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[Subtitling Rates] per minute rates
Շարքի հրապարակողը: The LT>EN Guy

Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
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Micky Mouse subtitlers Dec 26, 2017

Anyone subtitling a tv show in 3 hours or even 6 is a joke. I am an experienced and proficient subtitler and to translate it well, you will need more than a day. This is why we see so many crappy subtitles.

Mahmoud Awad
Jumee Lim
 

Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
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Rates Dec 26, 2017

And whoever subtitles for less 5$/min or even less is not a subtitler. No real subtitler would sell their services for third world rates.

[Edited at 2017-12-26 09:30 GMT]


 

Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
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Normal rates Dec 26, 2017

In the USA I charge from US$10/min on for translation with a template and from US$15/min if I have to spot as well.
In Europe I charge the same in €. That's the rate for an average material. If it's particularly chatty, with puns etc... I charge more.


 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
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I would love to know Jan 6, 2018

Nathalie Schon wrote:

In the USA I charge from US$10/min on for translation with a template and from US$15/min if I have to spot as well.
In Europe I charge the same in €. That's the rate for an average material. If it's particularly chatty, with puns etc... I charge more.


how you can charge this much. I've been working for many agencies and never saw anything beyond 5$/min or 4€/min. I consider myself a real subtitler, you just can't fix the price the majority of the time. Or there is a bunch of clients, who pay decently, and that I haven't heard about in four years of looking for clients...


Juanitadc
 

Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
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Good clients Jan 15, 2018

You work with the wrong clients and you need to negociate.

[Edited at 2018-01-15 16:35 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-01-15 16:35 GMT]


 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
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Negociating Jan 18, 2018

I'd love to do that, but agencies don't. Every time I asked for a higher pay, I've been turned down. Every single time. So, it's easy to say that they're wrong clients (although I do not disagree with that, subtitling is indeed largely underpaid), but unless you give hint at some companies that pay well, they're the only ones I've seen until now.

Thaise Poerschke Freitas
Marcela Di Paolo
Felixwu
 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
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This thread has been very useful Feb 1, 2018

I've done a reasonable amount of subtitling work but always based on a rate per hour of translation time or if I have the script, my usual rate per word. However, an agency has just contacted me asking if I would be interested in forming part of their team; they wrote:

For ES>EN we are offering $1.50 per minute of video for translation and $1 per minute of video for proofreading. These rates are estimated. They could be a bit higher depending on the project
... See more
I've done a reasonable amount of subtitling work but always based on a rate per hour of translation time or if I have the script, my usual rate per word. However, an agency has just contacted me asking if I would be interested in forming part of their team; they wrote:

For ES>EN we are offering $1.50 per minute of video for translation and $1 per minute of video for proofreading. These rates are estimated. They could be a bit higher depending on the project’s budget.

The rate seemed a bit low so I've just checked here and my doubts have been confirmed. Thank you everyone!





[Edited at 2018-02-02 18:24 GMT]
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Sylvano
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Not "a bit" Feb 2, 2018

Helena Chavarria wrote:
The rate seemed a bit low


It's not "a bit" low. It's ridiculously appallingly low.


 

Pierre Bancov  Identity Verified
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The subtitling market is a bit crazy Feb 2, 2018

I can understand not getting my usual rates when working with an agency, but lately - that means the last 5 years or so - I've consistently found myself dealing with set bufgets and "accept or GTFO" mentalities.
Which is why I have been turning down every single assignment in the last 2 years.

Now, it's not only small, unheard of clients that do that. We're talking about market leaders. Giants.
I don't care who these people think they are, they need to be banned from he
... See more
I can understand not getting my usual rates when working with an agency, but lately - that means the last 5 years or so - I've consistently found myself dealing with set bufgets and "accept or GTFO" mentalities.
Which is why I have been turning down every single assignment in the last 2 years.

Now, it's not only small, unheard of clients that do that. We're talking about market leaders. Giants.
I don't care who these people think they are, they need to be banned from here.
I haven't gotten in touch with a decent client through the mailing alert system here in months. Litterally the last one that actually was interested in knowing my rates was last year in June. And that's across all my languages and fields. But that's a different discussion.
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Sara Romero Mira
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
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An ominously giant bit Feb 2, 2018

Pierre Bancov wrote:

The subtitling market is a bit crazy

I can understand not getting my usual rates when working with an agency, but lately - that means the last 5 years or so - I've consistently found myself dealing with set bufgets and "accept or GTFO" mentalities.
Which is why I have been turning down every single assignment in the last 2 years.

Now, it's not only small, unheard of clients that do that. We're talking about market leaders. Giants.
I don't care who these people think they are, they need to be banned from here.
I haven't gotten in touch with a decent client through the mailing alert system here in months. Litterally the last one that actually was interested in knowing my rates was last year in June. And that's across all my languages and fields. But that's a different discussion.


There is a huge global crowd subtitling for free. Search on Google for subtitles for any movie or TV series you like, in any language. Chances are that you'll find many.

People do them as a hobby, for no other reward than having their nickname published with them. It's some kind of "activity trap". It gives them the self-rewarding idea of being busy, working hard, and an excuse to watch closely the movies/series they like.

Maybe some expect to accrue practice, and eventually enter the subtitling market as service providers. However as nobody is giving them feedback on their output, and nobody expects their work to be any good, they are precluded from ever reaching an acceptable quality level. And yet, they keep flooding the web with their subtitle files.

A while ago I did an experiment to determine whether it was economically viable, instead of translating a video for subtitles, to "fix" those fansubber files available on the web. My final report is in Portuguese, here, however the interesting part is a spreadsheet comparing the fansubber's file and my "fix": http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/files/now_you_see_me_compare.xlsx . I used the movie Now You See Me (2013).

My general conclusions were mainly that it takes the same time to "fix" amateur subtitles as for a competent video translator to develop them from scratch, and that the "fix" is of generally lower in quality than the complete job done comme il faut, as leniency tends to seep in; the bar for acceptance gets lowered.

As fansubbing creates a perception of worldwide overabundance of amateur subtitling, customers are led to think that the same professional services should be extremely cheap, an almost no-brainer kind of job, and they develop their budget under this assumption. Upon imposing their budgeted figures, they hire low-bidders, which tends to draw the general quality of subtitles closer to fansubs.


Adam Neudold
Simon Thomas
Sara Romero Mira
Yana Dinova
 

Pierre Bancov  Identity Verified
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I was one of them too (a long time ago) Feb 2, 2018

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

There is a huge global crowd subtitling for free.


I know. 20 years ago, I was one of them.
It's one thing to do fansubs, it's another to try and hire a professional at a rate that you fully *know* to be 4, 5, 10 times less than the regular one.
You can't tell me a huge TV network that offers subtitling services (at a regular rate) doesn't know what it costs to do subtitles.
I don't expect a highly ranked manager at Amazon to know what this mythical creature named "work" is, but video labels who were paying me decently 15 years ago and now suddenly cannot afford more than 1/3rd of the normal price have no excuses.


 

Anna Norman  Identity Verified
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People upload ripped subtitles Feb 14, 2018

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:



There is a huge global crowd subtitling for free. Search on Google for subtitles for any movie or TV series you like, in any language. Chances are that you'll find many.

People do them as a hobby,

People also upload lots and lots of ripped subtitles, some are ripped from DVD:s and some even from streaming media.
They also remove translator credits and subtitling company from the end before uploading, so you can not tell.


 

subtitleinsider
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Ever decreasing rates Feb 22, 2018

Pierre Bancov wrote:

I can understand not getting my usual rates when working with an agency, but lately - that means the last 5 years or so - I've consistently found myself dealing with set bufgets and "accept or GTFO" mentalities.
Which is why I have been turning down every single assignment in the last 2 years.

Though the labor involved has likely increased over the years in the field of subtitling (the average word count per minute has increased for the average program, in part because the genre of programming is more and more non-drama), the rates have steadily declined.

Part of it is that the end user has had no real way to show their appreciation or frustration with the quality of subtitles. How often have you returned a video or DVD because of subtitle quality? Compare that to a bag of chips, where you can simply call the complaint number on the back to get a box of free chips sent your way. The world of streaming may finally offer some options to the end user. You can, for example, end your subscription to a service like Netflix at any given time. And you can also provide feedback about their subtitles directly from their player. (How efficiently that feedback is received, evaluated, and implemented is another question.)

A bigger part of it is that most/all of the Big Eight studios have for over a decade been putting their work up for bid every other year or so to their typical subtitle vendors, who then have to give them low numbers in order to try and get some of their work. Most often sticking with their current subtitle vendors anyway, implying that the bidding was done purely to force those current vendors to lower their rates. In the year 2000, most studios paid the subtitle agencies about $20 per minute to create translations (regardless of language), and translators likely received half of that $20 between creation and review. In 2006, it was down to $15, and certain languages were now discounted based on the cost of living in the country of that language's origin. In 2010, one of the main studios was down to $10. In 2013, that studio went down to $5, where other studios were still around $12.50. In 2016, all are below $10, with the lowest one coming in at an average of $4. When asked to explain the significant drop every 3 years, the general response was "technological improvements". (Google Translate?)

The subtitle agencies are not blameless. They fully participated and at times aggressively pursued the lower rates. The thinking must have been that they could just make it up through volume, but at some point the margins just don't work. If they were able to keep $10 when the rates were $20, they are likely able to barely keep $2 when the rates are $5. You then need to do five times the amount of work with the same number of hands. And if you are barely able to keep $2 at $5, then if the rate drops down to $4 (20% cut), you must reduce pay to the create/review translator team from $3 to $2 (33% cut). The lower the "industry" rate is, the greater the cuts to the translators are whenever that industry rate is lowered once more.

And, finally, the translators themselves are not completely blameless either, with many accepting the low rates, thinking that surely once they gain experience they will be able to command higher rates, not realizing that by accepting the low rates now, they ensure that they will need to deal with even lower rates in the future, and that at best they can hope to maintain their starting rate if they become proficient. There are also those who accept the low rates just because of the fun factor of being part of the Hollywood machine.

I believe that Netflix is currently the US company paying the highest rates for subtitle translation work.

Netflix rates to subtitle vendors can be found by Googling for "Netflix rate card". They set these rates by researching what the market rates were, and then adding 10% on top of that. Reasonable, if not for the fact that by that time the market rates had already been destroyed by the studio bidding war.

Netflix looks ready to cut out the subtitle agencies in the next year or so, and are very likely willing to give some of the value of that cut to the translators. I anticipate that after cutting out the subtitle agencies, Netflix will pay 66% of the published subtitle agency rates to the translator/reviewer combination. That is likely already a noticeable increase compared to what many subtitle agencies are currently paying. (The subtitle agencies that Netflix uses continue to work for the $5 studios, and the rates those agencies pay their translators are likely based more on that studio work than on Netflix work.)

Though Netflix's quality evaluation model is set up to detect poor subtitle files (missing periods, literal translations, typos, etc.) rather than detect superb subtitle files (good flow, able to convey humor, creative song translations, etc.), they may be able to at least start to differentiate the expert subtitler from the novice. That could change the supply and demand dynamic in the subtitle translators' favor: Netflix may need to compete with Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, etc., to secure the expert translators needed to create quality subtitles for their hundreds to thousands of hours of programming in each language.

Maybe then subtitles will once again be seen as a valuable craft rather than a cheap commodity.


 

Gutranslation
Մեծ Բրիտանիա
Local time: 20:13
Complex conforms Rate Feb 27, 2018

Hi everyone,

I was offered some complex conform work and I was wondering what are the average rates. This is for an international company.

I would receive files and would need to format them, QC them and re-time them if need be. How much do you charge for this type of work (per minute)? I would like some precise numbers to give me an idea of the market rather than taking a guess. Thank you.


 

anais lepers
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difference Mar 22, 2018

Hello !

can someone please explain to me the difference between these three and what would be the proper rates/min for all of them.


- Subtitling with a time-coded template.

- Subtitle QC (Proofreading)

- Time-coding


Thanks


 
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