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Is this voice over translation? Should I ask (much) more than for a regular translation?
Thread poster: Isabelle F. BRUCHER
Isabelle F. BRUCHER  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 14:26
English to French
+ ...
Sep 6, 2012

A regular (but occasional) client (agency) is suddenly asking me a new type of translation I have never done before:

"Keep in mind that the translation must be synced and fit with the video below. The words in bold must match with the on screen titles or timing so please keep that in mind and do not use more words."

He is sending me a short text in English, to be translated into French, and which is the text of the video, which he also sends.

Question 1: This is not subtitling, so how is it called? Voice over translation?

Question 2: Should I ask a higher price than for a regular translation? When I multiply the number of words by our previously agreed translation rate, I reach less than 8 EUR, which I could round up to 10 EUR. It's about half an A4-size page only, but I have no idea of how much time this probably difficult exercice will take... Should I invoice by hour? What about if I am slower than their regular translators? Is there a standard time allowed per so many words, in general?

Thank you very much for any recommendation you might care to give me.

[Edited at 2012-09-06 08:25 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Charge more Sep 6, 2012

Q1: I call it "dubbing". Others may differ.
(The verb dub is defined as making a copy of one recording to another)

Q2: It may only be a small amount of text on paper but the circumstances and the skill set required are quite different from a "normal" translation task. I'd ask the client how much they expect to pay for the service, then tell them it's worth at least twice their figure, and see how they react.

Caveat - I have no compunction about telling my clients to go elsewhere. If you're worried about hanging on to them, I wouldn't advice my rather brusque approach.

[Edited at 2012-09-06 08:39 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-09-06 08:40 GMT]

PS: If you google "dubbing rates per word" you'll see some forums on the subject that might be helpful.

[Edited at 2012-09-06 08:43 GMT]


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:26
Chinese to English
It's learning time! Sep 6, 2012

Why is this not subtitling? It sounds like you're doing the translation for subtitles without doing the technical bit of putting them into a subtitle format.

Anyway, the point is, if it's only half a page, it's not going to take you that long, whatever the case. Do it, learn from it, then next time you'll have a much clearer idea what to charge.

If you like it, buy some subtitling software and start it up as a specialism.

I know people here are often a bit worried about what they "should" charge, but for a tiny job like this? It's cost you more than 8 euros in time just thinking about it.


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Barbara Carrara  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:26
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Adaptation Sep 6, 2012

I would call this adaptation, as this is neither subtitling nor dubbing.

One way of calculating your fee could by string of text, or, according to the length of the 'script' provided, by the hour, depending how long you expect to spend on it.

If you already have the text and the video, then you should know how easy/difficult the assignment is or may turn out to be.


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Isabelle F. BRUCHER  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 14:26
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Client immediately agreed to charging one hour of work (for half a page of dubbing translation), fyi Sep 6, 2012

It's okay, I have asked for an hour of work at a slightly lower fee than what I said was my normal hourly rate and the PM immediately agreed! With the little research work on the subject, saving all the files, reading the related forum thread http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/130601-translation_no_good_for_voice_over.html, reading the text again in the light of my research work, listening to the video over and over again, and then finally producing the work, then checking the timing, it will certainly take me more than an hour, but as someone said, this is a learning experience. In any case, one hour of worked seemed (more than?) reasonable to the PM, given all the verification work it takes AFTER translating. At least, I sounded professional about it. And this has nothing to do with subtitling, by the way, I have seen there are Proz.com webinars about it, thank you.

[Edited at 2012-09-06 09:22 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Software requirements? Sep 6, 2012

Phil Hand wrote:
Anyway, the point is, if it's only half a page, it's not going to take you that long, whatever the case. Do it, learn from it, then next time you'll have a much clearer idea what to charge.

If you like it, buy some subtitling software and start it up as a specialism.


But wouldn't syncing require that software to be used for this job? I have no experience of this because I've always seen it as needing software I don't have.


I agree in some ways with what you say about 'having a go', Phil. However, there are a couple of points to bear in mind here:
- if Isabelle does a poor job because she doesn't have the right kit/training, then she will likely lose a regular client;
- if they are happy and come back for more, with a longer video, she won't be able to raise her rate more than a tiny bit

It sounds to me as though it could (would?) take many times longer than simply translating the words.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
QED Sep 6, 2012

Isabelle F. BRUCHER wrote:
it will certainly take me more than an hour ... one hour of worked seemed (more than?) reasonable to the PM ...


I think this proves my point. You should've asked for two hours, or agreed a real-time rate.


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Faustine Roux  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:26
English to French
Sounds like subtitling Sep 6, 2012

This really sounds like subtitling. It seems that you are asked to translate a script, with a few specifications (keep it short, make sure some words appear) and that the client will ask someone to sync your translated script to a video.

If I were you, I wouldn't take this job. I've been the one having to sync the subtitles, and since the translator didn't really know what subtitling involves, it resulted to very poor subtitles (difficult to read, way too long lines that wouldn't fit...).

Audiovisual translation is a specialist area, you'd do your client a favour if you told them to find someone who is specialised and who would do the job perfectly.

That was my 2 cents.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:26
Chinese to English
If no-one ever tried anything new... Sep 6, 2012

...we'd all be living in caves. They didn't offer degrees in firestarting before the first neanderthal got the idea of rubbing boy scouts and girl guides together.

Or something

Sheila Wilson wrote:

- if Isabelle does a poor job because she doesn't have the right kit/training, then she will likely lose a regular client;

I understand the point, but what is going to go wrong here? She isn't an idiot, blustering in because she thinks she knows everything. She's being cautious and measured about it, asking for advice and trying the water with a tiny job first. And remember she's not being asked to do the technical bit. If I would trust anyone with a translation, it's translators like Isabelle.

- if they are happy and come back for more, with a longer video, she won't be able to raise her rate more than a tiny bit

To the end of my days, I will never understand this argument. Of course she can. She can raise them by saying: "My rate for this work will now be XXX."

We're not obligated to give any explanation for our rates. We charge what the market will stand, not what someone somewhere has decided is "right". But if they do ask why, we can always, out of courtesy, give an answer: "Having done a small project of this type, I find it takes up a lot of my time. If my new rate makes me uncompetitive for this kind of job, I'm sorry about that. Good luck with finding someone else."

Let us know if it works out and turns into a lucrative new area of business for you, Isabelle.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:26
Russian to English
+ ...
Voiceovers are definitely not charged on the translation rates basis. Sep 6, 2012

The work is charged on an hourly basis, or by minutes. Subtitling is charged in a similar way. I know it is about $5-$7/min for subtitling. Voiceover might be more. (minute of recorded material -- not how much time you actually spend on it)




[Edited at 2012-09-06 13:44 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:26
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Lip-sync translations Sep 7, 2012

I've done this type of work before and found that, on the average, a 25-minutes video can take up to 2 or 3 hours, at best, and depending on the quality of the transciption and, at times, of the video.

If you are to insert the subtitles into the video, the time required for this greatly depends on your equipment. To be on the safe side, you should charge by the hour...if the agency agrees.


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JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:26
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Tell them now how long it took Sep 7, 2012

Phil Hand wrote:

But if they do ask why, we can always, out of courtesy, give an answer: "Having done a small project of this type, I find it takes up a lot of my time. If my new rate makes me uncompetitive for this kind of job, I'm sorry about that. Good luck with finding someone else."


Or you can always set the expectation of higher rates now, just in case this turns into a regular job, by saying that it actually took you longer than an hour.

(Then again, in future it might well take less than an hour for a similar sized task as you would know what you were doing!)


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Carolin Krüger
Germany
Local time: 14:26
English to German
+ ...
No subtitling Sep 7, 2012

In French, this is what they call "voice over".

This means that you are for example translating the narrator of a documentary. The translation does not take that much time. You only have to make sure that your translation is not longer than the orginal. Otherwise it may interfere with the voices of people appearing on screen that may be dubbed (lip-sync) or subtitled.

Good luck with the job. It certainly is an interesting field!


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Isabelle F. BRUCHER  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 14:26
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Real-time rate difficult for 1st experience (still learning, finding method); warned 2 hrs next time Sep 8, 2012

neilmac wrote:

Isabelle F. BRUCHER wrote:
it will certainly take me more than an hour ... one hour of worked seemed (more than?) reasonable to the PM ...


I think this proves my point. You should've asked for two hours, or agreed a real-time rate.


I am the one who suggested one hour at 25€ (instead my "usual" rate of 30-35€). It was still far better than 8 or 10€!

I had no idea how much time it would take me. All I know is that I replied to his first email around 10:30, took one hour of lunch, delivered at 15:30, then prepared and sent the invoice; I still have to follow up on the payment, then pay my accountant... and pay all the taxes...

All in all I must have spent half a day on this, but how could I invoice half a day for 114 source words?...

Anyway, I have already warned him that next time, I would have to invoice 2 hours, so 50€ for this type of work. Maybe next time, I'll proceed faster too anyway.

This is the work of a publicity agency, normally, so 50€ is still peanuts, but as always in the translation "industry", it depends what competition offers...

I will ask him if the customer liked it (or not....), so as to prove that I am worth the 50 EUR (or more...) next time! I really worked hard on finding several options, then selecting the shortest ones to match the number of syllables and, since the English language is much more concise than the French language, it was a real challenge!

Thank you all for your help here, although I had to make a quick decision.


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Joëlle Bouille  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 14:26
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
About hourly rates and 'fear of competition' Jan 10, 2013

Hi everyone,

Just thought some might be interested to know that I charge €45.00/£35.00/$60.00 per hour (whenever a task requires charging by the hour, namely proofreading as far as I'm concerned) and my carefully selected clients agree with it.

Of course, I started out working for less more than 8 years ago, but I gradually increased my rates to a reasonable level by 'testing the waters' and trying to pamper 'reasonable' agencies.

Any agency valuing quality work will agree to pay for the time needed (within reasonable limits of course). They're not the majority, but they do exist.

I think undercharging for your work because you 'fear competition' sends the wrong message.

We are the ones who should value our work for what it's worth in the first place. It pays off in the long term.

The first and foremost criteria to distinguish yourself from 'the competition' is spotless quality, not price.

No translator should present him/herself as an 'on sale translator'.


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