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Subtitling a 100 minutes film - How many words?
Thread poster: xxxGAK
xxxGAK  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
English to German
+ ...
Jun 3, 2004

Hello,

I just received an inquiry from a subtitling agency asking me how fast I can translate the subtitles of a 100 minutes film. As I don't have any experience in this field I would like to know whether you can tell my how many words (approx.) a 100 minutes film contains.

Thanks a lot.

Greetings
Anett Kiefer


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Andrei Albu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 07:58
English to Romanian
+ ...
It can take you two-three days Jun 3, 2004

The number of words is not that relevant. The 100-minute movie can have somewhere between 10,000 - 12,000 words, depending on the type of movie. But you will probably use a subtitling software, you may or may not have a script and you may or you may not have a master file. All of these are factors that should be taken into account when calculating the translation speed. If you have no experience whatsoever in this field, it can take you at least three days, to be on the safe side.

Good luck!
Andrei


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Channa Montijn  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:58
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Spotting as well? Jun 3, 2004

Hi

Please take also in account the time needed for spotting the film (dividing into frames etc etc).
I do not know if this is the case here, but it will take some time as well (especially if you do not do that on a regular basis).
Best of luck!


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Montse Safont
Spain
Local time: 06:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Strange thing Jun 3, 2004

I just wanted to express my surprise at reading that you've been given a job for subtitling when you've never done so. I studied a phD in screen translation, in which we saw all the techniques and problems when subtitling (subtitling properly, fitting the frames,... is not an easy thing to do), we practised a lot, subtitling some full films even. Our professors told us companies where very strict at choosing translators for subtitling because of the complexity of the matter. In fact, I've never been given the chance to subtitle a film.
I can't understand how you've been given such a job if you've never done so nor have the basis for spliting frames, and so on.
Agencies are amazing.
But, also tell you I'm happy for you for having received this job. My surprise (annoyance in fact) is just for the agency.
If you need some help, just let me know.

Kind regards.


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xxxGAK  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I was talking about an inquiry and the translation of the text not the subtitling itself Jun 3, 2004

[quote]montse25 wrote:

I just wanted to express my surprise at reading that you've been given a job for subtitling when you've never done so. I studied a phD in screen translation, in which we saw all the techniques and problems when subtitling (subtitling properly, fitting the frames,... is not an easy thing to do), we practised a lot, subtitling some full films even. Our professors told us companies where very strict at choosing translators for subtitling because of the complexity of the matter. In fact, I've never been given the chance to subtitle a film.
I can't understand how you've been given such a job if you've never done so nor have the basis for spliting frames, and so on.
Agencies are amazing.

The agency didn't talk about splitting frames etc. I assume that I only have to translate the text for the film and that the agency will do everything else (technical matters etc.). But I will check that of course before taking on a job.

Greetings
Anett


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Montse Safont
Spain
Local time: 06:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Question of words Jun 3, 2004

The agency didn't talk about splitting frames etc. I assume that I only have to translate the text for the film and that the agency will do everything else (technical matters etc.). But I will check that of course before taking on a job.

Greetings
Anett[/quote]

Then, it's another matter, of course. But anyway, in the case you just have to make the translation, then, they just give you the amount of words, regardless of the minutes of the whole film.

And sorry, I understood you'd already been given the job.

Regards.


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IsaPro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:58
English to French
+ ...
It depends... Jun 3, 2004

It depends on how the agency wishes to pay you.
Sometimes they do pay according to the number of words but, mainly, they pay you according to a per minute rate. For instance, if they pay you 4 $/minute, you'll be paid 400$ for the whole job.
Take care, subtitles translation is very special. you'll have to respect a certain number of characters, a certain file format...
Good luck anyway


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bergazy  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 06:58
Croatian to Italian
+ ...
1500 characters=5 min Jun 3, 2004

This value is changeable but...

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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:58
French to Spanish
+ ...
My opinion. Jun 3, 2004

Dear Anett.
First of all, as IsaPro and montse25 said, if you have no experience in this field, don't do it. Many people think that translate a motion picture is easy because there is no "special language in it"... it is not, indeed.
If you insist, quetion:
Will you have the VHS? That's a very big question... if you won't, please, believe me, don't do the work. In this very particular case of translation, if you DON'T SEE what you are translating, don't do it because, simply, you'll do a lot of mistakes because you won't know in wich context words are said. "Shit!", for example, could be translated in many ways depending on the context.
IF you have the VHS, rates in Europe are between 2 and 4 dollars per minute, don't charge per word. If you get the job, your client will give you what we call a spotting list... beware, you wil have a certain number of characters you have to respect.
Best of luck, anyway.
Juan.


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Myung-hee Kim
Local time: 00:58
English to Korean
+ ...
ph.d. in subtitling Jun 4, 2004

I am curious to know where you received your Ph.D. in screen translation (name of institution). As to someone given a job with no experience in the subtitling field, I feel that any good translator can handle it (technical aspects you mentioned may be handled by post-production company). Think about the fact that every experienced translators, no matter what field, began somewhere without experience and then became experienced.

thanks for your posting.

kim


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:58
English to German
+ ...
Anything between 5000 and 15000 words Jun 4, 2004

It can take 2 days or a whole week, weekend included, if you are experienced. Charging by the minute is a gamble but most subtitling companies do it now because they are paid by the minute too. Translating subtitles is not that easy. If you're translating from English into German you will find that you have to edit your translation down, caption by caption, it's a lot of work. The company will provide the subtitling rules like the maximum number of charcters per title. Dialogues can be pretty tricky as well.
Rates paid vary a lot (and so does the quality of the results) but I wouldn't accept anything less than EUR 6 per minute. There is one company undercutting everybody else with branches popping up all over Europe, they pay a pittance and the quality is accordingly.


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:58
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
PhD in subtitling Jun 5, 2004

I would be glad to hear more about this programme - in what is it different from PhD in translation? Certainly none of us holds a "PhD in translation in MS Office" or "PhD in CAT", for example, yet we are perfectly able to learn and use those tools...

Puzzled

Magda


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Halo230395
Local time: 05:58
You can't do math!! Feb 23, 2010

Andrei Albu wrote:
The 100-minute movie can have somewhere between 10,000 - 12,000 words,

This shows that U have not done your math. For this to be true you would have to have 100 - 120 word per minute( 10,000 words divided by 100 minutes). You try speaking 1 word every second.


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altar
English
Nice one! Feb 24, 2010

I studied a phD in screen translation
Plus
we practised a lot, subtitling some full films even.

Love it...

At least with your Ph.D. you can earn more teaching than you would subtitling, just don't get ahead of yourself in saying that you need a subtitling diploma to do a subtitling job ...

As for the question, if you're only required to translate you should ask for the exact word count, since they probably have a transcript or whatever. It's obviously impossible to say "how fast" you can translate 100' without any further information on the type of material. You'd give a price per minute if you were doing the whole thing, not just the translating.
But that's just my opinion since I don't work for agencies.

[Edited at 2010-02-24 13:30 GMT]


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