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How many minutes per day?
Շարքի հրապարակողը: Ida Lodin

Ida Lodin
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Aug 25, 2019

Hey guys! I've tried to find a similar thread but haven't found any real clear answers.

How many minutes of video do you normally translate per day? Is it reasonable to plan on managing one episode of a little over 20 minutes (sitcom) a day? I'm new to subtitling (but I've have education and experience of other types of translations, so not new to the whole translations thing), which is why I'm trying to figure this out.

So what do you experienced subtitlers say?
... See more
Hey guys! I've tried to find a similar thread but haven't found any real clear answers.

How many minutes of video do you normally translate per day? Is it reasonable to plan on managing one episode of a little over 20 minutes (sitcom) a day? I'm new to subtitling (but I've have education and experience of other types of translations, so not new to the whole translations thing), which is why I'm trying to figure this out.

So what do you experienced subtitlers say?

[Edited at 2019-08-25 07:14 GMT]
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Jan Truper  Identity Verified
Գերմանիա
Local time: 21:17
Անդամ (2016)
անգլերենից գերմաներեն
... Aug 25, 2019

Ida Lodin wrote:

How many minutes of video do you normally translate per day? Is it reasonable to plan on managing one episode of a little over 20 minutes (sitcom) a day?



Provided there's a decent timed template, I translate 30 - 60 minutes a day (English to German).

Unfairly and unfortunately, subtitle translation is usually remunerated per video runtime minutes, not per word count. There can be vast discrepancies in the amount of work you have to put in, depending on the type of show.
Comedy Stand-up Specials or Reality TV series often have wall-to-wall talking, which means a lot more work compared to an old-school Western, for example.

Modern sitcoms usually have quite a bit of dialogue as well. They can also be tricky because they involve translation of humor and a lot of truncation (i. e., you might have to try different translation versions to see what fits best -- as an experienced subtitle translator, you develop an eye for these things so you can quickly generate "pretty" subtitles that convey the meaning but don't violate reading speed limits.)

A 20+ minute sitcom episode per day should be no problem.


abdelkader jbira
Morano El-Kholy
 

Ida Lodin
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Local time: 21:17
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Aug 25, 2019

Thank you, this is very helpful! It IS unfair to charge per program minute. It could be per box you'd think. But what do you do 🤷


Jan Truper wrote:

Ida Lodin wrote:

How many minutes of video do you normally translate per day? Is it reasonable to plan on managing one episode of a little over 20 minutes (sitcom) a day?



Provided there's a decent timed template, I translate 30 - 60 minutes a day (English to German).

Unfairly and unfortunately, subtitle translation is usually remunerated per video runtime minutes, not per word count. There can be vast discrepancies in the amount of work you have to put in, depending on the type of show.
Comedy Stand-up Specials or Reality TV series often have wall-to-wall talking, which means a lot more work compared to an old-school Western, for example.

Modern sitcoms usually have quite a bit of dialogue as well. They can also be tricky because they involve translation of humor and a lot of truncation (i. e., you might have to try different translation versions to see what fits best -- as an experienced subtitle translator, you develop an eye for these things so you can quickly generate "pretty" subtitles that convey the meaning but don't violate reading speed limits.)

A 20+ minute sitcom episode per day should be no problem.


 

abdelkader jbira  Identity Verified
Մարոկո
Local time: 21:17
Անդամ (2019)
արաբերենից ֆրանսերեն
+ ...
travail par sous-titre Aug 25, 2019

(Distressed to write in French)

Il faut traduire par sous-titre et non pas par minute. Une minute peut totalement être vide de dialogue ou au contraire contenir un flot de paroles.
La durée de la vidéo n'a aucun rapport avec la durée de la traduction. On peut passer 5 mn de la vidéo sans rien traduire car il n 'y a que de la musique et de l'action. Mais on peut passer deux heures ou plus à traduire 5 mn d'une vidéo car les dialogues y sont denses et il faut faire des
... See more
(Distressed to write in French)

Il faut traduire par sous-titre et non pas par minute. Une minute peut totalement être vide de dialogue ou au contraire contenir un flot de paroles.
La durée de la vidéo n'a aucun rapport avec la durée de la traduction. On peut passer 5 mn de la vidéo sans rien traduire car il n 'y a que de la musique et de l'action. Mais on peut passer deux heures ou plus à traduire 5 mn d'une vidéo car les dialogues y sont denses et il faut faire des recherches en traduction.

Normalement, un débutant devrait traduire autour de 50 sous-titres par jour et un expérimenté devrait traduire le double.

Une vidéo de 90 mn peut contenir jusqu'à 800 sous-titres. Alors, il faut bien 2 semaines pour les traduire.
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Ida Lodin
Շվեդիա
Local time: 21:17
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TOPIC STARTER
Agreed Aug 25, 2019

Oui, ca fait beaucoup plus de sens, traduire par sous-titre! Malheureusement c'eat pas à moi de décider. Peut-etre dans quelques annees...

abdelkader jbira wrote:

(Distressed to write in French)

Il faut traduire par sous-titre et non pas par minute. Une minute peut totalement être vide de dialogue ou au contraire contenir un flot de paroles.
La durée de la vidéo n'a aucun rapport avec la durée de la traduction. On peut passer 5 mn de la vidéo sans rien traduire car il n 'y a que de la musique et de l'action. Mais on peut passer deux heures ou plus à traduire 5 mn d'une vidéo car les dialogues y sont denses et il faut faire des recherches en traduction.

Normalement, un débutant devrait traduire autour de 50 sous-titres par jour et un expérimenté devrait traduire le double.

Une vidéo de 90 mn peut contenir jusqu'à 800 sous-titres. Alors, il faut bien 2 semaines pour les traduire.


 

Tomo Olson  Identity Verified
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Local time: 15:17
ճապոներենից անգլերեն
How many minutes per day? Aug 25, 2019

I've been working with one media company for the last few years and I could easily do a half-hour show in a day. (I'm provided with scripts for the shows most of the time and the files are already time-coded when I receive them - I may split/merge some subtitle boxes, but even with that, it usually only takes me 3-5 hours to complete a 20-minute show.) I'm used to this particular company's software interface and I know the ins and outs of shortcuts, etc, so that definitely helps to speed things ... See more
I've been working with one media company for the last few years and I could easily do a half-hour show in a day. (I'm provided with scripts for the shows most of the time and the files are already time-coded when I receive them - I may split/merge some subtitle boxes, but even with that, it usually only takes me 3-5 hours to complete a 20-minute show.) I'm used to this particular company's software interface and I know the ins and outs of shortcuts, etc, so that definitely helps to speed things up.

I get paid by the program hour. To add to the discussion on how we should get paid - by the number of words, the number of boxes, how many minutes of work, etc. - Everything sort of evens over time as I take the majority of my work from one media company and they send me a variety of shows to TL (variety shows (wordy), cooking shows (medium), dramas (much less wordy), animes, etc.)

I make much less money per hour doing media TL's (for both TL and QC) compared to document translations, but this one media company has provided me with a much more stable income stream than any of the document TL companies I've done work for, so I'm OK with it.
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Sarper Aman  Identity Verified
Թուրքիա
Local time: 23:17
Անդամ (2019)
անգլերենից թուրքերեն
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minutes vs events/boxes Aug 26, 2019

I've been subtitling for more than 3 years and my capacity is 30-40 minutes, in a day (6-8 hours). I always ask my TC for number of events/boxes in the stream, especially in tight deadlines. Sitcoms are tend to be intense in terms of number of events, they don't have long silent scenes like a film might has. Even so, 20 minutes of sitcom translation in a day seems fine, it doesn't exhaust you, I suppose.

Wish you success in your new adventure!

[Edited at 2019-08-26 09:16 GMT
... See more
I've been subtitling for more than 3 years and my capacity is 30-40 minutes, in a day (6-8 hours). I always ask my TC for number of events/boxes in the stream, especially in tight deadlines. Sitcoms are tend to be intense in terms of number of events, they don't have long silent scenes like a film might has. Even so, 20 minutes of sitcom translation in a day seems fine, it doesn't exhaust you, I suppose.

Wish you success in your new adventure!

[Edited at 2019-08-26 09:16 GMT]
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Polly Chu  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:17
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audio experience Aug 26, 2019

I haven't done subtitling job but have done quite a bit of audio jobs - listening to audio files spoken in both English and Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) then transcribe/translate in English.
I don't need to use any specific tools, just transcribe/translate in MS Word files. According to my experience, it takes approx. an hour to complete 4 minutes of audio (including initial transcription/translation, checking & revision). So 20-30 minutes of audio a day is doable. May be some insights
... See more
I haven't done subtitling job but have done quite a bit of audio jobs - listening to audio files spoken in both English and Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese) then transcribe/translate in English.
I don't need to use any specific tools, just transcribe/translate in MS Word files. According to my experience, it takes approx. an hour to complete 4 minutes of audio (including initial transcription/translation, checking & revision). So 20-30 minutes of audio a day is doable. May be some insights here for subtitling.

Polly
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Sylvano
Local time: 21:17
անգլերենից ֆրանսերեն
No clear answer to that Aug 27, 2019

Without even considering the technical aspects when you're a beginner, it depends on many factors, but subtitling one sitcom episode per day seems dangerous to me. This genre is all about jokes, timing, running gags, play on words, double entendre, (pop) cultural references and stereotypes, tone, accents and language levels, the show inner mythology and character interaction, etc. Nothing trickier if you ask me than sticking to readability (even slow it sometimes) and comprehension, while being ... See more
Without even considering the technical aspects when you're a beginner, it depends on many factors, but subtitling one sitcom episode per day seems dangerous to me. This genre is all about jokes, timing, running gags, play on words, double entendre, (pop) cultural references and stereotypes, tone, accents and language levels, the show inner mythology and character interaction, etc. Nothing trickier if you ask me than sticking to readability (even slow it sometimes) and comprehension, while being as funny as the original (which is, at the end of the day, what you're paid for). A poorly translated sitcom is particularly awful because it shows right away and totally ruins the viewer's experience in his own language. To do a good job -in subtitling generally and on sitcoms specifically- you need maturation, i.e. time. You should try different lines/jokes to select the best, analyze every comical intention, come back to your translation after some time, watch the episode several times, etc. 2 or 3 days work would be a minimum, I guess. (Well written) sitcom or comedy in general (not to say fiction as such) is not your ordinary straightforward material. More than that : beyond simple translation, it requires talent to write good dialogue in your mother tongue.Collapse


MollyRose
Anabella Tonon
Amrita Kumari
Morano El-Kholy
Federica Peyronel
 

Ida Lodin
Շվեդիա
Local time: 21:17
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for input Aug 27, 2019

I agree with you on more or less all points. However concidering the pay and deadlines, even a very experienced subtitle translator wouldn't be able to watch the episode several times and wait for days. So in that way, I suppose they get what they pay for (unfortunately and sadly).

Of course I understand that it takes time to get into a new field, but please don't assume I haven't considered your points before. I do have a 5 yr education and several years of training and experience
... See more
I agree with you on more or less all points. However concidering the pay and deadlines, even a very experienced subtitle translator wouldn't be able to watch the episode several times and wait for days. So in that way, I suppose they get what they pay for (unfortunately and sadly).

Of course I understand that it takes time to get into a new field, but please don't assume I haven't considered your points before. I do have a 5 yr education and several years of training and experience as a translator, plus even a few published original novels, so I am confident to say I have a good grasp on writing dialogue in my mother tongue, and that I would learn a lot faster than someone you seem to describe ... However I understand if you're a bit annoyed with all the people with no experience who thinks it should be easy to do a little subtitle translation on the side just for fun (at least I am ...).

Thank you for your answer anyway!



Sylvano wrote:

Without even considering the technical aspects when you're a beginner, it depends on many factors, but subtitling one sitcom episode per day seems dangerous to me. This genre is all about jokes, timing, running gags, play on words, double entendre, (pop) cultural references and stereotypes, tone, accents and language levels, the show inner mythology and character interaction, etc. Nothing trickier if you ask me than sticking to readability (even slow it sometimes) and comprehension, while being as funny as the original (which is, at the end of the day, what you're paid for). A poorly translated sitcom is particularly awful because it shows right away and totally ruins the viewer's experience in his own language. To do a good job -in subtitling generally and on sitcoms specifically- you need maturation, i.e. time. You should try different lines/jokes to select the best, analyze every comical intention, come back to your translation after some time, watch the episode several times, etc. 2 or 3 days work would be a minimum, I guess. (Well written) sitcom or comedy in general (not to say fiction as such) is not your ordinary straightforward material. More than that : beyond simple translation, it requires talent to write good dialogue in your mother tongue.
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Sylvano
Local time: 21:17
անգլերենից ֆրանսերեն
Sorry if you got a wrong impression Aug 27, 2019

Mind you, there was nothing personal in what I wrote. I was just explaining why an episode a day seems wrong to me, and if I did a Captain Obvious here, good for you. Not having at least a 2-3 day deadline for this sounds dangerous. I know that, from the vendors' point of view, all programs are alike, based on their duration. Not for us, as you obviously understand it. What if -as it happened to me once (an episode from Friends, if I remember well, but I'm not sure)- the whole episode has wordpl... See more
Mind you, there was nothing personal in what I wrote. I was just explaining why an episode a day seems wrong to me, and if I did a Captain Obvious here, good for you. Not having at least a 2-3 day deadline for this sounds dangerous. I know that, from the vendors' point of view, all programs are alike, based on their duration. Not for us, as you obviously understand it. What if -as it happened to me once (an episode from Friends, if I remember well, but I'm not sure)- the whole episode has wordplays in each and every line, often clearly linked to the situation/what you see on screen and you still have, of course, to convey the (double) meaning, the storyline AND be funny? What if the episode is a fully musical one, with rhyming lyrics? Etc. Of course, those are extreme examples, but you always run into something really tough once in a while translating a sitcom. With only one day, you have no margin at all. By the way, yes, your experience as a subtitler will also be crucial in the process. Will you be doing the timecueing or only fill in the translation? Will you have permission to alter the timecueing and cutting of the subtitles to finetune readability and rythm? Will you be able to play your lines as you translate and see if they pan out and match the action on screen? At the end of the day, I agree with you : it's all about pay and deadline. Therefore, if I'm not happy with both and perfectly know I'll be underpaid and/or won't have time to deliver something good enough, I'm not taking the job. Period.Collapse


MollyRose
 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
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How many minutes Aug 28, 2019

In ideal conditions, I would say 15 minutes of video per day. Now, when I say ideal, I mean when I am given enough time to really reread myself, change a few things and really focus on the characters, how they sound like, how to handle jokes and play-on-words and all that. At least to me, this is unfortunately a rare case. But using your accurate phrasing, in terms of "giving them what they pay for" within the deadline, I can usually translate 30 minutes per day, 40 if its urgent and I have to p... See more
In ideal conditions, I would say 15 minutes of video per day. Now, when I say ideal, I mean when I am given enough time to really reread myself, change a few things and really focus on the characters, how they sound like, how to handle jokes and play-on-words and all that. At least to me, this is unfortunately a rare case. But using your accurate phrasing, in terms of "giving them what they pay for" within the deadline, I can usually translate 30 minutes per day, 40 if its urgent and I have to push extra hours.
I think it would be nice to not go over 15 minutes per day so that quality is guaranted, but shorter and shorter deadlines (and rates...) don't allow that.
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Tomo Olson  Identity Verified
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Local time: 15:17
ճապոներենից անգլերեն
How many minutes per day? Aug 30, 2019

Just to add to what I said in my previous post - Subtitle translations are not exactly like document translations. There are certain components that are not about translating at all. I imagine a lot of document translators struggle, or don't even enjoy subtitle translations because of some of the limitations/tediousness/challenges associated with subtitle translations.

1) People can only read so fast, so you cannot cram a lot of words in a subtitle box even if the speaker is saying
... See more
Just to add to what I said in my previous post - Subtitle translations are not exactly like document translations. There are certain components that are not about translating at all. I imagine a lot of document translators struggle, or don't even enjoy subtitle translations because of some of the limitations/tediousness/challenges associated with subtitle translations.

1) People can only read so fast, so you cannot cram a lot of words in a subtitle box even if the speaker is saying a lot. It becomes challenging when the person is speaking very fast and saying so much in a short amount of time.
2) This may sound contradictory, but you want to try to roughly match the rhythm of the spoken words in the target language. You don't want the target dialogues to be too short or too long in relation to the source. This is important even if you are not doing dubbing work. I even try to match the pauses in my subtitle translations where I can.
3) You need to make appropriate line breaks. An obvious example: You don't want to put an article (the, a,) at the end of a line.
4) Your clients may require narration or background speaking to be added in different fonts. They may want captions to be typed differently. They may want you to reposition the translations in a way that they won't cover up the original captions. Moving up to the top or move up a few lines? Or not. The rules are all different depending upon the client.
5) It takes a while to get used to the software that each company provides you with. Some tools are obviously easier to use than others.

So considering you're new at subtitle translations, I would probably give a 20-minute project a few days to finish. The things I've mentioned above become second nature to you after a while, and you'll be able to handle a 20-minute project in less than a day, but I guess it may take a little time to get there. I personally don't take projects that require me to time code as well as translate. Time-coding is tedious, time-consuming, and not worth my time.

I hope this helps.
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Amrita Kumari
Հնդկաստան
Local time: 01:47
անգլերենից հինդի
+ ...
Thank you this is very helpful. Aug 31, 2019

Jan Truper wrote:

Ida Lodin wrote:

How many minutes of video do you normally translate per day? Is it reasonable to plan on managing one episode of a little over 20 minutes (sitcom) a day?



Provided there's a decent timed template, I translate 30 - 60 minutes a day (English to German).

Unfairly and unfortunately, subtitle translation is usually remunerated per video runtime minutes, not per word count. There can be vast discrepancies in the amount of work you have to put in, depending on the type of show.
Comedy Stand-up Specials or Reality TV series often have wall-to-wall talking, which means a lot more work compared to an old-school Western, for example.

Modern sitcoms usually have quite a bit of dialogue as well. They can also be tricky because they involve translation of humor and a lot of truncation (i. e., you might have to try different translation versions to see what fits best -- as an experienced subtitle translator, you develop an eye for these things so you can quickly generate "pretty" subtitles that convey the meaning but don't violate reading speed limits.)

A 20+ minute sitcom episode per day should be no problem.


 

Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Իտալիա
Local time: 21:17
Անդամ (2007)
անգլերենից իտալերեն
Sit-com & Reality are the worst… Oct 17, 2019

…in terms of number of subs, they are fast paced shows with hardly any pause between boxes. But kid's show are even worst because of a strictier number of characters per second (approx 13, instead of 17), so it takes longer to create a sub within the reading speed limit. Beware!

 
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