Subtitles from scratch
Thread poster: Ismael Romero

Ismael Romero
Local time: 13:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 28, 2017

Subtitles from scratch

Hello to everyone, I have many questions integrated in one, so I'll try to go straight to the point.
As a newbie on both translation and subtitling fields , I would like to get some direct clients while I do some jobs in freelancers platforms to grow my portfolio.
So I was thinking to offer a sample of my services to different individuals and companies that have lectures, talks, seminars, etc in English and need to be subtitled into Spanish since they'll catch a much bigger audience.
Supposing that I just called the attention of any of these prospects, how much should I charge?
I would do all the job from scratch, transcription, translation, subtitling and time coding on videos that go from 30 to 45 minutes, I think is something between 5000 and 7000 words on average.
In this forum I read that the average lowest price is between $3 an $5 american dollars per minute but,
1- Does that price include the translation already or is just for subtitling?
2- How can I break down prices?
4- What are considered fair prices in the industry but considering I am still a nobody?
3- Is there any free subtitling software suitable to show a professional work?
5 - What is a standard delivering format for time codes?

Thank you very much to all of you for your time!


Kim Edwards-Buarque  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:36
Member (2016)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
My experience so far.... Apr 30, 2017

Hi Ismael,

I became a full-time translator around a year ago, and whilst I didn´t initially promote transcription/translating services, they have arisen through working with agencies that I am collaborating with for translation projects.
I have done both transcription (EN-EN) and more recently, translating straight from the source (SP/PT) into EN, without the transcription stage. Through working with these agencies, I have charged 6€/min for transcription, and around 35% more when it´s straight translation. I haven´t until now worked with subtitling software, but I would be interested in learning more about possible software options, as it's something I really enjoy.

I would have thought that with direct clients, one would charge more per minute, especially if you´re taking care of the whole process. On the other hand, it depends on the material at hand. Some producers request a translation for unedited video first, in order to assess what material they have, to later decide on the edit.
In any case, it may be a good idea to work with some agencies anyway to get some experience with the timecodes, the time that each task involves (I find that generally, 1 minute of audio takes between 15-20 mins to translate if it´s a monologue. When there are several people speaking at the same time it will take longer. Essentially, your charge should reflect your hourly rate, as at the end of the day it´s your time and only you know how much that is worth.

I hope this helps, I would welcome any information on subtitling software if you receive any feedback.


Ismael Romero
Local time: 13:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Subtitles from scratch May 1, 2017

Hi Kim,
thank you very much for your answer, I'll count on that to evaluate pros and cons and I definitely will apply to some companies to gain experience and improve my skills to play at a higher level as soon as I can.


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