Subtitle translation: rates per minute
Thread poster: Sjir Worms

Sjir Worms  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
Jan 27, 2016

Dear all,

Do any of you have experience with translating subtitles at a rate per minute of runtime?

I'm in touch with a US based company for translating (movie, series, dvd) subtitles. I've never translated subtitles before. They provide me with the English texts, and I only have to translate them into Dutch. There are no issues of timing, transcription, etc., since the company does this in-house. I only have to take into account a maximum nr. of characters (which is not that hard, since the source and target languages are rather similar). Only problem is: they won't accept a per word or per hour quote. Do any of you know how to (roughly) calculate the nr. of words per minute of video runtime? Is there an average of words/minute? I'm just asking so I can calculate if they offer me a fair rate, and if they aren't, what counter-offer I could make them...

Many thanks in advance!


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's minute-based Jan 28, 2016

Imagine an image-heavy clip you had to watch 20 minutes of before you got a clear line. Just because you're watching passively doesn't mean you're not spending time you could be using on another job.

A professional subtitler once told me 30 minutes of footage a day is reasonable in the trade. I've found this helpful. On that basis, your day rate could be divided by 30.


Local time: 10:53
English to French
Browse the forum! Jan 28, 2016

Hi Sjir Worms,

Check the other threads in this forum, the question has been asked a thousand times.
Be careful : translation for subtitles is a very specific task, although every 'outsider' seems to think it's easy, quick and fun. And sorry to state the obvious : don't do it if they don't give you the video to see what you're translating...


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:53
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Carve that in stone!!! Jan 28, 2016

Sylvano wrote:

Translation for subtitles is a very specific task, although every 'outsider' seems to think it's easy, quick and fun.

Perhaps have it on a billboard with blinking neon letters somewhere.


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Subtitle translation: rates per minute

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