How many minutes?
Thread poster: interferish

interferish
United States
English to Dutch
Jul 28, 2010

I recently got hired as a freelance subtitle translator and I'm very excited about this. I'm new to it, and look forward to working and learning. But because I'm new to it, I have no idea how much time I should free up in my schedule to deliver good work.

The company that hired me sent me a ten minute clip to translate, and provided the text in English (to be translated to Dutch) with it. How much time would it take (on average) to translate that?

Thanks!


 

interferish
United States
English to Dutch
TOPIC STARTER
One more question.. Jul 28, 2010

If this company pays 3.50 USD/min, does that mean I get 3.5 x 10 minutes paid? This seems ridiculously low...

 

Adam Jarczyk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:55
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
Rate dumping and low payers... Jul 28, 2010

interferish wrote:

If this company pays 3.50 USD/min, does that mean I get 3.5 x 10 minutes paid? This seems ridiculously low...



Many of the offered rates not only seem ridiculously low, but they actually are. Unfortunately, the fact that some your own colleagues are willing to play along in the rate dumping just to catch any job offers does not really help the situation. If a low payer knows that he/she WILL actually find someone at his/her rate or even bidding still lower then they won't have a need to change.

Make your own decisions from that, if you are willing to help this rate dumping or if you would rather not offer a language combination between two Western European languages at such rates.

Good luck...


 

interferish
United States
English to Dutch
TOPIC STARTER
air time? Jul 28, 2010

Thanks for your feedback.

3.50 USD/min doesn't specify though if it's 3.50 USD for 1 minute of air time.. Should I just assume it is??


 

Adam Jarczyk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:55
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
I am afraid so... Jul 28, 2010

Well, it never hurts to explicitly ask them again, maybe even in connection with your impression that this rate seems far too low for what you would otherwise assume naturally.

But I am afraid you will have to accept that they actually meant "air time".

I had a similar experience myself (at an even worse rate, for what it is worth), and the job was initially offered via proZ.com. However, the agency then was willing to negotiate as they had an important client and really wanted my background in translation for the job in question.

Hopefully some full time professionals in the required field will jump in and give you some more detailed insights still.

Good luck with whatever you decide you'll do!

[Edited at 2010-07-28 14:07 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-07-28 14:08 GMT]


 

interferish
United States
English to Dutch
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Jul 28, 2010

Thanks! I should ask, since they haven't been clear about it.

Regarding my first question.. I know that everyone has their own work tempo, but what would be an average amount of hours to subtitle a 10 minute piece that has a transcript already?


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:55
English to German
+ ...
Transcript Jul 28, 2010

interferish wrote:

Thanks! I should ask, since they haven't been clear about it.

Regarding my first question.. I know that everyone has their own work tempo, but what would be an average amount of hours to subtitle a 10 minute piece that has a transcript already?


If you have a transcript, you simply charge your regular rate per word (which should be decent, do not forget about the extra effort of compressing messages into subtitles or about the fact that you have to clock the time for each segment).

If no transcript exists and you have to go by the audio, you have to charge extra of course. This service is never included in any standard translation rate.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 01:55
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Fees Jul 29, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:

If you have a transcript, you simply charge your regular rate per word.


Not if you already have an agreement with the client that says 3.5 USD/min, which the OP has... In that case, you either renegotiate (which would be more than a little strange at this point) or you get 3.5 dollars for each minute of air time, so yes, 35 USD for the 10-minute clip.
The fee sounds to be on the low side to me, even if you receive timecoded transcripts and you have no other tasks than the translation itself. I'd say you should do this job and a few more at the agreed price, whatch the clock and then decide on a fee that you find acceptabe based on those first few jobs.


 

juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:55
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Nice factory work Jul 30, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:
If you have a transcript, you simply charge your regular rate per word (which should be decent, do not forget about the extra effort of compressing messages into subtitles or about the fact that you have to clock the time for each segment).

It doesn't work like that.

Regular subtitling is like factory work, with the pleasure of working on films, documentaries, etc.
It helps if you like watching films or television, and sometimes you may get unreleased material and have the privilege to see it before the general public.

You get the text as subtitles, time-coded.
All you have to do is translate and type, and make sure that - apart from providing good translation - your translation fits into the frame of the subtitle and time limit given for the particular subtitle. The difficulty comes from these restrictions, but it gets easier with practice.

The texts are seldom difficult, but for some people the other problem can be the use of idioms and slang. The company usually provides a list of explanations for the more obscure ones and there is no shame in asking if you got stuck.

interferish wrote:
I know that everyone has their own work tempo, but what would be an average amount of hours to subtitle a 10 minute piece that has a transcript already?


It really depends on how fast you are, so good typing speed and accuracy helps, and how much text there is. Some subtitles can consist of just one word, others may cause you to fiddle around to fit the text in.

To start with, 10 minutes film done within 2 hours would be a reasonable goal, but to achieve an acceptable income, you have to be faster. You can work it out for yourself.

When you do it regularly, you will find that you may get a film with problems, and the next one is a breeze. There are famous actors who "specialise" in monosyllabic roles, others are famous of delivering non-stop torrents of words. Certain type of films have sparse dialogue, others are the opposite. After a while you can virtually predict what it is going to be just by knowing the actors and the genre. Documentaries are usually more work, because the narrator drones on.
When you do a lot of this type of work, it averages out by the end of the month.

[Edited at 2010-07-30 13:22 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:55
English to German
+ ...
It does for me Jul 30, 2010

juvera wrote:
It doesn't work like that.


I don't deal with movies but videos and tutorials for software applications, printing presses, safety training and such.


 

juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:55
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Nicole, Jul 31, 2010

Judging from the original post, it refers to run-of-the-mill subtitling of films, TV serials, documentaries, not to the kind of specialised, individual projects you are working on.
There are plenty available of the former, often done by people willing to do it for peanuts, but not that many of the latter. The type of projects you are doing require the kind of specialist knowledge and discipline only some people can provide and paid accordingly, at their regular rate.
Good luck with your work.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:55
English to German
+ ...
My assumption Aug 1, 2010

juvera wrote:

Judging from the original post, it refers to run-of-the-mill subtitling of films, TV serials, documentaries, not to the kind of specialised, individual projects you are working on.
There are plenty available of the former, often done by people willing to do it for peanuts, but not that many of the latter. The type of projects you are doing require the kind of specialist knowledge and discipline only some people can provide and paid accordingly, at their regular rate.
Good luck with your work.





You are certainly right. However, judging by the length of the clip (10 minutes), which is too short for a movie, series etc. but too long for a trailer, I automatically assumed that we are indeed talking about a more specialized field.


 

Liviu-Lee Roth
United States
Local time: 19:55
Romanian to English
+ ...
it depends Aug 1, 2010

In my field (legal) I receive 3-10 minutes of taped conversations and I get paid $1.50/minute, .... but 1 minute of taped conversation equals 1 hour of work. I would suggest to you to discuss this matter with the people who gave you the job.

 

interferish
United States
English to Dutch
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all your answers... Aug 2, 2010

...they were very helpful!

Like I said, I'm new to this. There was some discussion as to what kind of translation I'm doing, and I should have been more clear about that. It's subtitling movies/documentaries/television series. The clip they sent me was a 10 minute featurette for a DVD. The rate is indeed 3.50 USD per minute of air time (I checked with the company). It's a fairly big company and I don't think their rates are negotiable, certainly not at this point.
I think I spent about 2,5 hours translating the 10 minutes. It was a documentary type thing so there was a lot of text. I do hope to be faster in the future, but considering the fact that this is the first thing I've done for them, I'm not unhappy with the time I spent on it.
I'm probably going to do a few more translations and then figure out if the pay is worth the amount of time that I put into it. But a flexible freelance job on the side is a nice thing to have, although I agree that the pay isn't spectacular.

Again, thanks everyone for being so forthcoming with experiences and advice.


 


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