Is this normal?!
Thread poster: elle_bi

elle_bi  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
English to Italian
+ ...
Feb 14, 2006

Hello all,
after reading many posts where experienced translators of subtitles explain how difficult getting started is, I really feel the need to ask if what is happening to me is normal (somehow I already know the answer, anyway...) and what I should do. I've always dreamed about becoming a subtitling translator, but I've had no experience in this field and this just happened by chance.
What I mean is that one day I decided to dedicate some time to self-promoting, so I sent my CV to various agencies found on a list. One of this answered immediately and sent me a test. When I sent the CV I didn't have the slightest idea it was a subtitling company, so I was surprised when I looked at the test. It was related to film translating/subtitling, and it was quite long too. Of course I enjoyed doing it, and sent it back by the agreed deadline. Three months later (a week ago) I got a response from this agency: I had passed their test and they offered me their rate. This has happened many times before, but as you may well know, somentimes these agencies never even got back to you. This was not the case. The following day they sent me some papers/agreements to sign, ftp to download videos and instructions for translators (I have never done such a job before and some terms were and still are even unknown to me). I was even asked if I intended to buy the company software, so I stated CLEARLY (not that my CV didn't) that I had no experience whatsoever in the field, and maybe it was a bit premature to talk about subtitling softwares.
Anyway, yesterday night I sent everything back to the agency, guessing they would help me getting started, with a tutorial or something, when this morning I found in my mailbox a request for an urgent job of more than 1200 subtitles (which I don't even know how many words this means) due tonight (it undoubtedly was a mass-mail).
Now, in a way I don't feel qualified enough, but on the other hand I'd like to start in this field, only I'm afraid I can't manage it this way... or can I? Any advice is welcome! Thanks Laura

[Edited at 2006-02-14 15:03]

[Edited at 2006-02-14 15:10]

[Edited at 2006-02-14 15:10]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I wouldn't bite off more than you can chew Feb 14, 2006

Dear Laura,

It sounds a great opportunity for you to be in with this agency, but I think you might spoil your chances if you bite off more than you can chew.

I don't know anything about subtitling, but 1200 words of subtitles sounds a lot to do in a short time. I can only state my experience in my own field, that it leads to closed doors rather than open ones if you accept something that you couldn't possibly do in the time at your present level of experience, or lack of it. I think it is definitely best to start gaining experience in this field with small jobs, and being given sufficient time to do the job well.

I wish you every success in your subtitling career!

Astrid


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
If it's too good to be true, it is... Feb 14, 2006

1200 words of subtitles sounds a lot to do in a short time.


.... and even more so, if it's 1200 subtitles (factor of 5?)

Vito

PS: advice for Laura - the worst we can do in such situations, is getting psyched/pressured (by deadlines for instance). And, if it smells of a mass mail - why not twiddle thumbs and do nothing for starters, to see what happens?

[Edited at 2006-02-14 15:29]


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Dominika Schoenborn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:53
English to Polish
+ ...
Not really Feb 14, 2006

Laura,
I am an experienced subtitler and I can definitely tell you that you will not manage to do 1200 during one day (I would need 2 days to do that many subtitles).
I also think that this agency should give you more time bearing in mind that you are new in subtitling. I started my subtitling work with 1400 subtitles project but I had a week to do it. After several projects, you will only know how many subtitles you are able to do per day (it also depends what kind of project it is). Contact the agency and tell them that 1200 subtitles during one day is too much to do even for an experienced subtitler and try to negotiate a longer deadline.
I wish you luck in your subtitling career.
Dominika


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elle_bi  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Feb 14, 2006

Thank you all for your kind replies. What I'm doing is what Vito suggests. I hope this company realizes I'm new in subtitling and stops sending me such rush jobs...




[Edited at 2006-02-14 15:43]

[Edited at 2006-02-14 15:43]


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:53
French to Spanish
+ ...
Same here. Feb 14, 2006

1200 subtitles are a huge amount of work! About 2 days work, all right, for experienced subtitling translators. I should advice not to accept the job.
Best of lucks.


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scooty
Local time: 14:53
English to French
tight deadlines Feb 14, 2006

As a subtitler, I often have rush jobs. For indication, a 90-minute movie is around 1500 subtitles (a movie in which they speak all the time, but not all movies are like this). So 1200 is a lot, especially if you begin, you would need at least 2 days to translate. And it's good to have another day to reproof.
When I feel I can't finish the work for the due date, I tell it to my contact who can always find another translator with whom you can share the work. It's best to warn them than to accept something you can't achieve. Good relationships with the person with whom you work are important.
Welcome in the subtitling world.


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elle_bi  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Now I've made myself an idea Feb 14, 2006

Thanks to your replies now at least I've got an idea of the length of a feature... and I know that it was wise not to answer the call! Thanks for your support and valuable pieces of advice and buon lavoro to you all!

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Anil Goyal  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 18:23
English to Hindi
+ ...
Multiply by 6 or 10.. Feb 15, 2006

elle_bi wrote:

I found in my mailbox a request for an urgent job of more than 1200 subtitles (which I don't even know how many words this means)


I have been doing subtitling for about 5 years. For a movie you can safely take an average of 6 words per subtitle, however, for a business promotion video (such as the address of CEO to employees) it could be 10 words per subtitle.

Hope this helps.


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elle_bi  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's a lot! Feb 15, 2006

Anil Goyal wrote:

I have been doing subtitling for about 5 years. For a movie you can safely take an average of 6 words per subtitle, however, for a business promotion video (such as the address of CEO to employees) it could be 10 words per subtitle.

Hope this helps.


Thanks Anil, I wish I had at least seen the file, but I will keep in mind your estimate for future offers.


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ItalianLinguist
Italy
Local time: 14:53
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Ermmm Feb 15, 2006

I think I work for the same agency and the email you received was a ccn message. Feel free to email me

Ciao


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telefpro
Local time: 18:23
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I hope'......... Feb 16, 2006

I only hope that they may you in time.
Cheers

Telefpro


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