-over with scanlation, which is something that Minako O'Hagan (2008) has looked at in the past. The issue of exploitation is definitely one to probe further. It would be interesting to know the impact of Viki's socially conscious campaigns and how they have been received broadly in the community. How are they being talked about by other stakeholders?
Yes, there are a lot of interesting dimensions to the Viki project and the way it blends professional/commercial with amateur/community. Certain things can get compromised in this mix yet many exciting opportunities also arise. Viki fansubs are less experimental than some other types of fansubbing, yet the community is really open and diverse, as are the translation flows. And, I agree, there is great potential to incorporate Viki user-friendly interfaces in the classroom!
Yes, its really interesting to hear about how these collaborative online communities actually work in practice. Mizuko Ito (2012) has written on this subject in relation to anime fansubbing and there has been quite a bit published on the working methods of Italian and Brazilian fansubbing groups also.
Yes, fascinating. I'd be interested to hear about any other research into this area….
Thanks once again. The issue of licensing is really interesting, highlighting when geoblocking goes wrong – hindering the work of legal, volunteer translators. Also fascinating to hear how this segmenter appreciates the user-friendly nature of Viki's translating tools. Its something that seems really key to Viki's success and reach. Its such an open community.
The more I look at online communities, the less deterritorialized they seem.
In my head I keep associating this kind of work with my own experiences with academia. But you're right, it is very much a pre-capital guild system (just like academia).
In general, these models, often built on gifting of time and knowledge seem to work rather well in side of for-profit models. I think the big thing is that they mostly work in the same spaces, but with different currencies.
Again, Jamie, thank you for the interview on this subject. It was something I wasn't quite aware of even though I did question from time to time, who were the ones that did the fansubbing and how did they go about it. Looking at it from a research perspective brings in a lot of different ways that fansubbing and segmenting can be utilized as a skill or a hobby as well as how it brings communities together. What is even more interesting is the aspect of volunteering as many are giving up their time to do this for others. Thank you for sharing.