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Subtitling Fees
Thread poster: Lilyth
Lilyth
Italy
Local time: 23:42
English to Italian
Feb 21, 2006

Hi everybody,
I've sent this message in the Italian forum but had no answer, so I hope some of you international collegues can help.
I've been offered a translation job to subtitle a 44 min-tv series, where they offer a mere $3.50 p/spoken minute.
I've made a couple of calculations and that turns out to be roughly 0.2 cents per word! And that's not even Eurocents!
Is this normal? I don't think I have ever worked at these rates even when I was a student!
Can anybody help?


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:42
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Can any kind person reply to Lilyth in private? Feb 21, 2006

As usual, it is preferrable to avoid discussing actual rates in publicly for the reasons I have already described.
Thanks in advance
Angela
Moderator

Lilyth wrote:

Hi everybody,
I've sent this message in the Italian forum but had no answer, so I hope some of you international collegues can help.
I've been offered a translation job to subtitle a 44 min-tv series, where they offer a mere $3.50 p/spoken minute.
I've made a couple of calculations and that turns out to be roughly 0.2 cents per word! And that's not even Eurocents!
Is this normal? I don't think I have ever worked at these rates even when I was a student!
Can anybody help?


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Manuela Brehm
Local time: 22:42
German to Portuguese
+ ...
... Feb 21, 2006

Lilyth wrote:

Hi everybody,
I've sent this message in the Italian forum but had no answer, so I hope some of you international collegues can help.
I've been offered a translation job to subtitle a 44 min-tv series, where they offer a mere $3.50 p/spoken minute.
I've made a couple of calculations and that turns out to be roughly 0.2 cents per word! And that's not even Eurocents!
Is this normal? I don't think I have ever worked at these rates even when I was a student!
Can anybody help?

Hi,
unfortunately translation for subtitling is terrible underpaid and 3.50 is quite a good offer.
Rgds
Manuela


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Sandrinha  Identity Verified

Local time: 22:42
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Hi Feb 21, 2006

I'm not a english translater but I have a little experience in subtitles translation. What I can say is the agency use to pay by 15mn and not by 1mn. Regarding the price the agency wich who I use to work paid me, it's a good price but I also live in Portugal, and the prices here are very low.

Good luck


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Lilyth
Italy
Local time: 23:42
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Feb 21, 2006

Thank you both. This all so sad I really wanted to start doing this but it doesn't seem worth my while.
But before I close this chapter for good, I'm talking gross!
Is this still good, yeah?


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Asycz
Germany
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Feb 21, 2006

Lilyth wrote:

Hi everybody,
I've sent this message in the Italian forum but had no answer, so I hope some of you international collegues can help.
I've been offered a translation job to subtitle a 44 min-tv series, where they offer a mere $3.50 p/spoken minute.
I've made a couple of calculations and that turns out to be roughly 0.2 cents per word! And that's not even Eurocents!
Is this normal? I don't think I have ever worked at these rates even when I was a student!
Can anybody help?


I work in subtitling, and at leat in argentina the fees are about $3 per minute. So I think it's a very good fee.

Hope it helps!


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:42
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Calculations Feb 24, 2006

Lilyth wrote:

I've been offered a translation job to subtitle a 44 min-tv series, where they offer a mere $3.50 p/spoken minute.
I've made a couple of calculations and that turns out to be roughly 0.2 cents per word!


Sorry for not being able to comment earlier.

Your information doesn't say, if it is a soap or documentary, is the translation to be done based on the transcript or you have to translate from listening to it? Is it time-coded or you have to do it, or will it be done afterwards?

What do you mean by spoken minute? Are they speaking non-stop, or what? This is the most puzzling aspect of your question. I have never seen subtitling defined by "spoken minutes". Minutes usually mean the lenght of the program.

A subtitle may only consist of a couple of words, and minutes may go by when nobody speaks.
Conversely they may suffer from the proverbial verbal diarrhoea. So I wonder, how did you do your calculations.

Is that one episode of the TV series, or what does 44 minutes represent? Is it supplied for you on video or else?

These are all factors in determining the appropriate rate for subtitling.

On the positive note, it can be very interesting, and if you are a good typist, and very fluent in everyday conversational language, perhaps slang as well, it can be the fastest job you have ever done.


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Lilyth
Italy
Local time: 23:42
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Juvera but... Feb 24, 2006

Your information doesn't say, if it is a soap or documentary, is the translation to be done based on the transcript or you have to translate from listening to it? Is it time-coded or you have to do it, or will it be done afterwards?

It' neither a soap nor a documentary but a TV series. It's time-coded and I'm provided with the English subtitles, which I have to overwrite.

What do you mean by spoken minute? Are they speaking non-stop, or what? This is the most puzzling aspect of your question. I have never seen subtitling defined by "spoken minutes". Minutes usually mean the lenght of the program.

'Spoken minute' is the expression used by the company offering the job. In fact the episode consists of 44 minutes in total.

A subtitle may only consist of a couple of words, and minutes may go by when nobody speaks.
Conversely they may suffer from the proverbial verbal diarrhoea. So I wonder, how did you do your calculations.

From what I could see none of the characters was suffering from 'verbal diarrhoea', as you call it, but they certainly weren't silent for minutes.

Is that one episode of the TV series, or what does 44 minutes represent? Is it supplied for you on video or else?

The actual legth of the episode is 44 minutes. The company will provide its own software so I can overwrite subtitles onto time-coded frames.

These are all factors in determining the appropriate rate for subtitling.

On the positive note, it can be very interesting, and if you are a good typist, and very fluent in everyday conversational language, perhaps slang as well, it can be the fastest job you have ever done. [/quote]

I am certain it is a very interesting job and that is why I am considering it. Although I am not too sure it is as easy and as fast as you describe it. I am a great fan of films and animations and I can assure you that there are an awful lot of jobs very badly done around. A couple of Spike Lee's movies for example come to mind...
From what I gather from previous posts, the fare offered is to be generally considered very good. Interesting sure, but if that's the case, certainly one of the worst paid jobs I've ever come across.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:42
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Thanks for answering... Feb 26, 2006

So the company is giving you the software, and ready made subtitles to translate. That is the most basic "subtitling", translating the already given subtitles, while watching and listening to the program.

if it is a "regular" TV drama, the chances are, that the wordcount won't be more than 3500. That gives you 0.44, in my calculations. Not great, but you are not likely to get sentences running into 30-40 words. That's what makes it fast and easy, and the fact that it is already separated into subtitles, the text shortened for the audience's (and your) convenience.

Subtitling companies often have fixed prices for certain type of work, or for something like a TV series, and they are not likely to change it. Some of them even thinks that anyone who translates, can do it. I think the skill needed is being really at home in both spoken languages, and being meticulous. These translations are the most widely read of all, really public, if you like. More so than a newspaper, because they are "hard copy", they can be repeated on TV or put on video or DVD, and kept for years.

The 44 minutes are the length of the program. That's what people tend to refer to, not "spoken" minutes, but if this company calls the like that, so be it.

Talking about bad translations, don't I know it! I have been proofreading hundreds. But that is another subject. Can be very funny too, but sometimes very frustrating.

If you like films, TV dramas, go for it. It may be worth trying it out, and see.


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Lilyth
Italy
Local time: 23:42
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Feb 28, 2006

I agree hundred percent on everything including subtitling affecting everyday language, above all when it comes to tv series and animations directed towards a very young and therefore 'linguistically vulnerable' target audience.
As for the calculation, didn't mean to sound arrogant or anything. I got it from somebody else's indications on another forum, so I assumed it was correct. It said 1 minute an average of 17 subtitles, 1 subtitle between 1 to 20 words. Therefore...
By the way, films, animations, tv dramas, comics and the like are my daily staple as it is. Among others, I have a five year experience with videogames and entering this field would be fantastic but only if it's worth my while. Otherwise, I'll prefer to keep it as a passion and let somebody else do the job. Rents don't pay themselves!
Thanks again


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