Proofreading subtitles, what to expect?
Thread poster: Eli Knutsen

Eli Knutsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:48
Member (2016)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Oct 17, 2016

I see a lot of discussions around the net about going rates for translating subtitles.
In a short periode now I've been offered three different jobs in proofreading subtitles.
The rate they offer are ridiculously low, but I'm not sure how much I can ask for.
Does anyone in here do these kind of jobs? And, how much do you get paid?


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It's real time work Oct 17, 2016

If it were about proofreading TEXT, some people are fast readers, and spot mistakes easily. Meanwhile others are slow readers, and it may take them more than a once-over to spot mistakes and fix them.

As always, you are selling your time at work. If it were text, a very lazy proofreader would merely shoot it through Word's spelling and grammar checker, and many pages could be a matter of minutes, if mistakes were just occasional.

When it's about video, there is no deal. An absolutely perfect subtitled 90-minute video will take the laziest and/or most careless proofreader AT LEAST 90 minutes to go through it.

So, no matter how sloppy anyone may be at work, low rates here mean selling their time really cheap. It is not possible to proofread video subtitles while playing it on fast forward.


Kalyanasundar subramaniam
Local time: 05:18
Tamil to English
+ ...
Proof reading subtitles Oct 17, 2016

You never know about the quality of the subtitles. If the quality is awfully bad,then corrections might take more time.
There could be wrong translations or missing content.Unless the translator is well versed in Source and Target languages there could be contextual errors in subtitles. So my suggestion would be to fix some percentage of your per minute subtitling rate(For run time of the video) as rate for proof reading subtitles.


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:48
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Assessment of the actual work scope Oct 17, 2016

When it comes to proof-reading subtitles, two factors need to be taken into consideration, first, the quality of the translation, incl. character count per line, and second, the quality of the video.

As José said, you will need an absolute minimum of 90 minutes to proof-read the translation of a video of the same length, provided the translation is 100% flawless.

On average, you can estimate that the proof-reading will take you about 1.5 - 2 x the length of the video. Again, if the translation is good and complete.

Regarding payment, my mantra is, an hour of my time is an hour of my time - which needs to be paid for, regardless of what I am working on. Therefore, charging your hourly rate for this type of work comes natural.icon_wink.gif


jbjb  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:48
Estonian to English
+ ...
proof Oct 17, 2016

Depends on the company and your nerve but my advice is to avoid.
If it's a major company often mentioned in the forums, you can often expect horrendous translation quality for a ridiculously low rate because absolutely everyone agreeing to the low translation rate is allowed to "translate". Very often proofreading means retranslation (if you take the job seriously).
A typical rate for proofreading is traditionally 50% of the translation rate.
Nowadays many companies pay 10-20% of the translation rate (often meaning you get USD 30-50 for proofreading a full feature film) and try to pretend it is just like watching a film and getting paid for it. This is very-very-very rarely the case.


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Proofreading subtitles, what to expect?

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