Production script
Thread poster: jenbikkal (X)

jenbikkal (X)

Local time: 08:53
French to English
+ ...
Feb 24, 2014

Hi all,

I just got contacted by a production agency and they are proposing a script translation project for cartoons. 3-4mn per "episode", around 50 eprisodes total.

They said that $7-10 is the going rate for translation by minute.

Is this a normal rate? Is just seems a lot less than translating per word count. I would not be using a CAT tool as there are a lot expressions and it;s really about adapting the text...

Also I should have asked, but dos this mean, per minute of production, or minute spent translating? I'm assuming production...

Thanks for your help.


[Edited at 2014-02-24 18:19 GMT]


Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Assume production Feb 24, 2014

Dear Jen,

Pick a source text on the internet, set your kitchen timer to 4 minutes and read the text aloud until the timer goes off. Count the text and divide by 4.

You now have an estimated word count for 1 minute of spoken text in your source language and you have the actual amount of words per minute on paper. The word count will give you an idea of the time you'll need to translate a spoken minute. Calculate time for shortening your translations too. Depending on the target language, written translations can inflate enormously and won't fit the time codes anymore. Condensing your translations can take longer than freely translating what you hear or see.

We're talking about a 2000 dollar project, so, if the deadlines are right, I'd test my kitchen timer rate or the proposed rate to see how it works.

Good luck,


ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:53
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Simple Rate Negotiation Feb 24, 2014

"They said that $7-10 is the going rate for translation by minute."

I do not have any idea about the going rate at all. However, they already gave you an interval ($7 - $10) to work with. I would try to negotiate within that interval. For example, start by the highest number, ten dollars a minute, and try to get that rate.


jenbikkal (X)

Local time: 08:53
French to English
+ ...
Thank you! Feb 25, 2014

Thanks Gerard, Thanks Atil!


Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:53
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
word count Feb 26, 2014

Hi Jen,
That rate doesn't seem low to me, but I haven't seen the cartoons. If you do as Gerard suggests you will probably find that there aren't that many words per episode.

I do wonder why they are paying per minute of film instead of per word, since they've asked you to translate the script, not subtitle the video. But math will reveal all...



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