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prices subtitling
Thread poster: inger nordhagen
inger nordhagen
Local time: 14:32
English to Norwegian
Jan 20, 2007

dear linguists,
I have been offered a position as a subtitler from english to norwegian. I have been doing some research online about average prices for subtitling. But that has left me very confused, I don't find a lot of information about it. Does anybody have any input on this? What should I charge per programme minute?


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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:32
English to Russian
+ ...
The minimum should be.. Jan 20, 2007

..$5.50 - $6.00 per minute.

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ahmadwadan.com  Identity Verified
Kuwait
Local time: 01:32
English to Arabic
+ ...
$20.00 - $30.00 per minute Jan 21, 2007

$20.00 - $30.00 per minute

Kind regards

Ahmed Wadan

English-Arabic Financial Translator
http://wadan.arablish.com


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:32
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Very time-consuming Jan 21, 2007

Lately I visited a colleague who is subtitling. It it is much more time-consuming than I thought.
You have to learn how to apply the special subtitling software. She was paid a fixed amount per film.
The time factor is more important here than the amount of text.
Ahmed and Sokolniki:
how much time do you need per minute?
Regards
Steffi


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ahmadwadan.com  Identity Verified
Kuwait
Local time: 01:32
English to Arabic
+ ...
1 min may consume 30 min subtitling Jan 22, 2007

Tuliparola wrote:

Ahmed and Sokolniki:
how much time do you need per minute?
Regards
Steffi


1 min may consume 30 min subtitling...pretty much time.
Regards


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Not so simple Jan 26, 2007

First of all, I assume it is not a "position" you were offered, in other words not an inhouse salaried job, but steady flow of work, as a freelancer.

Second, subtitling can be divided according to what type of material they are talking about, and for what purpose, and how much technical input is required. Subject to these factors, the prices are all different.

Examples:
Types and purpose: DVD, video, broadcast, corporate, cinema. (Within these documentary, non-documentary).

Technical aspect:
first language, subsequent language, timecueing included/not included.

Again, I assume: bog-standard feature or documentary film for DVD, second language and no timecueing (you get the English file already timecued) so you only have to translate each subtitle in the appropriate manner, keeping the length and speed of the subtitle in mind, the minimum the agencies offer is around $5.50-6.00/minute, as Sokolniki said.

The technical side of this is minimal, you can do it in word if you have to - as long as you keep to the rules, - and they can convert it.

If you are a good typist, know American slang well, and get the hang of it, and the film is not too verbose, you can achieve 10 minutes of film subtitle translation in an hour.
As a beginner, you may only manage 3-5 min.

On the long run, some of the films are a real pain, while some are a breeze and they even each other out, but you would have to translate quite a few before you'll feel happy about your output/income.


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Monica Colangelo  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 19:32
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ahmad: US$20-30/min? Jan 31, 2007

Do you really know someone who gets that much?

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Sylvano
Local time: 23:32
English to French
I regularly do Feb 2, 2007

I do get 20-25 USD (i.e. 15-20 €) per minute, subtitling for TV, on a regular basis.
THAT is a normal rate (at least, still is in France).


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What exactly do you do for that? Feb 2, 2007

Sylvano wrote:

I do get 20-25 USD (i.e. 15-20 €) per minute, subtitling for TV, on a regular basis.
THAT is a normal rate (at least, still is in France).


In other words, is it only translation of fiction, based on timed, transcribed subtitles? That's the job when we talk about minimal price.

Or you got the original, which could be a documentary, and you have to listen, separate the text into manageable subtitles, translate them, and maybe add the timing as well, as you created the subtitles anyway?

[Edited at 2007-02-02 19:45]


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Sylvano
Local time: 23:32
English to French
Full job Feb 2, 2007

juvera wrote:
In other words, is it only translation of fiction, based on timed, transcribed subtitles? That's the job when we talk about minimal price.

Or you got the original, which could be a documentary, and you have to listen, separate the text into manageable subtitles, translate them, and maybe add the timing as well, as you created the subtitles anyway?



I do cueing, translating and typing (mostly fiction) with a professional software. I do everything from scratch (from the original program), if you prefer.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
That's what I thought Feb 2, 2007

Sylvano wrote:
I do cueing, translating and typing (mostly fiction) with a professional software.
I do everything from scratch (from the original program), if you prefer.


All these functions add up. Good for you.


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Sylvano
Local time: 23:32
English to French
Still... Feb 3, 2007

juvera wrote:
All these functions add up. Good for you.


Maybe, but 5-6 USD per minute for doing only the translating part from a cued file is still very low. Usually, cueing would only be worth 1/4 or 1/3 of the final rate...


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:32
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
The market changed Feb 6, 2007

Subtitling in all its form used to be more lucrative, but it changed, at least in Europe. The US subtitling agencies got the upper hand, recruited green translators and considerably reduced the prices for the mass market.

With these great improvements the quality plummeted to hitherto unknown depth, but hey! who cares! It is sad, but there is nothing we can do about it. If anybody has some idea, how to change this situation, they are welcome.

I translated subtitles for 5-6 years. A lot. Then the work changed to mainly editing. I spent virtually more time editing other people's translations than I would have spent translating it myself.

I decided to concentrate on other type of work. I enjoyed working on films and documentaries, but not for peanuts. I am happy to say that now I spend less time working, (no more sleepless nights to finish a film for the morning deadline) and earn much more.

[Edited at 2007-02-06 12:41]

[Edited at 2007-02-06 12:42]


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:32
French to Spanish
+ ...
As juvera says... Feb 8, 2007

...not so simple, and I think that your first question should be: How to do it?
I hardly imagine myself quoting for a job if I have no idea about how to do it.
And to Sylvano: excellent for you!


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Andrea P
English to Italian
Falling rates & quality Feb 8, 2007

juvera wrote:

Subtitling in all its form used to be more lucrative, but it changed, at least in Europe. The US subtitling agencies got the upper hand, recruited green translators and considerably reduced the prices for the mass market.

With these great improvements the quality plummeted to hitherto unknown depth, but hey! who cares! It is sad, but there is nothing we can do about it. If anybody has some idea, how to change this situation, they are welcome.

I translated subtitles for 5-6 years. A lot. Then the work changed to mainly editing. I spent virtually more time editing other people's translations than I would have spent translating it myself.

I decided to concentrate on other type of work. I enjoyed working on films and documentaries, but not for peanuts. I am happy to say that now I spend less time working, (no more sleepless nights to finish a film for the morning deadline) and earn much more.

[Edited at 2007-02-06 12:41]

[Edited at 2007-02-06 12:42]


Hi Juvera

I am a "green" Italian subtitler, but not of the type described in your previous message. I take pride in the quality of my work, even if this means averaging a low income/working time ratio, i.e. profit. I am not saying this because I took offence to your observation, but just to confirm it. In my short career I have also been asked to proof translations of subtitles made by people that did not even know how to write in their native language, never mind translating into it from English.

I normally freelance for a UK agency that still pays more than the 5-6 USD per min. -though rates depend on language combination. However, they still pay too little, and have greatly reduced the rates over the past few years. So my veteran colleagues tell me. And the trend does not seem to be over. On the contrary.

To come to the point, I know of an newly born website run by subtitlers that are trying to campaign for a reversal of trend when it comes to subtitling quality -and rates that go with it. In fact, you might already know it, but if not you may want to check it out: http://www.subtitlers.org.uk/
Who knows? Maybe one day... Or maybe I am just still green enough to be naive!

If you don't mind me asking, how did you go about changing course, working less and earning more. I'd love to follow in your footsteps.


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