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[Subtitling Rates] per minute rates
Thread poster: The LT>EN Guy

Eeva Lilley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:43
English to Finnish
+ ...
UK rates Sep 30, 2008

I work for three UK subtitling companies, they all pay between 3 and 4 pounds per pm for translation (no timecueing). The rates have been going steadily down over the last 3 or 4 years. The subtitling companies blame the studios, I personally blame some US and Asian companies that have undercut the rates in an outrageous and blatant way. Where they find subtitlers for their rates remains a mystery.

Viorel Tiple
 

Steinar Beddari  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 19:43
Member (2010)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
A newbie's opinion. Nov 16, 2008

Hi there everyone.


Looking around here on the forum I couldn't avoid stumbling upon numerous topics about rates, quality of translation, agencies, freelancers and whatnot. It seems to be a big issue.

As a complete newbie in the world of translation and subtitling, I naturally hesitate to blatantly flaunt my possibly ignorant opinion on an internet forum. God knows there are enough of these people whom the internet, with its promise of anonymity and wealth of info
... See more
Hi there everyone.


Looking around here on the forum I couldn't avoid stumbling upon numerous topics about rates, quality of translation, agencies, freelancers and whatnot. It seems to be a big issue.

As a complete newbie in the world of translation and subtitling, I naturally hesitate to blatantly flaunt my possibly ignorant opinion on an internet forum. God knows there are enough of these people whom the internet, with its promise of anonymity and wealth of information, turns into experts in just about any field they once read something about in a magazine.

So, taking great care not to fall into the aforementioned category, I submit the following:


Talk and/or whining about rates seems useless to me. If you want to work in a pair where translators are available in 3rd world countries, your rates probably can't compete if you live in the UK, Switzerland or Scandinavia. It's a market. You can't provide services at a competitive price to quality ratio, and you won't be hired.

Another thing that seems to be hard to grasp, is that the rate an agency offers often reflects (in addition to the state of the market) what they are looking for in return. If you work for 3 USD per video minute, you should work the rate, so to speak, to arrive at what for you is an acceptable hourly wage. Likewise, if you offer a client a certain rate, this should reflect the speed at which you intend to work, and the quality you aim for.


Just my thoughts.
Feel free to put this newbie in his place, should this all be hogwash

Regards,
Steinar

[Edited at 2008-11-16 17:55 GMT]
Collapse


 

kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:43
English
+ ...
Rates and quality Nov 18, 2008

SteinarB wrote:


Talk and/or whining about rates seems useless to me. If you want to work in a pair where translators are available in 3rd world countries, your rates probably can't compete if you live in the UK, Switzerland or Scandinavia. It's a market. You can't provide services at a competitive price to quality ratio, and you won't be hired.

Another thing that seems to be hard to grasp, is that the rate an agency offers often reflects (in addition to the state of the market) what they are looking for in return. If you work for 3 USD per video minute, you should work the rate, so to speak, to arrive at what for you is an acceptable hourly wage. Likewise, if you offer a client a certain rate, this should reflect the speed at which you intend to work, and the quality you aim for.


Regards,
Steinar

[Edited at 2008-11-16 17:55 GMT]


You do have a point there, but from experience, some of the UK subtitling houses outsourced a lot of work to India a couple of years ago. Soon after, they stopped doing that because their clients and proofers complained about the quality of the work, mainly due to mishearings, lack of understanding of regional dialects and slang, not to mention failure to understand cultural references and jokes.

Basically, you get what you pay for. If you're happy to have low quality captions, that's what you get. If you want good quality subtitling and/or translation, you have to pay for it. Some companies are trying to drive the rates down even lower here now. I've had to decline some jobs recently because I couldn't afford to carry out the work. I'd have to do a 16-hour day working flat out to make a decent amount of money at the rate they offered and life's too short for that.


Ananya Banerjee
 

Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:43
German to French
+ ...
Comparing oranges and apples Feb 9, 2009

5US$/min is without cueing!
How can you compare with your rate???

How much are you paid without cueing?



Sylvano wrote:

Yes, those are French companies.
And those are set rates too, for all translators
(cueing + translating, indeed).

I too have worked for big bad companies
trying to pay as low as you say per minute.
They have no limits in that matter, but I do.
Subtitling's my only job, I must make a living out of it !
I insist : those are (should be) normal rates ! ! !
How do you pay the rent with 3 euros/min ?
Working day, night and week-ends ?

May I suggest you go and check this place :
http://www.traducteurs-av.org/index.html

Regards,
Sylvano


 

Sylvano
Local time: 19:43
English to French
Maybe you missed my answer Feb 10, 2009

NathalieSchon wrote:

5US$/min is without cueing!
How can you compare with your rate???

How much are you paid without cueing?



Sylvano wrote:

Yes, those are French companies.
And those are set rates too, for all translators
(cueing + translating, indeed).

I too have worked for big bad companies
trying to pay as low as you say per minute.
They have no limits in that matter, but I do.
Subtitling's my only job, I must make a living out of it !
I insist : those are (should be) normal rates ! ! !
How do you pay the rent with 3 euros/min ?
Working day, night and week-ends ?

May I suggest you go and check this place :
http://www.traducteurs-av.org/index.html

Regards,
Sylvano


Sorry, I already answered that 6 posts ago. Let me ask you this: if you're getting 5 US dollars for translating only, exactly how much would you charge for translating+cueing? I don't do translation only any more, but if I did, I wouldn't charge 5 US dollars. To me, cueing would be maybe 1/3 of the total rate I would quote : you do the math with, let's say 15 euros per minute... And one last thing : of course we must compare our rates. We're in a global market and competition, remember? Especially if you translate to French or even another 'not rare' language. If you don't compare our rates, be sure clients will.

[Edited at 2009-02-10 08:20 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-10 20:12 GMT]


 

Helen Farrell  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:43
Italian to English
+ ...
editing subtitles Feb 11, 2009

I've worked as a freelance subtitle editor for 3 years and have recently been asked to drop my rates - an absurd 25% drop. I was hoping to get a feel for what subtitle editors receive (I work in British English). Up until now I've always been paid by subtitle box, but the company wants to change to payment by runtime and wants to pay 0.85 Euros/min. It just seems offensively low to me.

Joanna Topham
 

Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:43
German to French
+ ...
Comparable Nov 26, 2009

Compare what's comparable!!!

If someone pays you 15€/min let me know
I get 9€/min without cueing.
My client is French so cueing is possible only if he hires me, not as a freelancer.


Sylvano wrote:

NathalieSchon wrote:

5US$/min is without cueing!
How can you compare with your rate???

How much are you paid without cueing?



Sylvano wrote:

Yes, those are French companies.
And those are set rates too, for all translators
(cueing + translating, indeed).

I too have worked for big bad companies
trying to pay as low as you say per minute.
They have no limits in that matter, but I do.
Subtitling's my only job, I must make a living out of it !
I insist : those are (should be) normal rates ! ! !
How do you pay the rent with 3 euros/min ?
Working day, night and week-ends ?

May I suggest you go and check this place :
http://www.traducteurs-av.org/index.html

Regards,
Sylvano


Sorry, I already answered that 6 posts ago. Let me ask you this: if you're getting 5 US dollars for translating only, exactly how much would you charge for translating+cueing? I don't do translation only any more, but if I did, I wouldn't charge 5 US dollars. To me, cueing would be maybe 1/3 of the total rate I would quote : you do the math with, let's say 15 euros per minute... And one last thing : of course we must compare our rates. We're in a global market and competition, remember? Especially if you translate to French or even another 'not rare' language. If you don't compare our rates, be sure clients will.

[Edited at 2009-02-10 08:20 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-10 20:12 GMT]


 

Vitaly Kisin  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:43
English to Russian
+ ...
what minute are we talking about? Jul 27, 2011

Is this a minute of future film or video, or a minute of time the translator spends working on it? many thanks

 

Tatjana Kresnik  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:43
Serbo-Croat to Slovenian
+ ...
Minute per film/video Oct 5, 2011

Vitaly Kisin wrote:

Is this a minute of future film or video, or a minute of time the translator spends working on it? many thanks


It is a rate per minute of film or video, not the time spent translating it.


 

Jacqueline Sieben  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:43
Dutch to English
+ ...
Streamlined environment Apr 27, 2013

A company from LA has offered me $0.55 p/m for subtitling English/American films into Dutch. However, no time-consuming tasks are involved, notably time coding and cueing. They've developed a streamlined environment which features the film with English subtitles and a two-column table. So, you only have to translate the English text into Dutch while watching the film for the proper context. I took (and passed) the test and think it was quite easy to work with.

Any comments on thos
... See more
A company from LA has offered me $0.55 p/m for subtitling English/American films into Dutch. However, no time-consuming tasks are involved, notably time coding and cueing. They've developed a streamlined environment which features the film with English subtitles and a two-column table. So, you only have to translate the English text into Dutch while watching the film for the proper context. I took (and passed) the test and think it was quite easy to work with.

Any comments on those rates?

[Edited at 2013-04-27 16:05 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-04-27 16:06 GMT]
Collapse


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:43
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Really? Apr 27, 2013

Jacqueline Sieben wrote:

A company from LA has offered me $0.55 p/m for subtitling English/American films into Dutch. However, no time-consuming tasks are involved, notably time coding and cueing. They've developed a streamlined environment which features the film with English subtitles and a two-column table. So, you only have to translate the English text into Dutch while watching the film for the proper context. I took (and passed) the test and think it was quite easy to work with.


Do you mean 55¢ per minute?

If this is correct, it should be THE cheapest among all sweat shops around, ever!



 

Jacqueline Sieben  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:43
Dutch to English
+ ...
Is it really too cheap? Apr 27, 2013

I usually charge € 0.13 - € 0.15 per word for EN-DU translations, so that's why I wanted to hear your comments on this subtitling rate. Is it really way too low? The English text is already in the left column of the table, so I only have to type the Dutch translation in the right column (put in the proper context of course).

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:43
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Do the math! Apr 27, 2013

Jacqueline Sieben wrote:

I usually charge € 0.13 - € 0.15 per word for EN-DU translations, so that's why I wanted to hear your comments on this subtitling rate. Is it really way too low? The English text is already in the left column of the table, so I only have to type the Dutch translation in the right column (put in the proper context of course).


1 EUR = 1.3 USD

It is said that the average reading speed for subtitles should be close to 9 characters per second. Let's assume your films are not so densely spoken, so cut it down to 5 chars per second.

The average word size in English and Portuguese is something close to 5 characters. So, roughly, we'd have 1 word per second in average. As we've cut down already, let's say 60 words per minute are spoken.

At your mid-rate, € 0.14/word x 60 = € 0.84/minute of playing time
€ 0.84/minute x 1.3 USD = 1.092 USD/minute
... a fraction of a cent below twice what they are offering.

However this is to translate plain TEXT, not having to download or watch any video, break phrases in a way parts of them make some sense, etc.


I know this calculation is very sketchy. Folks, before you stone it or shoot it down, please check if your numbers would be significantly different.


 

ITProsSubtitles
Italy
Local time: 19:43
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
It's completely out of the question Apr 28, 2013

Jacqueline, not only that rate is too cheap. It is outrageous! Have you ever been involved in subtitling? You may want to experience what it's like and then decide on your own if you find that rate acceptable. It is a very long way from the rates you are charging for translation jobs. What's worse is the dollar to euro exchange rate is most unfavorable so that would make the already outrageous rate absolutely ridiculous. My two cents.

Jacqueline Sieben wrote:

I usually charge € 0.13 - € 0.15 per word for EN-DU translations, so that's why I wanted to hear your comments on this subtitling rate. Is it really way too low? The English text is already in the left column of the table, so I only have to type the Dutch translation in the right column (put in the proper context of course).


 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 23:13
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
And people have been lynching the sweat shops in Asia! Apr 28, 2013

Monica Paolillo wrote:

Jacqueline, not only that rate is too cheap. It is outrageous! Have you ever been involved in subtitling? You may want to experience what it's like and then decide on your own if you find that rate acceptable. It is a very long way from the rates you are charging for translation jobs. What's worse is the dollar to euro exchange rate is most unfavorable so that would make the already outrageous rate absolutely ridiculous. My two cents.

Jacqueline Sieben wrote:

I usually charge € 0.13 - € 0.15 per word for EN-DU translations, so that's why I wanted to hear your comments on this subtitling rate. Is it really way too low? The English text is already in the left column of the table, so I only have to type the Dutch translation in the right column (put in the proper context of course).


 
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