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Rate too low?
Thread poster: Lena Eddebrant

Lena Eddebrant
Local time: 22:35
Mar 22, 2007

I have been offered a freelance job for a well-known UK based company, and would like to know if the rate I was offered is considered normal.

The rate was £2 for subsequent translation, subtitling. This would be the equivalent of 4 USD in my currency (SEK). My language pair is English > Swedish, and I have two years experience from subtitling.


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Rolf Klischewski, M.A.  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:35
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
$4 are quite common Mar 22, 2007

I know a large agency paying that rate for ENG-GER, too.

The question is (as always): Can you make a living on such a rate?

Cheers,

Rolf (C:


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Agnieszka Hayward
Poland
Local time: 22:35
German to Polish
+ ...
Please specify Mar 22, 2007

Lena Eddebrant wrote:

The rate was £2 for subsequent translation, subtitling.


Is this per minute of the film or per subtitle?

Regards,
Agnieszka


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Lena Eddebrant
Local time: 22:35
TOPIC STARTER
Per minute Mar 22, 2007

Sorry, I forgot to write that out. The rate is £2 per minute for subsequent translation.

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Agnieszka Hayward
Poland
Local time: 22:35
German to Polish
+ ...
Decent rate, then Mar 22, 2007

Lena Eddebrant wrote:

Sorry, I forgot to write that out. The rate is £2 per minute for subsequent translation.


£2 per minute sounds fine. Quite fine

May, of course, depend on the current exchange rate.

[Edited at 2007-03-22 20:17]


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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:35
English to Russian
+ ...
By US standards.. Mar 22, 2007

.. the rate equivalent to $4.00 per minute of subtitling is too low: it should be at least $5.50 - $6.00. If you are also requested to write the timing on top of each subtitle (you translate subtitles in MS Word, correct?), the rate should be slightly higher for extra time required.

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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:35
English to German
+ ...
far too low Mar 23, 2007

4 years ago, when I gave up subtitle translation for feature films due to the downward pressure on prices, the going rate was still GBP 4 per minute - but there where already companies (a Swedish one in particular) that offered less, even in London. So where will prices be 4 years from now?

Good luck, Olaf
www.german-translation.org.uk


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:35
English to Italian
My rate... Mar 23, 2007

I used to get al least £4 (which is still low, as far as I'm concerned)... I think I know the agency you are talking about. They contacted me as well a few weeks ago and I kindly declined their offer... you can't survive on £2/min, especially in Sweden.

Giovanni


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Lena Eddebrant
Local time: 22:35
TOPIC STARTER
Not my only client Mar 23, 2007

I can see that there are as many opinions to whether this rate is too low or not, as there are translators.

Anyhow, this won´t be my only client (plus I have a partner that works full-time), so there won´t be any trouble surviving, hehe. My other client only pays 0,30 USD per subtitle, so the rate isn´t that much different.

Thank you for your answers!


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Sylvano
Local time: 22:35
English to French
Just think about it Mar 23, 2007

Lena Eddebrant wrote:
The rate is £2 per minute for subsequent translation.


This is 3 euros per minute. Let's say you're doing a 90 minute movie, you'll earn 270 euros (gross). Now just ask yourself how many movies you'll have to do to in a month to make a decent living where you live (provided you're getting a new movie each time you've finished one).
Hope you work quickly.


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Lena Eddebrant
Local time: 22:35
TOPIC STARTER
Been doing fine so far Mar 24, 2007

I have been working with subtitling (subsequent translation) for two years and have always made between 1 500-2 500 dollars a month, and that is not even full-time for me. Considering my speed (100 subtitles/hour) that makes an hourly rate of about 30 dollars, which is A LOT in Sweden. And that is for the client I mentioned earlier which pays 4,5 USD/minute or 0,30 USD/subtitle.

Maybe you all have higher living costs than me, but I think that is an okay salary.

Anyway, I was just curious if this was a normal rate and I can see the answers go both ways.


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Sylvano
Local time: 22:35
English to French
I'm quite impressed... Mar 24, 2007

Lena Eddebrant wrote:

I have been working with subtitling (subsequent translation) for two years and have always made between 1 500-2 500 dollars a month, and that is not even full-time for me. Considering my speed (100 subtitles/hour) that makes an hourly rate of about 30 dollars


So you might be able to do a not-too-wordy film... in a day ?


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Lena Eddebrant
Local time: 22:35
TOPIC STARTER
About 15 hours Mar 24, 2007

I usually need about 15 hours for a normal film. As a normal film I mean one with 1500 subtitles, which is quite common. An episode of a tv-series (700-800 subtitles) I can do in one day if I work 8 hours, but I usually get more time than that to do it.

I have never compared myself to anyone else, so I have no idea if that is considered fast or not.


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Sylvano
Local time: 22:35
English to French
If I work as fast as you do, I die Mar 24, 2007

My tip : come and work in France. You'd get 3 or 4 times that rate. The way you work, you'd become a millionaire.

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Mara Campbell
Argentina
Local time: 17:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
You should all feel soooo lucky!!! Mar 24, 2007

Hi! I live in Argentina and translate from English (US, UK, AU, whatever!) into Latin American Spanish. I guess this is quite a common language combination, but the comparison still works.

I have customers both in the US and in the UK.
The highest rate US customers pay me is 1.50 US dollars per minute of film, but read this... including spoptting and timing, and they generally do not provide a script! This means that I work on a subtitling software (provided by the client, fortunatelly!) and create the subs from scratch after translating by ear! I have 5 years experience and am quite fast working, so it takes me around 15/18 hours to subtitle and translate a whole 90-minute movie.
The UK client I work for provides a Word file with the English subtitles already typed in and I just have to watch the movie and translate the subs into the Word document. They pay 2 US dollars per minute.

In both cases, the average turn-around time I am given is two working days.

Of course, the exchange rate allows me to make a very decent living. On a busy month (and by busy I mean working around 10 hours a day a week every other week) I can make over 2000 US dollars, which is three times as much converted into Argentine Pesos, which makes a VERY good living. But since the freelance world is so unpredictable, this only happens once every three-four months. My average income is half that amount.

So I guess I will have to move to Europe and find some new clients there!!!

Warm regards to all of you!! Keep up the good subtitling. Remember viewers rely on our translation skills and we provide them with a peek into a different culture.
Mara


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