Hard-to-price subtitling/translation job
Thread poster: catinmars

catinmars
France
French to English
Oct 14, 2015

Hi all

It's been a long time since I was here, and I've had to start again with a new profile.

I'm hoping someone might be able to help-

I have accepted a subtitling/translating job for a local club who has interviewed some people about their contacts with a local sportsman.

They have provided me with an hour of video. The French is relatively clear, and the subjects are seated in an office with no background noise. Regional accents, but nothing really challenging.

My challenge is, however, how to quote for this job?

There is no French transcription- I will be translating directly from the video (audio) file. I don't yet know the amount of words spoken obviously, as a total.

It's fairly painstaking....I did an experiment and 3 mins 40 film time took me 40 minutes work time (but very rough first draft, before synthesis and reshaping for screen space/time).

Should I just charge an hourly rate? How much would you recommend?

I will also have to go into the studio and work with the editor to help place the subtitles correctly (it's all a little amateur and improvised I know, but that's the way it has to be).

I guess the question is how much is my time worth? I'm thinking 50 euros an hour to get 25 euros in my hand after French tax and social charges. It seems OK, but I'm wondering if that's undercutting colleagues?

Advice appreciated...thanks


 

Cécile Andrade
United States
Local time: 12:28
Member (2010)
Portuguese to French
+ ...
You have to charge per min. of video recording Oct 14, 2015

anywhere between Euro 4.00/min. to Euro 6.00/min. depending on the subject matter (technical, general) whether you have a script or not, and clearness of the audio files. Ten minutes of recording should take about 1 hour of subtitling (more or less) depending on the above.

Hope it will help.


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:28
German to English
hire an expert for the transcription? Oct 14, 2015

If it's an hour long and the French is clear and you are that slow, it might make sense to just hire a professional transcriptionist for that part of the work (will do a better job faster for less money).
There are some translators who can basically interpret with their fingers, that is, translate while listening to the audio. In that case, it makes sense for one person to do everything, but otherwise, it probably makes sense to divide up the job.


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:28
German to Swedish
+ ...
But Oct 15, 2015

Michael Wetzel wrote:

(...) it might make sense to just hire a professional transcriptionist for that part of the work (will do a better job faster for less money).


High-quality subtitling has gone out of fashion in the general $0.01 trend. I'd be surprised if the budget leaves room for hiring a for a transcriber. And anyway half the time at least is spent splitting and editing the text down to the pithy essence that can be displayed in the time available for each subtitle. Paying extra for a full transcription is probably not really worth it.

I think you're better off translating as you go.

1 hour for 10 minutes video is about right.

[Edited at 2015-10-15 06:50 GMT]


 

catinmars
France
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
still confused! Oct 15, 2015

Thank you very much for your replies-

Cecilea7- thanks, your estimates seem pretty much in line with what I've been reading. The niggling question for me was that I guess I didn't know if translating like this (without script or transcription) was common. So it was hard for me to gauge if these prices applied...so it's not uncommon?

Michael- yes I considered getting a transcriber, but as Joakim Brun says, their budget doesn't stretch to it. And the final subtitle can be quite different to the transcription in the end, so it wouldn't help a lot.

I don't think I'm really really too slow though. With stretches to stand up and stretch my back, and going back and forth on the video to confirm names and mispronounced arcane expressions, I'm pretty much 10 minutes to a minute, more or less. There might be people who can do better but I'm a normal person not a UN olympian translator/interpreter! If only I had that brain capacity I'd be a happy woman! icon_smile.gif

Joakim- thanks for the confirmation. I did a similar job a few months ago and found 1 min film to 8 - 11 minutes was a range, depending on the speech density and clarity.

I should take a proper touch typing course, it would help a lot.

In France I also discovered the recommended rate (French syndicate of audiovisual translators) seems to be "per subtitle" (between 2.80 euros and 4 euros it seems, depending on TV or cinema)

Perhaps I'll quote 3 euros a subtitle.

So in my experiment yesterday, I did 118 subtitles (lines) (roughly) in 40 minutes which makes = 354 euros?? That seems enormous. Even cut in half after taxes.

Is this right?


 

Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:28
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Other rates Oct 15, 2015

catinmars wrote:

Thank you very much for your replies-

Cecilea7- thanks, your estimates seem pretty much in line with what I've been reading. The niggling question for me was that I guess I didn't know if translating like this (without script or transcription) was common. So it was hard for me to gauge if these prices applied...so it's not uncommon?

Michael- yes I considered getting a transcriber, but as Joakim Brun says, their budget doesn't stretch to it. And the final subtitle can be quite different to the transcription in the end, so it wouldn't help a lot.

I don't think I'm really really too slow though. With stretches to stand up and stretch my back, and going back and forth on the video to confirm names and mispronounced arcane expressions, I'm pretty much 10 minutes to a minute, more or less. There might be people who can do better but I'm a normal person not a UN olympian translator/interpreter! If only I had that brain capacity I'd be a happy woman! icon_smile.gif

Joakim- thanks for the confirmation. I did a similar job a few months ago and found 1 min film to 8 - 11 minutes was a range, depending on the speech density and clarity.

I should take a proper touch typing course, it would help a lot.

In France I also discovered the recommended rate (French syndicate of audiovisual translators) seems to be "per subtitle" (between 2.80 euros and 4 euros it seems, depending on TV or cinema)

Perhaps I'll quote 3 euros a subtitle.

So in my experiment yesterday, I did 118 subtitles (lines) (roughly) in 40 minutes which makes = 354 euros?? That seems enormous. Even cut in half after taxes.

Is this right?



I think €4-6/video min is low. For end clients I'd start at €10/video min. But €354 for 40 minutes' work is ridiculous. It's not simultaneous interpreting. Though there is such a thing as live subtitling, for which I might well be tempted to charge that sort of rate.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:28
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Some input Oct 15, 2015

The average ratio I've seen among colleagues translating video is 6:1. This means it takes us 6 minutes to translate one minute of playing time, or that we translate 10 minutes in one solid work hour; no time allotted to stretch or yawn.

Among the people who do it for a living, the slowest reported was 12:1. This may be a beginner, or someone specializing in some subject area that requires extensive research most of the time. The fastest speed demon reported a 5:1.

Quite frankly, I avoid charging clients by working hour on account of two factors, viz.:
a) unpredictability - the client wants to know beforehand how much it will cost; and
b) it involves my personal skill - the client should never be penalized for the translator's lack of experience.

My pet example for (b) above involves DTP. I have been using PageMaker for more than a quarter century. I can do anything with it in a snap. If I charge any such job by the hour, I'll be grossly underpaid for all my investment in mastering PageMaker. On the other hand, if a client asks me to do the very same job using, say, QuarkXPress, they'll be grossly overcharged for the many hours I'll spend reading manuals & help screens, not to mention trial-and-error.

So I only charge by the working hour when the job comprises mostly "being available", such as interpreting. If the interpretee talks like spitfire, or drags over a script, I get the same per hour.


Translation for subtitling prices may vary a lot within the same language pair/market. It ranges from free (i.e. fansubbers) to high quality corporate video (incidentally, my niche). I tend to define corporate video as 'Disney-standard quality with technical vocabulary'.

To give you an idea, taking figures roughly, to translate feature films/TV series on pre-timed "templates", I charge about half per minute of playing time of what I charge for script-less corporate video.

So it's likely that you'll get inconsistent input on rates. It is advisable that you check what your specific market is willing to pay for each type of service, and if that is profitable taking your productivity into account (though it will hopefully improve with practice).


 


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