How much should I charge if the translations are already provided?
Thread poster: Weerapong Jangsombatsiri

Weerapong Jangsombatsiri  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:46
English to Thai
+ ...
Apr 2, 2010

Hi everyone.

I have been offered a subtitling job in which the translations are already provided and all I need to do is putting them in the video as subtitles (.srt file). I'm just wondering what percentage of my normal subtitling rate should I charge?

Thank you so much.


Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:46
Romanian to English
+ ...
Charging for the effort and time Apr 2, 2010

Hello, Weerapong,

I am not sure my advice reflects the practices of most colleagues, but my pricing policy for anything else than actual translation of an actual text is charging an hourly fee.
My calculation is simple: if I can translate x pages in 1 hour, then I would charge that hourly amount for every other translation-related activity. Of course, the effort might not be the same for other services, so you might want to adapt the fee *a little*.




José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:46
English to Portuguese
+ ...
This is VERY relative Apr 2, 2010

My rate for spotting is 1/3 of my translation rate, both based on total playing time, if I did the translation. The same applies if the translation has been done by one of a very small group of selected colleagues who know how to do it properly.

Otherwise, trouble may be lurking around the corner.

Some people simply translate the script. They often deliver it in continuous text. No way it will fit subtitles, no matter how I break them. In such cases I have to adapt the whole translation, and the rate may be as much as 80% of redoing the translation from scratch.

The first job ever where I burned the subtitles myself was such a case. A small video producer sent me a job from a Fortune 100 company to spot and burn. The translation - as I learned - had been done by the sesquilingual lover of some big shot there, and she was generously overpaid for doing such "difficult" work. That translation shouldn't be changed at all. Some of the most frquent flaws:

  • whole phrases missling
  • invented lines (i.e. nobody said that; where did it come from?)
  • some too long lines, using too long words (e.g. at this present moment instead of simply now.
  • wrong translations (e.g. 64 million became 34 thousand - maybe because mil in PT is a thousand)
  • misspelled words
  • lacking punctuation

How can you sleep with a noise like that?

Furthermore, I translate both ways in one language pair (EN-PT), but speak three more languages (IT-FR-ES) that I don't translate. Though I do spotting in all five, I don't trust my knowlege of the latter three to correct grammar & spelling errors, so whatever is there will be left there.

So IMHO it might depend a lot on the type of translation you get. I suggest you check that before giving an estimate.


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How much should I charge if the translations are already provided?

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