Rate to translate subtitles
Thread poster: technospeak (X)

technospeak (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:00
English to French
Jul 5, 2010

Hi!

A prospect is suggesting the following rate to translate subtitles: USD 2.25 per minute runtime and proofs at USD 0.400 per minute runtime.

What does that mean? I am only used to rates per word or hour. Is it a fair price? What do you think?

Thank you.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 13:00
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Is there a script? Jul 5, 2010

You either translate from a script or from straight from the video. Latter takes of course much more time.
Without a script that rate you mentioned seems very low. One customer told me that a translator can do about 20 minutes daily without a script, so you´d earn only 50 bucks.

If there is a script you can easily determine the amount of text to be translated.

Regards
Heinrich


 

Sarah Hassan  Identity Verified
United Arab Emirates
Local time: 14:00
Arabic to English
+ ...
It is not easy Jul 5, 2010

Hi,

I have experienced translating Audio files before and it will be similar to your case if there is no script. Let me tell you it is a pretty tiring task, it needs a lot of concentration and you should expect doing around 2 minutes per hour especially when you first start with it. Video may be a bit easier than audio but still it is the same idea so be very careful with the rate.

Actually I have done a mistake and accepted USD 2.5 per minute because I thought it will be a lot easier but now I stopped it because it is time consuming and the rate was too low compared with the effort done.

Hope that helps

Sarah


 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 12:00
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Sounds very low Jul 5, 2010

I recently did some subtitling - easy content - with a script, and I could do around 40 minutes per day, so this could give you a rough idea of what rate you should go for.

 

Jana Kinská  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:00
English to Czech
+ ...
Depends... Is there a script? Subtitling SW? Jul 5, 2010

You need to find out how exactly the subtitles are to be translated. I have also experience in translating subtitles in a subtitling SW (Subtitle Workshop and one of my client's special SW), that is translating text straight in the video - box for box, you don't have to care about the time codes etc. - which is quite quick, actually. Translating from a script might be ok, too - after having watched the video/movie, but if this includes reducing the text to fit in the boxes and other tasks, be careful;) This is a hard question to answer, you need to know what exactly the job involves...

 

technospeak (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:00
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jul 5, 2010

Thank you all for your comments.

I have refused the job because I want to be reasonably payed to be able to produce quality work.

[Edited at 2010-07-05 14:59 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
One of us must be wrong Jul 5, 2010

I translate video for dubbing since 1987, and for subtitling since 2004. Please note that though the tools are the same, the translation technique is quite different for each. Due to my specialty - corporate video - 99% of the videos I translate don't include a script.

I never translate from the video itself, but from audio only. Later, I review my translation with the complete video. Anything too difficult at the first try is replaced with "????" and left to be sorted out in the review stage.

This enables me to keep a 6:1 average, i.e. it takes me 6 minutes to translate each minute of playing time. Yet my daily production limit is 50 minutes of playing time.

Translating video from a script alone is risky, as you don't get a chance to catch the rhythm of speech there. Chances are the results won't be any good.


 

Mirja Maletzki  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:00
Korean to German
+ ...
Korean - English Jul 6, 2010

I usually charge (actually, it's rather what the customer offers) around $70 per 10 minutes of video with script. The lowest I received from a TV station once was around $55.

So $2.25 seems far too low to me...


 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 12:00
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
I agree Jul 6, 2010

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

This enables me to keep a 6:1 average, i.e. it takes me 6 minutes to translate each minute of playing time. Yet my daily production limit is 50 minutes of playing time.

Translating video from a script alone is risky, as you don't get a chance to catch the rhythm of speech there. Chances are the results won't be any good.


I completely agree - having the video is essential, I believe, to a good translation.
This also takes time, though, because you have to tweek the subtitles to fit and perhaps alter them, because the more literal translation of the script would not be appropriate when watching the actual video etc.

Also, the limitation to a certain number of characters per line is time consuming.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Perhaps??? Jul 6, 2010

PCovs wrote:
I completely agree - having the video is essential, I believe, to a good translation.
This also takes time, though, because you have to tweek the subtitles to fit and perhaps alter them, because the more literal translation of the script would not be appropriate when watching the actual video etc.

Also, the limitation to a certain number of characters per line is time consuming.


IMO (not so humble, 6 years successfully doing it already) the translator MUST adapt the text for subtitles, to make them as short as possible without losing the gist of the message.

It's a matter of purpose, the subtitling paradigm concept. The desired result is as if... the monoglot spectator had a mute whispering interpreter by their side. To compensate their voicelessness, this interpreter is a demon typist, so s/he writes onscreen the core of the content.

So if the actor says
It is my absolutely deephearted belief that...
... a good subtitle could say:
I really think that...
... so the spectatir can read it in a fraction of the time it takes to be said and still have some time left to watch the action, the expressions, the film.

I only translate both ways between two languages, however I speak three more. This enables me to spot subtitles translated either way in any pair involving 5 languages. The obvious result is that when the target language is not one of the two I translate, I don't dare to change the text. If the translator is not specialized in subtitles, I often get a full(ly inadequate) translation, and it's a nightmare to break and spot them to get a really sloppy outcome: long, 2x32 char subs "flashing" on the screen.

When the target language is one of my two working languages and I get a streaming unabridged translated script, spotting work is closer to re-translating the whole thing. Some less informed clients complain about it costing them more to have those subs spotted than translated by an amateur.

So translation for subtitles is not a job for any translator. It takes learning and practice. Evidence of that is that I spent 17 years translating video for dubbing only before I ventured into subtitling.

Before anyone gets me wrong, no, translation for dubbing is not easier. It's just another specialty, often using the same tools. Most translators who do both consider translation for dubbing much more difficult. Some even charge twice as much for dubbing than for subbing (though I charge exactly the same).

I've put together most of the basic information on video translation I could in a short article at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/guide.html .


Regarding the chars per line limits, there is an easy way to do it. Most translators use MS Word for anything; while I avoid using it whenever there is any other software option. For subtitling, I use Windows Notepad. As I use 2x32 chars subs and | for the line break within a sub, I type:
12345678901234567890123456789012|12345678901234567890123456789012
turn on the automatic line break, and then adjust the window width to just before the "2" at the end overflows to the next line. I'll immediately see if a line is too long. Actually doing it is a matter of practice.


 

Abdelhalim Zeid  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 12:00
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Very Low! Jul 6, 2010

Do not accept lower than USD 4 per minute. Although subtitling is very enjoyable -to me- but it takes more effort than translation.

 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 12:00
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Different techniques Jul 6, 2010

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

PCovs wrote:
I completely agree - having the video is essential, I believe, to a good translation.
This also takes time, though, because you have to tweek the subtitles to fit and perhaps alter them, because the more literal translation of the script would not be appropriate when watching the actual video etc.

Also, the limitation to a certain number of characters per line is time consuming.


IMO (not so humble, 6 years successfully doing it already) the translator MUST adapt the text for subtitles, to make them as short as possible without losing the gist of the message.

It's a matter of purpose, the subtitling paradigm concept. The desired result is as if... the monoglot spectator had a mute whispering interpreter by their side. To compensate their voicelessness, this interpreter is a demon typist, so s/he writes onscreen the core of the content.



I think you got me wrong: I translate from a script - at first without seeing the video, and so when watching the video with the translated subtitles on screen I will perhaps alter them if need be.


 

Emilie Naudin  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:00
English to French
Too low Jul 7, 2010

technospeak wrote:

A prospect is suggesting the following rate to translate subtitles: USD 2.25 per minute runtime and proofs at USD 0.400 per minute runtime.



I got the same offer and refused it too. Far too low IMHO. I haven't done a lot of subtitle translation yet, but I got paid much more than that every time. And it was only translation, not subtitling (I didn't have to worry about the timecodes, etc).
So yes, I love translating subs (and I also do it as a pastime and a training of sorts), but I need to eat and pay my bills icon_wink.gif

As to the "Do you need the video" issue, I'd say it's definitely a yes. Last time I translated subs, I didn't get to see the film, all I had was a detailed summary and a youtube trailer icon_rolleyes.gif So I had to get around a lot of problems such as not knowing who was talking, about what, or if I had to use the feminine or masculine form, "tu" or "vous" etc, etc, etc.
I've got the film now, but I haven't yet found the courage to watch it, I'm too afraid of the results...


 


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