Subtitles Translation from English to French
Thread poster: Antoine Sultana
Jun 29, 2018


I have been practicing subtitling for a while now, but now I'm jumping into the freelance world, and so I'm going to get paid for it.

My first contract will be with a non-profiable organisation who wants me to translate the subtitles of a movie from english to french. It lasts 75 minutes. I allready have the english srt files, and so the timecodes.

My question is, how much should I charge them ? From the information I gathered around forums, my price should be between 5 and 10€ per minute. What is your opinion on that ?

Also, as I allready have the english text, I was thinking about charging per translated word. Can you do that ? If so, what are the rates ?

Thanks to you all.


Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:38
French to Spanish
+ ...
Where... Jun 29, 2018

...are you, what kind of movie, how is your client, payment conditions, etc.?
That would help a lot.

And "I allready have the english srt files, and so the timecodes.", that's the easy way to do it... overwriting. 75 minutes... if you're good, one day job. Think about your price, and good luck!


Michel Virasolvy  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:38
Member (2012)
English to French
Uh… "It depends", I guess? Jun 29, 2018

Having the English file with timecodes won't actually be that helpful, because the way you split lines in English differs from French punctuation and you might have to re-do the entire spotting to keep CPS and CPL within reasonable values (assuming that's already the case for that English track, of course). It's a very common misconception that I often encounter with clients who consider the job already done to avoid having to pay "twice".

Price-wise, in IT I'm now finding agencies which resort to "simply" chain the lines (removing every single second of silence in the audio track) in an attempt to cram as much dialogue as possible in as short a file as possible. It forced me to adapt and get back to a per source word rate. To be honest, I used the publicly available "AP Prod" tariff grid as a source to update my own former grid.

I can't really tell whether a NGO can cover this (IT firms are usually more lenient to pay you when they find out that deep-learning AIs are actually unable to operate as consistently as a physical subtitler) but I'd recommend setting your fees based on your expected average yearly labour. What I mean is, don't expect to be overbooked all year long, there shall be months with next-to-no job, you might have to take week-ends, birthdays and other non-banking days into consideration, plus the time you would afford for linguistic research, marketing your services, negociate your quotes (deadline/rate/price) with one or several clients, plus training, just to know how many hours you'll be actually translating on your desktop. After that, you'd better know the maximum and average duration you are physically able to process every day, and set the average as your daily limit. Finally, you can try a few rates starting with the highest one to see when you finally reach a good balance between the time you invest for work and the time you can use to do other stuff. Avoid at all cost starting from the bottom, because if you start low, you'll have a very difficult time raising them to increase your income. And of course, if the Client prefers to impose their rates, don't bother arguing, you're a boss, not a beggar.

Now that's my reasoning to set an English to French subtitling rate at the moment but I'm sure José can help you much more than I about that (his answers are usually more comprehensive).

[Modifié le 2018-06-29 20:38 GMT]


Robin Levey
Local time: 18:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
If you want to do it properly ... Jun 30, 2018

... start from scratch.

That is to say, your “source text” should be the spoken sound in the original (fre: VO) movie, NOT the existing “English subtitles”. If you don’t understand the VO, refuse the job.

Michel has already explained (some of) the reasons.


PS: And if you don't want to do it "properly", don't do it at all.


Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 02:38
Member (2013)
English to Russian
- Jun 30, 2018

French subtitlers don't charge per minute, they charge per subtitle. Also, thanks to ATAA, their rates are the highest in the world. 10 euros per minute would be incredible lowballing on your end.


Antoine Sultana
- Jun 30, 2018

Thanks for your answers, I would love to have the feedback of "José" on this, though your advises, Michel, are making me taking a lot of things into account as it is.

I will look into that "per subtitle" rate Max, but, do you have any idea of the one I should apply ?

[Edited at 2018-06-30 13:25 GMT]


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Subtitles Translation from English to French

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