transcribing rate with time code
Thread poster: ewillard
Indonesian to English
+ ...
Feb 9, 2009

I am wondering what is the going rate now for transcribing a video clip and then translating it with time code (meaning we have to go back to the video to insert the time code after we transcribe/translate it. Hence - more time needed).

I do not charge by the minute (length of the video) but by the hour I spend transcribing. The person argue that for the length of video that I have (15 minutes of bad recording), I should only charge $50 flat rate for transcribing it which I think it is very low considering the time I spent on it.

Please enlighten me.


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:00
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
charge by hour Feb 9, 2009

You never know how much time it takes... Other options: agree to sacrifice say a day or half a day and charge accordingly to be happy.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It's a matter of risk Feb 9, 2009

If you charge per minute of playing time, the risk is yours; if you charge per hour of your work, the risk is the client's.

I'll illustrate that. My average audio/video transcribing/translating ratio is 6:1. It means that it takes me 6 minutes to do whatever is required with one minute of playing time. Some colleagues have told me their averages are 5:1, 12:1, 10:1, that's an individual productivity index.

Using the per minute of playing time, the client will know beforehand how much they will spend. Of course, I take all the risk in bad sound quality, peculiar/inextricable accents, talking speed (e.g. Tom Peters vs. Peter Drucker), noise etc. Therefore I take all prophylactic action to curtail these. Before working with the soundtrack, I work on it with Acoustica (there are several other software options) to improve the sound quality as much as possible, to speed up my work. I remove unwanted noise (e.g. hum, hiss), and normalize the volume. If the client has hired me to go the whole nine yards, i.e. to burn the subs, I replace the original soundtrack with "mine" as a courtesy. Though it's just a matter of one click on a different option, the results are impressive.

I don't like to charge per hour of my work. This implies a commitment to high speed, otherwise I'll have to explain to the client in detail why the original recording was bad, and it took me longer to cut through the noise or to understand what was said. They will be taking a lot of risk, as paying a 6:1 translator twice as much as a 12:1 translator will amount to the same.

Regarding time-code, my Brazilian rates will be meaningless to you, so I'll use proportions. I charge 1/3 of my per-minute translation rate for spotting (time-coding) a translation I did myself, or that was done by by a very small number of fellow translators whose work I consider just as good. However if I'm expected to time-spot a translation by someone unknown, I charge at least 2/3 of my per-minute translation rate. You wouldn't believe the kind of junk I've received now and then.


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