Subtitling and Scripts Fees
Thread poster: Dina Abdo

Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 06:57
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
Nov 29, 2005

Hello Everybody,

I had an e-mail from a subtitling company asking about my rates for English (US) into Arabic translation for Movies and Scripts!

Now, according to their contact person: Translating a movie means dealing with speech only (no written text provided) from source to target. They offered 100$ per movie no matter the movie's category, length or talking parts!!

Scripts, he said, are all in written format and I just need to translate them into Arabic as texts. Again, they have a standard rate no matter the field or Number of words per page ... that's $20 per page.

I sent them that they'll hear back from me soon. But, honestly; Do these rates exist????

I mean ... could working on 120 mins. movie for example be as same as working on a 30 mins. almost speechless documentary??

I had subtitling jobs before, but never with those payment terms!!

Can anyone please tell me what is the usual rule in similar cases and whether this offer worth it or not?

Thank you all in advance for your help


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Vidmantas Stilius  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
? Nov 29, 2005

Hi Dina

They must be joking... $ 100 per movie...
Incredible.


Vidmantas


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 22:57
French to Spanish
+ ...
Let's see... Nov 29, 2005

"Now, according to their contact person: Translating a movie means dealing with speech only (no written text provided) from source to target. They offered 100$ per movie no matter the movie's category, length or talking parts!!"

If I understand, you'll have only to translate (by ear) on a Word document, no time coding, no adaptation. Right?
Even that way, 100$ is quite a low rate.
Make sure what the client wants, first of all.

"Scripts, he said, are all in written format and I just need to translate them into Arabic as texts. Again, they have a standard rate no matter the field or Number of words per page ... that's $20 per page."

Written format, you say... paper or electronic? You know scripts have a lot of repetitions that you can "delete/replace" very easily.
Now: "...no matter [...] number of words per page..." is something I think you must be very carefull about, fixing for example 250 words/page... and 20$ per page is a very good fee.

Best of lucks.


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 06:57
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well Nov 29, 2005

Vidmantas Stilius wrote:

They must be joking... $ 100 per movie...
Incredible.

Vidmantas


That's what I was thinking too!!

Juan Jacob wrote:

If I understand, you'll have only to translate (by ear) on a Word document, no time coding, no adaptation. Right?

Juan


Actually, they'll send me a software I can use to record the translation on the movie immediately. I.e. I'll be translating by ear on movie scenes. And no .. no time coding or adaptation.

Juan Jacob wrote:

Written format, you say... paper or electronic? You know scripts have a lot of repetitions that you can "delete/replace" very easily. ... fixing for example 250 words/page... and 20$ per page is a very good fee.

Juan


Electronic format actually, and number of words is around 500!!

Tayeb, can you tell me what's the usual rate for similar jobs? I mean should I be charging per word, hour, page ... etc. and if yes, then what's the average?

According to them, I'm going to get so many projects of both types every month. Does that count too?

[Edited at 2005-11-29 19:17]


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Vidmantas Stilius  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
A trap, actually Nov 29, 2005

In the future...
All of us have heard this magic phrase a lot of times.

An average movie is ca 100 min long.
USD 5.00/running minute is already a low rate -- unless you translate lots of forklift truck manuals and want something different (but by no means easier, in terms of translation) for a change.

This already makes USD 500 / movie.
A running minute equals to 17 subtitles on average.
A subtitle contains 1 to 20 words (i.e. 10 on average).
That makes 170 words/ minute * 100 minutes = 17,000 words.
USD 0.029/word.

Well, it is acceptable if you spend the morning translating and the afternoon begging at the nearest mosque...


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 06:57
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
OH OH! Nov 29, 2005

Vidmantas Stilius wrote:

This already makes USD 500 / movie.
A running minute equals to 17 subtitles on average.
A subtitle contains 1 to 20 words (i.e. 10 on average).
That makes 170 words/ minute * 100 minutes = 17,000 words.
USD 0.029/word.

Well, it is acceptable if you spend the morning translating and the afternoon begging at the nearest mosque...


I never thought of it that way! I better start using a calculator


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Vidmantas Stilius  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
:)) Nov 29, 2005

Right, the calculator is one of top ten inventions of the mankind.

I had no idea of the actual subtitling rates until

a) a subtitling agency sent me the translator's agreements of a Belgian subtitler by mistake;

b) another agency sent me their rates for acceptance which turned out to be the rates paid to a London-based subtitler (and they were 3 times lower than the rates offered to me later) -- this caused much fuss in the staff ("these rates SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SENT TO YOU, I HAVE TO CONSULT MY BOSS").

The questions are:

a) do you get any discounts when you buy a PC/laptop/software because you live in Palestine?

b) do you pay a fraction for Trados becaause you live in Palestine?

c) do you pay a fraction of your proz platinum membership because of live in Palestines?

etc. etc.

My answers (as I live in Lithuania) are NO.
So why should be paid 1/3 of the normal rate?

Vidmantas


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Louise Dupont  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:57
English to French
My experience Nov 29, 2005

I don't know why they always pay by minutes. I once translated a film containing only 5500 words that gave me 12¢/word and after they offered me another project where the host of the program was saying 8000 words an hour... so beware...

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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 06:57
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well ... Nov 30, 2005

The answer is "NO" here too

Vidmantas Stilius wrote:

My answers (as I live in Lithuania) are NO.
So why should be paid 1/3 of the normal rate?

Vidmantas


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 06:57
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I didn't even had that chance! Nov 30, 2005

Louise Dupont wrote:

I don't know why they always pay by minutes. I once translated a film containing only 5500 words that gave me 12¢/word and after they offered me another project where the host of the program was saying 8000 words an hour... so beware...


You was offered a reasonable "XXX/ something" here. I was offered 100$ per movie no matter what

I guess I'd just reject that offer. It didn't make sense to me in the first place, and thanks to all of you my logic confirmed

Thanks


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scooty
Local time: 05:57
English to French
slavery Nov 30, 2005

These rates must be a joke.
I work for an American subtitling company. My rates are $3.5 per minute and these are low. When I work with French companies, I earn something like 16.5 euros the minute. When I'm paid for the subtitle, it's 1.5.
Moreover, if you don't have a written script you should ask more because understanding and transcriptions require time. And the company usually provides them to me.

Hope it helps.


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 06:57
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Slavery :) Nov 30, 2005

scooty wrote:

I work for an American subtitling company. My rates are $3.5 per minute and these are low. When I work with French companies, I earn something like 16.5 euros the minute. When I'm paid for the subtitle, it's 1.5.

Hope it helps.


With the rates you're talking about ... I agree, the offer I received was a "slavery" offer. And with your rates, I better try finding out who your agent is


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Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
I was getting nut evaluating on how much to quote right now, and I found you all! Nov 30, 2005

Hi everybody! I will appreciate a little help from you all, and perhaps Dina can rescue sth for her too. A friend of mine, completely devoted to translating movies from English into Spanish (Latin American) told me that USD$4 per running minute was quite acceptable when you are not sent any supporting text, and you have to resort to your ears only.
Now... you say (VS) that USD 5.00 per minute is already a low rate. So, COULD YOU HELP ME adjust my own rates?
I'm specialized in some fields of medicine. The assignment-to-be is a series of slide-shows online (a website for medical doctors) with the speaker's voice "off". I've been asked to translate into Spanish each slide-show speech, and have been asked to give my (best) customer an overall $$ idea. I am suppossed to work "headphones on" and "fingers on keyboard" (what I call transcription) and afterwards translate that into Spanish (what I understand as the easiest part of the whole package). Notwithstanding, I'm an interpreter, too, but that should not count (translators devoted to movies have a perfect ear-training!)
Do you all think I should charge as low as USD$ 4? Five dollars would be still toooooo low? Shouldn't my specialization be considered, too? There is no single piece of text in between: only sound (each doctor's speech). Oh! and my brain!

[Edited at 2005-11-30 13:01]


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