I reflect on the time back in the late naughts and watching Korean televisions shows on Youtube. Unlike today’s treasure trove of shows available - many from the producers themselves and already subtitled - back then one literally had to wait many weeks for a skunkworks subbing team to put in english subtitles and upload before consumption. Those crackpot subbing teams, usually consisting of strangers - bilingual of course - having met online but with a common passion for a particular Korea show, are the true MVPs of my early foray into watching Korean language programming, and on a macro level spreading the joy of Korean variety shows to an English-speaking audience.
Heavens know none of them will read this, but belated and heart-felt shoutout to the Ramen Soup Subs group for the painstaking work in putting English to the Korean on a show called Family Outing.
Back then, you could nary find any of the Kpop music shows on Youtube, and the ones that were available were generously and illegally uploaded by intrepid folks over in Korea possessing their equivalent of a TIVO recorder. These days, the television channels themselves have official presence on Youtube, and music shows like KBS Music Bank are uploaded within hours of official airing. Such sweet nectar was so beyond comprehension to international Kpop fans that started in the later 2000s. You kids these days truly have it spoiled.
These days there aren’t so much subbing teams dedicated to a specific show but rather whole entire websites dedicated to putting subtitles to Korean television shows. There’s so many more avenues to get your content if you’re starting today. Obviously, these organizations thrive because of advertising revenue, while in sharp contrast, the subbing teams of years past was pure and unfiltered altruism. The waiting for subtitles may be painful, but I could definitely feel and see the love.