What is a decent rate in Europe?
Thread poster: Nathalie Schon

Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:58
German to French
+ ...
Mar 8, 2014

We are having a disagreement about decent subtitling rates in Europe here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/soustitrage-est-art-Subtitling-is-4373081

Some think 10€/min (time-coding included) is ok
Others think it should be 20-25€/min for this job.

Care to join the discussion? Here or in the Linkedin group?


 

Julija Dornik  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:58
English to Slovenian
+ ...
content Mar 8, 2014

Hi there,

For my last time-coding job I got paid 20£/hour and was able to write cca. 4 to 5 minutes in one hour. The topic was general conversation, speech was very clear and slow and only occasionally were people talking over one another. I would say that for me, that was quite a reasonable payment, but then again, I am just starting out.

I would say that if the video/audio is not very understandable and there are many people talking or when the topic of conversation is more specific to a certain field, then the rate should be per minute and higher. But if it is pretty much general, I would normally charge per hour.

It all depends on the content, really. Just my two cents.


 

Monica Paolillo
Italy
Local time: 00:58
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
I checked but... Mar 8, 2014

Hi Natalie,

I'm curious but I can't find that thead on LinkedIn. I clicked the link you posted but just found a list of all recent topics.

Ciao



quote]Nathalie Schon wrote:

We are having a disagreement about decent subtitling rates in Europe here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/soustitrage-est-art-Subtitling-is-4373081

Some think 10€/min (time-coding included) is ok
Others think it should be 20-25€/min for this job.

Care to join the discussion? Here or in the Linkedin group? [/quote]


 

Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:58
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Rates Mar 8, 2014

Hi Monica, Try this: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Tarifs-soustitrage-Subtitling-rates-4373081.S.5848044797880737792?trk=groups/include/item_snippet-0-b-ttl

 

Monica Paolillo
Italy
Local time: 00:58
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
10 eur per minute is fine with me Mar 8, 2014

That's the rate I generally charge for one-time projects. Honestly, I also accept lower rates for high volume projects with a low minute-to-dialog density ratio or projects coming from the US where unfortunately the exchange rate is most unfavorable these days. I think people charging 20 eur per minute may just be too slow and they are certainly far from being competitive. If you're a fast cuer I'd say 10 per minute is in fact a desirable rate for spotting plus translation. You've got to be talented and accurate but also fast to make this business profitable otherwise it's simply not worth it.

Nathalie Schon wrote:

We are having a disagreement about decent subtitling rates in Europe here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/soustitrage-est-art-Subtitling-is-4373081

Some think 10€/min (time-coding included) is ok
Others think it should be 20-25€/min for this job.

Care to join the discussion? Here or in the Linkedin group?


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:58
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Good news in terms of globalization Mar 8, 2014

Monica Paolillo wrote:

That's the rate I generally charge for one-time projects. Honestly, I also accept lower rates for high volume projects with a low minute-to-dialog density ratio or projects coming from the US where unfortunately the exchange rate is most unfavorable these days. I think people charging 20 eur per minute may just be too slow and they are certainly far from being competitive. If you're a fast cuer I'd say 10 per minute is in fact a desirable rate for spotting plus translation. You've got to be talented and accurate but also fast to make this business profitable otherwise it's simply not worth it.


If you can read Portuguese, this table shows the rates suggested by the Brazilian Translators' Syndicate. Video translation is the last group, at the very bottom of the page.

Basically:
Translation for subtitling with full original script: BRL 23.00/minute
Translation for subtitles without script: BRL 34.50/minute
Assitional time-spotting: 30% of the above

As EUR 1 = BRL 3.25, your rates are pretty close to those suggested in the world's second largest community of people having Italian ancestry.

In reality, translators here working on corporate video and subtitling high-profile films actually get these rates.
B-movies, TV "crap", and some less popular series may be done for considerably less.

It's good to see translation prices worldwide getting closer to a somewhat uniform level, since it is one kind of work that can be done anywhere via Internet.


 

Andriy Bublikov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 01:58
Member (2009)
French to Russian
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Listen to José Henrique Lamensdorf Mar 8, 2014

Dear Nathalie,

Please read this http://www.snac.fr/actus.htm#db

http://www.proz.com/forum/french/265681-tarifs_du_sous_titrage.html

http://www.proz.com/forum/subtitling/265679-what_is_a_decent_rate_in_europe.html

http://www.proz.com/forum/subtitling/264794-subtitling_rates.html

http://www.proz.com/forum/french/147464-de_lintér
%C3%AAt_du_voice_over_pour_un_traducteur_technique-page2.html#2249629

And listen to José Henrique Lamensdorf.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:58
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I was not saying anything, just putting facts together Mar 8, 2014

The Brazilian union can't go beyond suggesting rates, otherwise they could be charged and heavily fined for trying to set up a cartel. Some of their rates may be deemed "wishful thinking" to some extent, hence their suggestions are always on the high side, which is normal. It would be quite difficult for a translator anywhere to demand higher prices than the local union suggests.

J'ai peu etudié, il-y-a longtemps, e trop oublié de la langue française. So, from the links provided, I gather that in France subtitling rates have a somewhat strong enforcement, as compared to anyhere else. Peut-être que je me suis trompé.

I don't know whether France has any kind of enforcement towards having films translated and subtitled for commercial/public exhibition (i.e. TV, cinema) within the French territory.

If not, this could be done in Switzerland, Belgium, Québec, or any French-speaking African country. However it would be worse if it could be outsourced to foreign (I mean out of France) agencies at the statutory prices, so they would hire French translators in France to do it for lower rates, thus thwarting the entire intent of setting national rates.

The nature of translation work over the web gives us - translators - ubiquity. Apart from minor other matters, any of us could move anywhere on this planet and, as long as an adequate Internect connection were available, go on working exactly as before.

This is why I see any coincidence between rates across borders as an improvement. It means that cost is becoming less of a reason to make translation work cross more borders than it should, either on the way in or on the way out, IOW translation getting done more often within either the source or destination language "venue".

A concurring movement is despicable-quality, rock bottom-priced translation vendors being gradually swept off the marketplace by free machine translation, whose price and speed are unbeatable.

The major retardant to these changes is the existence of 'desperate trenzlaters' who accept any compensation, no matter how minor, to pretend they are doing actual translation work.

Now I've said something.


 

Little Woods  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Member
English to Vietnamese
You are so keen Mar 10, 2014

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

A concurring movement is despicable-quality, rock bottom-priced translation vendors being gradually swept off the marketplace by free machine translation, whose price and speed are unbeatable.

The major retardant to these changes is the existence of 'desperate trenzlaters' who accept any compensation, no matter how minor, to pretend they are doing actual translation work.

Now I've said something.


I like what you stated above. I just hope those people leave here soon or open their eyes and minds before they destroy what are left for us.


 

Ola Bietti  Identity Verified
Poland
French to Polish
+ ...
What about rates per subtitle? Apr 5, 2014

Hi,
I wanted to ask what are rates per subtitle around Europe? I have no idea, I've always worked on minutes...
In that particular case it would be without coding. Thank you.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:58
English to German
+ ...
Calculate your price based on the work involved Apr 5, 2014

Nathalie Schon wrote:

We are having a disagreement about decent subtitling rates in Europe here: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/soustitrage-est-art-Subtitling-is-4373081

Some think 10€/min (time-coding included) is ok
Others think it should be 20-25€/min for this job.

Care to join the discussion? Here or in the Linkedin group?


Hi Nathalie,

I've got a slight problem with the title of your post - I know what you mean - but it gives the impression that there is some sort of "typical/all-around acceptable" rate for subtitling - and there isn't because it always depends on the work involved which can vary a lot.

Here's my suggestion: if you have to quote per min/ you should first do this:

check out the video/audio, estimate how long it will take you to do everything -

how many words are involved here per each minute (how many words total) - you might have to figure in the transcription of the original text first and figure that in unless you are working from a script
translation of transcribed text
any other work (incl. restriction/requirements such as limit of translated words, subject matter - creative texts and limitations are very difficult as you know anyway)

It will be extremely important to assess the amount of words spoken on the tapes, the complexity of speech, quality of speech/recording, the speed of the speech (when people talk fast, it becomes more difficult to understand them).

Taking all this into account, you can then figure how long /how many hours it will take you to do this. From a decent (decent for YOU) hourly rate (and total price) you can then convert that price into a per-minute price to give to the client if that is what the client wants.

This is my approach. If they can't pay it, I don't do it.

HTH

B

PS: There is always room for some flexibility on the price. But it must remain professional. My question to you: were royalties ever a consideration in your subtitling work (commercials, films) ?

PS II:
More on the work of subtitling (just for reference):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subtitling
Subtitles can be used to translate dialog from a foreign language into the native language of the audience. ...

Subtitle translation is sometimes very different from the translation of written text. Usually, during the process of creating subtitles for a film or television program, the picture and each sentence of the audio are analyzed by the subtitle translator; also, the subtitle translator may or may not have access to a written transcript of the dialog. Especially in the field of commercial subtitles, the subtitle translator often interprets what is meant, rather than translating the manner in which the dialog is stated; that is, the meaning is more important than the form—the audience does not always appreciate this, as it can be frustrating for people who are familiar with some of the spoken language; spoken language may contain verbal padding or culturally implied meanings that cannot be conveyed in the written subtitles. Also, the subtitle translator may also condense the dialog to achieve an acceptable reading speed, whereby purpose is more important than form. ...

Some subtitlers purposely provide edited subtitles or captions to match the needs of their audience, for learners of the spoken dialog as a second or foreign language, visual learners, beginning readers who are deaf or hard of hearing and for people with learning and/or mental disabilities. For example, for many of its films and television programs, PBS displays standard captions representing speech the program audio, word-for-word, if the viewer selects "CC1", by using the television remote control or on-screen menu, however, they also provide edited captions to present simplified sentences at a slower rate, if the viewer selects "CC2". Programs with a very diverse audience also often have captions in another language. This is common with popular Latin American soap operas in Spanish. Since CC1 and CC2 share bandwidth, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends translation subtitles be placed in CC3. CC4, which shares bandwidth with CC3, is also available, but programs very seldom use it.



[Edited at 2014-04-05 15:41 GMT]


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:58
English to German
+ ...
Caution per minute versus per video minute; amount of work involved Apr 5, 2014

Unfortunately, some translators are not at all clear on the per-minute concept or the work involved in subtitling.

Please have a look at the reference below. Even though juvera makes the point that per minute refers to per video-minute, she then goes on to say that this kind of work does and should pay less than normal translations which is completely false (sorry). The amount of work involved in subtitling is always much more than text translation (unless you are given a written/typed text to translate without any instructions/requirements).

juvera who is trying to correct a misunderstanding actually displays quite a few misunderstandings on her part.

So, the following comments (juvera's comments below) are not acceptable conclusions to me and they represent misguided attitudes/expectations (as far as I am concerned).


juvera wrote:
The rates are generally lower than what you would get doing other translations. Let's face it, if you understand everyday language and a certain amount of slang, it should be easier to translate subtitles than medical, technical or other specialised text, and the sentences are usually shorter, or at least there are lots of short sentences.
A good subtitling company also provides some research.
All that means it is usually faster to do, so there is some justification of the lower price.


My take on it:

The rates should be much higher than what you would get doing other translations (because the work is most often much more difficult and complex involving transcription and translation/ understanding audio, working with strict time limits for the translated text, fast speech, regional dialects, etc.)

Everyday language and a certain amount of slang is often much harder to understand because the person speaks much faster, speaks a regional dialect, abbreviates, pronounces words differently, combines syllables, leaves out syllables, etc.

Neither spoken slang nor medical, technical or other specialized text are easier to understand and translate than written text (you would have to work off a script to put this on a par with typed text), and sentences are not necessarily shorter; from my own experience, most often, a lot of text is crammed into one minute, meaning the speech is usually pretty fast and the sentences can be quite long - this makes it hard to achieve the goals set by time limits.



So read the following with caution: it's a reference for how misunderstood subtitling work is amongst translators:

From:
http://www.proz.com/forum/subtitling/53606-[subtitling_rates]_price_per_minute.html

juvera wrote:

GoodWords wrote:

How do you know how much to charge per unit of your time? The idea is that you should earn approximately the same amount of money in a given time period whether you are translating and charging by volume, or subtitling and charging by time. It doesn't make sense to price yourself cheaper by one method than the other. Thus, don't set your time rate based on someone else's suggestions, but on your own rates.

How to calculate your hourly rate (and by extension your rate per minute)? How many words can you translate per hour in an average text (mid-way between the hardest and easiest texts you typically translate)? Don't forget to account for time spent on research and proofreading.

To help you get an accurate idea of what to bill, try tracking the total time spent for a few of your typical translation projects. Divide the total earned by the exact time spent translating, researching and proofreading to find out how much you earned per hour of work.



[Edited at 2006-08-18 20:11]


I think there is a basic misunderstanding here.
When they talk about 'price per minute' in subtitling, they are not talking about the amount of time the translator spends translating, but the length of the film, documentary stb.
The big difference is that you won't necessarily know in advance, how verbose the project is going to be. The wordcount between 90min feature films can vary up to 60-70% or even more!(Think of monosyllabic John Wain and all the time spent riding, hiding, shooting, or a Jerry Springer TV episode where there isn't enough time to draw breath, because there are three people speaking non-stop at the same time.) Regardless of translating 80 words or 150 per minute, you still end up being paid the same amount.

However, if you do a variety of projects for the company for a period of time, it evens out at the end.

The rates are generally lower than what you would get doing other translations. Let's face it, if you understand everyday language and a certain amount of slang, it should be easier to translate subtitles than medical, technical or other specialised text, and the sentences are usually shorter, or at least there are lots of short sentences.
A good subtitling company also provides some research.
All that means it is usually faster to do, so there is some justification of the lower price.

On the other hand, if you are not experienced, you will find the constrains of subtitling difficult at the beginning. It takes time to learn the ropes.

Sorry, that I am so late with this posting that it may not help you, but I thought it is better late than never.

Good luck.
Judith


PS III: the name of the actor in the quoted text is correctly spelled like this: John Wayne

[Edited at 2014-04-05 22:31 GMT]


 

jbjb  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 01:58
Member (2005)
Estonian to English
+ ...
European rate Apr 6, 2014

Hi Ola! There's no European rate for subtitling. As salaries in Western Europe are 2-4 times higher than in Eastern Europe, this is also reflected in the rates for subtitling.

In determining the rate per subtitle, it is important to know the source material.
If you are working with an original template (prepared for translating to 40-50 languages), subtitles are usually very short and the text has been chopped into 1-2-3 second subtitles. The per subtitle rate can therefore be lower.
This usually applies for big international subtitling companies that do not have local offices.

If you are working with a template that has been made for local purposes, then usually many subtitles have been merged and the text is mode condensed. You have exactly the same amount of text but now you have longer subtitles, usually 2-3-5 seconds in length. If the original template had 1,000 subtitles, the modified template would have 700-800 subtitles and you should consider a higher rate per subtitle.
This usually applies for companies that have local offices in Poland. The template file you get may not be in the original language but in some other Eastern European (or Dutch, Scandinavian) language.

Just look at the number of subtitles in a few files and see if it comes to at least USD 3 per minute. Also bear in mind that nearly 100% of subtitling work between companies (your clients) is handled with per-minute rates and that's how translators are usually paid - very easy to calculate, the company just takes it cut (usually 10-30% in subtitling).

If a company insists on paying per subtitle, it usually means that it is more favourable for them than the per-minute rate and that they are trying to increase their cut.


 

kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:58
English
+ ...
Exactly Apr 8, 2014

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

Unfortunately, some translators are not at all clear on the per-minute concept or the work involved in subtitling.

Please have a look at the reference below. Even though juvera makes the point that per minute refers to per video-minute, she then goes on to say that this kind of work does and should pay less than normal translations which is completely false (sorry). The amount of work involved in subtitling is always much more than text translation (unless you are given a written/typed text to translate without any instructions/requirements).

juvera who is trying to correct a misunderstanding actually displays quite a few misunderstandings on her part.

So, the following comments (juvera's comments below) are not acceptable conclusions to me and they represent misguided attitudes/expectations (as far as I am concerned).


juvera wrote:
The rates are generally lower than what you would get doing other translations. Let's face it, if you understand everyday language and a certain amount of slang, it should be easier to translate subtitles than medical, technical or other specialised text, and the sentences are usually shorter, or at least there are lots of short sentences.
A good subtitling company also provides some research.
All that means it is usually faster to do, so there is some justification of the lower price.


My take on it:

The rates should be much higher than what you would get doing other translations (because the work is most often much more difficult and complex involving transcription and translation/ understanding audio, working with strict time limits for the translated text, fast speech, regional dialects, etc.)

Everyday language and a certain amount of slang is often much harder to understand because the person speaks much faster, speaks a regional dialect, abbreviates, pronounces words differently, combines syllables, leaves out syllables, etc.

Neither spoken slang nor medical, technical or other specialized text are easier to understand and translate than written text (you would have to work off a script to put this on a par with typed text), and sentences are not necessarily shorter; from my own experience, most often, a lot of text is crammed into one minute, meaning the speech is usually pretty fast and the sentences can be quite long - this makes it hard to achieve the goals set by time limits.



So read the following with caution: it's a reference for how misunderstood subtitling work is amongst translators:

From:
http://www.proz.com/forum/subtitling/53606-[subtitling_rates]_price_per_minute.html

juvera wrote:

GoodWords wrote:

How do you know how much to charge per unit of your time? The idea is that you should earn approximately the same amount of money in a given time period whether you are translating and charging by volume, or subtitling and charging by time. It doesn't make sense to price yourself cheaper by one method than the other. Thus, don't set your time rate based on someone else's suggestions, but on your own rates.

How to calculate your hourly rate (and by extension your rate per minute)? How many words can you translate per hour in an average text (mid-way between the hardest and easiest texts you typically translate)? Don't forget to account for time spent on research and proofreading.

To help you get an accurate idea of what to bill, try tracking the total time spent for a few of your typical translation projects. Divide the total earned by the exact time spent translating, researching and proofreading to find out how much you earned per hour of work.



[Edited at 2006-08-18 20:11]


I think there is a basic misunderstanding here.
When they talk about 'price per minute' in subtitling, they are not talking about the amount of time the translator spends translating, but the length of the film, documentary stb.
The big difference is that you won't necessarily know in advance, how verbose the project is going to be. The wordcount between 90min feature films can vary up to 60-70% or even more!(Think of monosyllabic John Wain and all the time spent riding, hiding, shooting, or a Jerry Springer TV episode where there isn't enough time to draw breath, because there are three people speaking non-stop at the same time.) Regardless of translating 80 words or 150 per minute, you still end up being paid the same amount.

However, if you do a variety of projects for the company for a period of time, it evens out at the end.

The rates are generally lower than what you would get doing other translations. Let's face it, if you understand everyday language and a certain amount of slang, it should be easier to translate subtitles than medical, technical or other specialised text, and the sentences are usually shorter, or at least there are lots of short sentences.
A good subtitling company also provides some research.
All that means it is usually faster to do, so there is some justification of the lower price.

On the other hand, if you are not experienced, you will find the constrains of subtitling difficult at the beginning. It takes time to learn the ropes.

Sorry, that I am so late with this posting that it may not help you, but I thought it is better late than never.

Good luck.
Judith


PS III: the name of the actor in the quoted text is correctly spelled like this: John Wayne

[Edited at 2014-04-05 22:31 GMT]


The constraints of subtitling usually mean that the job is much more difficult than a straight text translation, especially if you're working into a language that has complex constructions and is more verbose than the source language because you have to edit much harder to produce comprehensible subtitles. It's not so bad if you have a script, but if you're working from audio alone, that can be extremely demanding, especially as some actors seem to believe that mumbling their lines adds something to their character! (And you can guarantee that those are the ones for which you won't get a script.) If you're working from a translation template, someone else has usually done a lot of the hard work already by condensing the source text and providing translation notes.

I recently did a word count on some programmes I'd subtitled in response to a query about translation volume per day, and was shocked by the figures. My subtitling work is charged per programme minute and includes spotting. Keeping to the targets set by clients for output in minutes per day can in some cases mean translating 5,000 source words, for which I get paid much less than I would for the equivalent text translation.


 

brunoccj
Taiwan
Local time: 06:58
English to Chinese
1 min. of no-stop-conversation video takes 12 min. to translate May 13, 2014

Then do you math and decide if the hourly rate is acceptable for you.

Like those comments said previously, 5 minutes of video takes 1 hour.

So it's averagely 3-7 usd depending on your country's GDP per capita.

I personally would charge 6 time the hourly pay of a convenience store clerk (3 usd per hour) in my country.

Entertainment industry media involves lots of local slangs to look up, the pay should not be so low.


 


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