Going rates for urgent YouTube translations?
Thread poster: Marc Christian

Marc Christian  Identity Verified
Dominican Republic
Local time: 18:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 7, 2010

Dear fellow translators,

A U.S. company replied to my e-mail in which I offered my translation services and I am now being asked what my rates for YouTube translations from English to German for sports videos are (deadline will be less than 24 hours after receiving the file).

I have an independent contractor agreement with another company in which we set the rate at US$ 6 per subtitled minute for TV broadcasts and the like, but I sincerely don't know what to charge in this case and need feedback on this matter preferably no later than Tuesday morning (GMT-4).

I am also unaware as to whether the job would only involve translation, or if it is assumed that I will handle the "time in" and "time out" (i.e., when the text appears on screen, for how long it stays on, when it disappears) on the video and/or insert the translated text.

ANY help on the topic at hand or advice as to where to find an answer will be GREATLY appreciated.

Sincerely,

Marc J. Christian


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:20
German to Swedish
+ ...
Time coding = clincher Aug 7, 2010

You can't set your price unless you know whether you're supposed to time code or not.

Depending on how much routine you have time and what type of programme you're dealing with, time coding from scratch can be quite time consuming. A sports broadcast sounds as bad as a talk show. It'll take anywhere from 100% - 300% of programme length.


 

Marc Christian  Identity Verified
Dominican Republic
Local time: 18:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's translating only Aug 7, 2010

Hello Joakim,

First and foremost, tack så mycket for your reply!

As it turns out, I will be handed a transcript in English (containing an estimate of 50 to 1,000 words, depending on the length of the video file), which I am to translate into German and send back to them within 24 hours after reception.

Since they will do the subtitling based on my translation, they might ask me to compress the translation in a coherent way, so it's compatible with a given characters-per-line parameter they use for subtitling. This would require more time investment on my behalf.
If that's the case, how much, if any at all, is a fair amount to charge additionally?
10%? 15%? 20%? 25%?


Sincerely,

Marc J. Christian
Santiago, Dominican Republic


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:20
German to Swedish
+ ...
Try doing a minute of it Aug 8, 2010

[Note: this answer refers to time coding, not characters per row matching]

25% minimum! Even rough timing like this takes a great deal of time compared to a "straight" translation. You'll need to do a *lot* of text editing, compression, rephrasing and tinkering. That's the art of subtitling.

Back-of-the-envelope calculation: A 25 minute program might be 1700 words. Say it takes 3 hours to translate. The timing takes *at least* the length of the program itself. That's if you've done error-free subtitle division on the script! You can easily double or triple this to allow for text editing etc. So then we have 1-1.5 hours extra for a job where the basic translation itself takes 3 hours.

The best advice is to take a minute of such a program, and translate and time it.
Then you can calculate a reasonable per-minute fee from there.

(And incidentally, you'll need special software. Don't even try this in Word...)


[Bearbeitet am 2010-08-08 07:48 GMT]


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:20
German to Swedish
+ ...
PS Aug 8, 2010

Perhaps I misread - if it's just characters-per-text-row matching, then it doesn't take that much time.

But if you're supposed to roughly match reading speed (words-per-second) limits, it's *not* just translating. That takes time.

(From the customer's point of view, a literal translation is not very useful in subtitling. They *must* expect you to do *some* kind of rough timing.)

Anyway, do a test minute and you'll see...

[Bearbeitet am 2010-08-08 07:49 GMT]

[Bearbeitet am 2010-08-08 07:55 GMT]


 

NMR (X)
France
Local time: 00:20
French to Dutch
+ ...
It all depends on the subject Aug 8, 2010

and your client. My latest advertisement job was also a kind of broadcast. Source texts were provided, it came in three source languages, running time three minutes or so, but it took me two hours to get the text right, listening to the originals, then the client came back with modifications (30 minutes) and in the end asked me to verify (one hour or so: extraction on the server, spotting of errors, etc.). There were about 500 source words. So the only answer to your question is: on an hourly basis, and make this clear to your client.

A small tip: work in Courier, not in Arial or Times, and type on top of your translation:
1234567890123456789012345678901234567890123
(my subtitles were limited to 43 characters, spaces included)
then your subtitles shouldn't exceed this length.
The subtitles should end in a logical way, if possible.



[Modifié le 2010-08-08 10:01 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:20
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My personal views Aug 8, 2010

My standard* rate for translation is 50% higher than yours (US$9/min), however I serve the corporate video market, which demands Disney-like quality. It might be worth considering also that I work in a different language pair.

*By "standard" I mean that after so many years, I charge the same for translation or transcription, and regarding translation, the same for straight translation, for lip-sync dubbing, or for subtitling. It's obvious that I'm not interested in transcription work, because it takes me the same time as the others. I don't care either about translation direction between EN and PT.

If they require spotting for subtitles, my rate is 1/3 of the rate for translation, but for my translation, or from a few selected colleagues. Now and then I get a translation for subtitles by someone who has no clue on how it should be done. Deepending on what I get from 'unknown' translators, spotting may cost up to 3x more (if I have to edit it heavily, and break a continuous script into subs).

I don't care about scripts, though many translators offer a sizeable discount when they are provided (or add a hefty surcharge when they are not). In my market, most often they are either unavailable or fail to match the final edit. However for subtitling they are often valuable for ensuring proper names spelling. If someone to be cited is named Zbigniew Wojechszlecki, chances are you won't be able to type a close enough spelling for Google to ask you Did you mean...?


 

Marc Christian  Identity Verified
Dominican Republic
Local time: 18:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, everyone! Aug 9, 2010

Dear all,

My gratitude for all of your insightful information!

After clarifying the issue, I realised that my prospect and I weren't talking about the same topic; (as of now) they don't want me to translate for subtitling, but for captioning.
BIG difference.


 


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