Subtitle rates for English --> Norwegian translation
Thread poster: xxxlarsjorgen
xxxlarsjorgen
Local time: 08:00
English to Norwegian
Jun 5, 2010

Been reading a lot in these forums lately, and I`m kinda surprised how well people are being payed. I gotta admit I feel a little exploited by the company I work for, as I get payed about 150 USD for a regular tv episode with a running time of about 45 minutes. I usually do an episode in a day, and at most I`ve translated 25-26 of them in a month. I have to work this much to get the ends to meet, and several times it have crossed my mind, the question if every translator work just as much as I do. With the paychecks most of you here obviously are getting, I guess not; you don`t have to..

I work REALLY hard. I`m fast, I always deliver on time, my quality is close to flawless. I really think both my work and my time is worth a lot more than 150 bucks for maybe 8-10 hours work.

If there are any Norwegian translators here (I know about a few), could you please enlighten me; I understand that what I`m getting paid is rock bottom, but what would be an acceptable rate for regular subtitling? Just translating from source file, nothing else.

And I do understand if you don`t want to share how much you get payed or where you get your assignments, as I`m in fact are a competitor.. Would be nice of you to help me, though.

Thank you,
Lars

[Edited at 2010-06-05 16:45 GMT]


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Kjersti Farrier  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:00
English to Norwegian (Bokmal)
+ ...
Pretty average rate Jun 5, 2010

Hi Lars,
I used to work as a Nor->Eng subtitler, but I now only do "normal" translations.
I used to earn EURO 3.25/3.45 per minute, depending on what subject the programs were. I also did draft translations, mainly they were already in Swedish, for them I go on average EUR 2.30. I had colleagues on the same rates (who had more experience and qualifications than me - so they weren't low rates as I was a beginner either).

I believe that as a translator I earn better and I also get a lot more work and on a wider range of subjects - which does of course make the work interesting. Have you done any work as a regular translator? Perhaps it is worth looking into, also try other subtitling agencies - there are several out there whom I am pretty convinced would be happy to hire experienced subtitlers.

All the best,
Kjersti


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xxxlarsjorgen
Local time: 08:00
English to Norwegian
TOPIC STARTER
Pretty low... Jun 6, 2010

Hi Kjersti,

Thank you for taking the time.

I really think the payment you talk about is far too low. Maybe I should try something else than subtitling, then? Get paid per word instead of per minute? The company I work for have given me several projects with video games in the past, either the entire game or just parts of it. I made about 3 times as much then as I do now translating tv series... The thing is, "my" company seldom get video games, and I`ve emailed several companies that work with video game translation only but I haven`t heard from any of them.

In short: I feel kinda lost here because I don`t know who to talk to to get a job that pays more.



Do you get paid per word with these normal translations? Is it ok if I ask how much you get per word and what company you work with?

Thank you,
Lars


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Kjersti Farrier  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:00
English to Norwegian (Bokmal)
+ ...
I sent you... Jun 6, 2010

...an e-mail

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jbjb  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 09:00
Member (2005)
Estonian to English
+ ...
rock bottom Jun 12, 2010

Yes, this is something you have to accept - in most countries subtitling is the rock bottom of translation business. You earn more with any other type of translation. Subtitling is done for two reasons: 1) it is generally easier than any other type of translation
2) or the translator is sincerely interested in audiovisual translations.

The money paid for subtitling is not the rock bottom only if:
1) you work in a country that has strong trade unions keeping up the tariffs (notably France)
2) you work directly for a TV channel (usually state-owned) that keeps tariffs normal (also thanks to trade unions or using the "with our own translation team we get the best-quality translations" excuse). Such state-owned channels regularly get lower bids from subtitling companies that pay rock bottom to translators - and there is always the danger that when budget cuts kick in, the translation team is sacrificed and translations are outsourced. As I understand, in Scandinavia many (or most?) state-owned channels have managed to keep their own translators this far.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Continued... Jun 12, 2010

jbjb wrote:
The money paid for subtitling is not the rock bottom only if:


3. You work on corporate video, either for multinational/international companies or their advertising agencies, that demand top quality.

4. You work for Disney* their local distributor, or the latter's outsourcees in subtitling. Disney gives full support, but will approve nothing short of perfection.

* I mean films under other brands, such as Buena Vista, Dreamworks, Touchstone, not cartoons, which are dubbed (under the same qyuality requirements0.


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jbjb  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 09:00
Member (2005)
Estonian to English
+ ...
Disney Jun 13, 2010

Actually Disney is not that tough in smaller markets. I've seen (or rather heard) a couple of rather high-profile animations dubbed in smaller Eastern European languages - the quality is sometimes horrendous. If they cannot assure quality for such big cinema releases, they cannot be tough on other projects either, especially in various localised Disney TV channels that give the biggest amount of work.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Disney in small markets Jun 13, 2010

jbjb wrote:
Actually Disney is not that tough in smaller markets. I've seen (or rather heard) a couple of rather high-profile animations dubbed in smaller Eastern European languages - the quality is sometimes horrendous. If they cannot assure quality for such big cinema releases, they cannot be tough on other projects either, especially in various localised Disney TV channels that give the biggest amount of work.


I don't have any information on this, but I'd guess that smaller markets would be served with Disney material via a sub-sub-distributor.

I do have first-hand information from people who dub Disney material for Brazil that everything is sent to a professional nitpicker (supposedly a Brazilian native, whose identity is unknown for good reasons) in the USA, who will spot any flaws and demand they be fixed before releasing for distribution.

The results are well worth it. When she was younger, my now almost 9-yo daughter used to have the TV always on the (dubbed) Disney Channel while playing. So the flawless language seeped in, and she acquired a natural speech using perfect grammar and enunciation. Many teachers are amazed at her vocaulary and how she properly handles some rather difficult verb tenses. Though I can't tell for sure how much of it stems from natural talent, and what role the Disney "osmosis" played in the process, the outcomes are visible.


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Sylvano
Local time: 08:00
English to French
Not quite Jun 14, 2010

jbjb wrote:
The money paid for subtitling is not the rock bottom only if:
1) you work in a country that has strong trade unions keeping up the tariffs (notably France)


No, we really don't have 'strong trade unions' in France nowadays (in any sector). We have only one very small trade union for all 'authors' (music, comics, dance, audiovisual translators, etc.) and a very active association (200 members), not a trade union at all, devoted to subtitling, dubbing and voice-over. Our market is as wild and deregulated as any other and our social protection is not as high as you might think. But we fight individually, and sometimes collectively as individuals. Okay, maybe because we have a particularly strong tradition in that field.

[Edited at 2010-06-14 19:27 GMT]


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Subtitle rates for English --> Norwegian translation

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