A fan sub`s production usually begins with receiving the unsubtitled source video, called „raw“ and usually comes from DVDs, VHS tapes, TV shows, peer-to-peer networks, and directly from Japanese contacts. Then, a translator watches the video and creates a time-stamped text file of the script with all the relevant notes.  The same series or episode can be subtitled by several groups with independent translations of varying quality. Fansub groups sometimes translate other previously translated fansubs, which are more prone to more errors.  The translated text is provided with start and end times in a process called timing to ensure that subtitles are displayed when dialogue is spoken and disappear with silence.  An editor and a translation reviewer read the script to ensure that English is natural and consistent while retaining the original meaning. A composer then appears for dialogues, characters, translator`s notes, etc. Then, the groups perform a quality check to identify final errors.  Hatcher states that copyright law does not tolerate fansubs. The Berne Convention, an international copyright treaty, stipulates that its signatories – including Japan – grant authors the exclusive right to translate.
Hatcher explains that, given the nature of Japanese copyright laws, fansubs could be „potentially“ legal in Japan, even if the target audience for fansubs is the non-Japanese market. Hatcher notes, however, that U.S. copyright law—the frame of reference for most online discussions about the legality of fansubs—interprets translations as derivative, and that fansubs violate the author`s right to create derivative works and reproduce them by copying the original source material.  A fansub is a subtitled version of an anime program produced by a fan. Almost all fansubs are produced by anime fans for fans and distributed for free (or at most against reimbursement of incidental costs such as the blank bracelet for the respective copy, shipping costs, etc.). The next step was to produce one or more masters, a high-quality copy of the finished fansub from which many sales copies could be made. The fan subber played the raw video via a computer equipped with a genlock to generate the subtitles and then place them on the raw signal. The most commonly used hardware was an Amiga computer, as most professional genlocks were prohibitively expensive. The final result of the arrangement was then recorded. The master was mostly recorded on S-VHS tape to maximize quality, although some fansubbers used VHS or the cheaper beta. Once ready, the original copy was sent to a distributor.
 In order to differentiate themselves, the remaining fansub groups took a path that could almost be described as „artisanal“. Their relative slowness is a virtue. Some have even criticized the new culture of instant gratification as detrimental to the anime viewing experience. An existing subber fan named Akatsukin found a fansubbing niche with a group called Mezashite. Between that and the fact that there will always be new shows that are not internationally licensed, subber fans will not only survive, but thrive and become more relevant in the coming years as they move towards legal work with streaming companies. This is even more true for non-English-speaking countries, as anime is gaining exponential popularity worldwide. In Singapore, anime distributor Odex has been actively tracking and disseminating legal threats against Internet users in Singapore since 2007. These users would have downloaded fansubbed anime via the BitTorrent protocol. Court orders to ISPs to disclose subscribers` personal information were decided in favor of Odex, leading several downloaders to receive letters of legal threats from Odex and subsequently seek out-of-court settlements for at least S$3,000 (US$2,000) per person. the youngest being only 9 years old.   These actions were considered controversial by the local anime community and provoked criticism from the company as they are considered clumsy by fans.  Encoders then take the script file and create a single captioned video file, often targeting a target file size or video quality.
„Hard“ subtitles or hard subtitles are encoded in the footage and are therefore difficult to remove from the video without sacrificing video quality. „Soft“ subtitles are subtitles that are applied at playback time from a subtitle data file and mixed directly into the video file (.mkv, .ogm, etc.) or into a separate file (.ssa, .srt, etc.). Sub software can also be rendered at higher resolutions, which can make it easier to play when the viewer scales the file, but is also more difficult to incorporate into the video (e.g. rotated text / moving text). Hard subs have traditionally been more popular than softsubs, due to lack of player support and plagiarism issues, but most fansub groups now release a soft-sub version of their versions. [ref. Intellectual property attorney Jordan Hatcher places fansubs on the border between the desirable culture of dojinshi fans and the „massive online file trade so vilified by the recording and film industries.“ Legal scholar Lawrence Lessig notes that culture revision – remix – is necessary for cultural growth, and cites doujinshi in Japan as an example of how allowing more remixes can contribute to a vibrant cultural industry.