International Translation Day 2017

Join ProZ.com/TV for a FREE event on September 26-27th celebrating International Translation Day! 50+ hours of content, Chat, Live Q&A & more. Join 1,000's of linguists from around the globe as ProZ.com/TV celebrates International Translation Day.

Click for Full Participation

Number of words translated per day
Thread poster: Raquel Bragança
Raquel Bragança
Local time: 01:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jul 15, 2009

Hi, I'm interested to know how many words you translate per day. I was offered a major TV subtitling project 2 years ago, translating and subtitling 250 episodes of a 45 min TV show per year. That's +22 episodes per month, excluding 4 weeks vacation. I do have a full time job as a teacher, but being childless I decided to take the challenge. Two years have gone by and I feel I live to work, but the extra income is way to difficult to turn down. I just wanted to now whether I'm a slow translator or not. Each 45 min show has around 6500 words.

I'd be happy if you could share your views.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:37
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Congrats Jul 15, 2009

First of all congratutaltions on having landed this job, it sounds very interesting both professionally and I would imagine financially, even at a low rate, say $0.07 per word that works out at $113,750 a year.

My data may not be very useful as I don't have any experience with translating audio and I am not sure if it is normally paid by word, I think they nornally pay per minute, but having said that if you are paid per word that should also be fine.

Personally I can translate between 400-500 words per hour (translate, proofread, review) depending on subject matter and medium, probably for an audio file I guess it would be closer to 400 and maybe slighly less as you probably have to keep listening to the same bit of audio (if the phrase is very long) and that has to be less convenient then text. I would imagine you would need good playback software to give you very easy control over the audio.

The thing is you mention 250 episodes a year at around 6500 words an episode, thats a total of 1,625,000 words per year. At a 5 day work week, eight hours per day, 48 weeks a year that works out at 846 words per hour.

There most be some mistake, because if not, how do you find the time to do it? I really dont know of anyone who can translate at that speed.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:37
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
don't count words Jul 15, 2009

I always look at how long it takes me to do 5 minutes of video. Depending on the TV show, it can take 30 min to an hour to do 5 minutes of translation and time coding. Documentaries often take longer because you have to do more research (spelling proper names the right way, etc.), romantic comedies are quicker because there is less talking and more kissing...

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Raquel Bragança
Local time: 01:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not so, Alex Jul 15, 2009

Alex Lago wrote:

First of all congratutaltions on having landed this job, it sounds very interesting both professionally and I would imagine financially, even at a low rate, say $0.07 per word that works out at $113,750 a year.


They pay me around 100 dollars for episode. I know it's a low price, but it's that or nothing and they'd find someone else, so I took the job. They don't pay per word, but minute of video, and we have a script so we only listen to the show once, before translating to check the script and grasp the tricky bits, and then once more when the work is concluded to proof-read it. That's how I do it.


Alex Lago wrote:
There most be some mistake, because if not, how do you find the time to do it? I really dont know of anyone who can translate at that speed.


I have a full time job, so basically I juggle too jobs working weekends and nights. I know it sounds crazy and it is, that's why I want to figure out what other professionals do to demand a higher payment or not and give up this crazy job.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Raquel Bragança
Local time: 01:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I wouldn't count either but... Jul 15, 2009

Elizabeth Adams wrote:

I always look at how long it takes me to do 5 minutes of video. Depending on the TV show, it can take 30 min to an hour to do 5 minutes of translation and time coding. Documentaries often take longer because you have to do more research (spelling proper names the right way, etc.), romantic comedies are quicker because there is less talking and more kissing...


I wouldn't count either, but they talk almost non-stop. Let me explain. Originally, it's a 250 episodes (60 minutes each) soap opera that was edited to fit 45 minutes in 140, (don't ask me why) so to keep the story they cut the scenes there's no talking, and move on to dialogs, so it's an insanely talkative show!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:37
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Eh...... Jul 15, 2009

Ok you get a script, so I take it you translate the actual text using (or maybe not) a CAT tool.

That is still over 800 words translated per hour working 8 hours a day and you say you have other jobs? How do you do it? How long do you take to do an episode? Seriously I am very interested as I can do nowhere near that speed (nor do I know anyone else who can).

Regardles of your speed

6,500 word = $100 = $0.015 per word

That is just daylight robbery IMHO, but at 22 episodes a month it is $2200 which is a decent amount so I can see why you do not want to lose it, however it all boils down to how long the episode takes to do, at my speed (500 words per hour) each episode would take me 13 hours so in a month I would have worked 286 hours, so $2200 would be the equivalent of $7.70 an hour which IMHO is far too low for a specialized job like translation.

Your time would be better spent finding clients that pay better, you might lose the income for a while but you will soon make it up.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Everyone should know their average Jul 15, 2009

Elizabeth Adams wrote:
I always look at how long it takes me to do 5 minutes of video. Depending on the TV show, it can take 30 min to an hour to do 5 minutes of translation and time coding.


We have roughly the same average. I call it 6:1. It takes me 6 minutes to translate one.

Each individual has their own method. Some translate using Windows Media Player and MS Word, others do it with Subtitle Workshop, there are countless ways to do it, including an external DVD player and a TV.

I began translating for lip-sync dubbing in 1987, and only got into doing it for subtitles in 2004. I always worked from audio alone, and used open-reel tape recorders for over a decade, until I came across Express Scribe. Nevertheless I continue working from audio alone, watch the video as needed, or when spotting subtitles.

For subtitles, I use Windows Notepad. I set it to break lines, and adjust the window width to fit exactly
12345678901234567890123456789012|12345678901234567890123456789012
so I have a ruler for 2x32-char subs.

Afterwards I use Media Subtitler to convert from TXT to SSA, and spot it with Subtitle Workshop. While spotting, I do proofreading, and add whatever is missing, e.g. titles on the screen.

My spotting/proofing time is 3:1 if the translation is mine (or has been done by a few selected colleagues). It may be as high as 9:1 if the translation has been done by someone who has no idea on how to do it, or has just translated the script. I price this work accordingly.

(NOTE: Though this might not be accurately responsive to the question, I was privately prompted by two Prozians who asked me about my views on the issue.)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:37
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Superspeed Jul 15, 2009

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Elizabeth Adams wrote:
I always look at how long it takes me to do 5 minutes of video. Depending on the TV show, it can take 30 min to an hour to do 5 minutes of translation and time coding.


We have roughly the same average. I call it 6:1. It takes me 6 minutes to translate one.


Both you guys seem experience translating audio (I dont), and by what you say it would take 45 x 6 = 270 minutes do to each episode, which is 4.5 hours. However Raquel mentions each episode is around 6500 words, so that means over 145 words per minute, which seems a hell of a lot to me, if this were so, you would be translating 6500 words in 4.5 hours that would be over 1400 words translated per hour, which I have never seen anyone do.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 20:37
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
too fast Jul 15, 2009

My speed is about 500 per hour and up to 3000 per day (effective). But mind the time you need too do auxiliary tasks like organising files, deleting temporaries, checking e-mail and messengers etc... plus you are still a human being and you need some pauses...
It all takes time...
Think of getting married to a typist.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
Subtitles is a bit different Jul 16, 2009

You cannot calculate hour many hours it will take to to subtitles translation based on the number of source words, because you have to adapt what is said so that the viewers would understand the story and have time to read the subtitles. You are not going to translate exactly what they say, that would be awful subtitles.
I guess it is harder with very talkative shows, I do only Japanese and they usually don't speak much.

Like José, I know how long it takes me to translate/adapt one minute of the original video. It can be anything between 6 and 8 minutes depending on the material (sometimes you need to check how to spell names, or whatever). I know how much I want to earn per hour, so let's say I can translate on minute of a particular material in 6 minutes : it means I can translate 10 minutes of material per hour. Then I divide how much I want per hours by 10, and I get my per minute of material price. It is that simple!

You can accept to go a bit lower if the volume is high, but don't be exploited either.

I am really impressed you can do 22 epidodes/month plus your full time job. I could probably do only 10 and translation is my full time job...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ivars Barzdevics  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:37
English to Spanish
rates are normally per subtitle or per r.t. minute Jul 16, 2009

Hi,

My 2 cents. I've been working in this field for about 16 years and for 1 year I was the coordinator for Spain of one of the largest subtitling companies in the world.
This company, as many others, paid (very little) by the minute. I would say that in a "normal" show there are about 13 subtitles per minute (one or two lines). Very talky projects can have up to 22 or 23 (featurettes, director's commentaries, etc...). The translators I worked with were expected to translate at least 300 subs per day. Please note that I wrote translate. This is, they are given a time-cued script with the subtitles in English, so their job is to adapt and translate taking into acount character and space limitations ( reading speed is about 17 cps (including spaces)) They do not have to time-cue or break the dialogue list into subtitles. So it's very important to know what exactly one is expected to do to determine how many minutes of program one can translate per day.
PS: CAT tools are no good for us.

Rgds,
Ivars


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ulf Samuelsson  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 12:37
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Yes, a CAT tool does help Jul 16, 2009

I recently translated 7 episodes of Bones in one week becuase another translator couldn't finish his part.
Each part of Bones has on average 5800 words, and it really is a great advantage to use a CAT tool such as Wordfast with an already timed script. The advantage is that you can have the glossaries automatically translate all terms (like a home-made Machine Translation system). This saves time in typing, but the main advantage is that you can search in the memory to see how you translated a certain expression earlier in the episode, or even in another episode, like "King of the lab", for Bones.

A good CAT tool can do more than just offer a suggested similar translation (and by good CAT tool, I do not mean Trados as that is a really lazy CAT, compared to Wordfast, DejaVu X and MemoQ).

Ulf


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Raquel Bragança
Local time: 01:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That would help Jul 20, 2009

Sergei Leshchinsky wrote:

Think of getting married to a typist.


That has crossed my mind several times, since my typing skills seem to get worse instead of better.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Raquel Bragança
Local time: 01:37
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Sacrificing... Jul 20, 2009

Alex Lago wrote:

Ok you get a script, so I take it you translate the actual text using (or maybe not) a CAT tool.

That is still over 800 words translated per hour working 8 hours a day and you say you have other jobs? How do you do it? How long do you take to do an episode? Seriously I am very interested as I can do nowhere near that speed (nor do I know anyone else who can).


I can tell you I've been cutting on sleeping hours these past two years, and it's taking its toll now, plus I only get one day off every two weeks. It's the price to pay when we're eager to get somewhere. Anyway, I started this thread to figure out if the workload was too demanding, or I'm a slow typist, since I do't have any experience translating for another client. Good news anyway, the TV station agreed to review the payment per episode.

Thanks for all your input, really.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Number of words translated per day

Advanced search







PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search