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Ask me anything about subtitling
Autor de la hebra: Max Deryagin

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Federación Rusa
Local time: 05:55
Miembro 2013
inglés al ruso
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
- Jul 12, 2016

Norfuer wrote:

Hi!

I basically got my first subtitling job (0 experience). It's monolingual ENG>ENG, and includes writing out a transcript for a series of lectures ranging from 45-70 minutes long, as well as timing them to the video. There are a few technical terms involved, but since the audience are layfolk, they're either easy enough to look up, or not all TOO technical.

To give you an idea, I've already done the first video. I managed to get the transcript done in less than an afternoon (inclusive of breaks and interruptions, I live in a noisy house). 8700 words in 50 minutes. Most of the timing was just a couple hours, though I'm ironing out a few kinks, as my transcript is imperfect and I misheard a few things.

I mean, it seems simple and straightforward enough. But the difficulty for me isn't so much the work. It's the rates. Aside from having no idea what the average rates are, there's also the fact that the client is a donation-funded ministry that I'm personally invested in. So I'm not viewing this so much as an actual job, but rather something of a... service to help them out. They're asking for my rate, and I have no idea what to give them. I do believe I should give them a discounted rate, though.

Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Hi Norfuer,

I'm not sure how the rates go in Philippines, but I think you should consider a rate between $1–2 per minute for discounted monolingual subtitling.


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
España
Local time: 02:55
Miembro
español al inglés
+ ...
Thanks Max Jul 12, 2016

I don't do or know anything about subtitling work, and so I can't know whether Max's advice is helpful, but judging from his profile I'm sure it is, and he deserves a lot of praise. Not many Prozians offer free assistance in that way, and it's also a good marketer.

Well done, Max!


Mervyn


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Norfuer
Filipinas
Local time: 08:55
What about Canadian Rates? Jul 12, 2016

Max Deryagin wrote:

Norfuer wrote:

Hi!

I basically got my first subtitling job (0 experience). It's monolingual ENG>ENG, and includes writing out a transcript for a series of lectures ranging from 45-70 minutes long, as well as timing them to the video. There are a few technical terms involved, but since the audience are layfolk, they're either easy enough to look up, or not all TOO technical.

To give you an idea, I've already done the first video. I managed to get the transcript done in less than an afternoon (inclusive of breaks and interruptions, I live in a noisy house). 8700 words in 50 minutes. Most of the timing was just a couple hours, though I'm ironing out a few kinks, as my transcript is imperfect and I misheard a few things.

I mean, it seems simple and straightforward enough. But the difficulty for me isn't so much the work. It's the rates. Aside from having no idea what the average rates are, there's also the fact that the client is a donation-funded ministry that I'm personally invested in. So I'm not viewing this so much as an actual job, but rather something of a... service to help them out. They're asking for my rate, and I have no idea what to give them. I do believe I should give them a discounted rate, though.

Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Hi Norfuer,

I'm not sure how the rates go in Philippines, but I think you should consider a rate between $1–2 per minute for discounted monolingual subtitling.


Hi, Max! Thanks for the suggestion! I actually forgot to say, the client is based in Canada. $1-2 does sound like a good ballpark for a discounted rate, though. Does the location change anything?


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Federación Rusa
Local time: 05:55
Miembro 2013
inglés al ruso
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
- Jul 12, 2016

Norfuer wrote:

Hi, Max! Thanks for the suggestion! I actually forgot to say, the client is based in Canada. $1-2 does sound like a good ballpark for a discounted rate, though. Does the location change anything?


They might be based in Canada, but companies (almost) always map their rates geographically, so they won't offer you a rate they'd offer someone residing in Canada. This is because the cost of living differs from country to country, and for Philippines it's quite low, as far as I know.

I'd still suggest you charge around $1.5 a minute, although I'd like to stress that figuring the best rate is always the freelancer's job. You should charge as much as is reasonable for you: measure how many minutes of video you can do in one hour on average and then calculate how much you should charge per minute for a decent hourly rate.

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

I don't do or know anything about subtitling work, and so I can't know whether Max's advice is helpful, but judging from his profile I'm sure it is, and he deserves a lot of praise. Not many Prozians offer free assistance in that way, and it's also a good marketer.

Well done, Max!


Thank you, Mervyn

[Edited at 2016-07-12 07:01 GMT]


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Norfuer
Filipinas
Local time: 08:55
- Jul 12, 2016

Max Deryagin wrote:

Norfuer wrote:

Hi, Max! Thanks for the suggestion! I actually forgot to say, the client is based in Canada. $1-2 does sound like a good ballpark for a discounted rate, though. Does the location change anything?


They might be based in Canada, but companies (almost) always map their rates geographically, so they won't offer you a rate they'd offer someone residing in Canada. This is because the cost of living differs from country to country, and for Philippines it's quite low, as far as I know.

I'd still suggest you charge around $1.5 a minute, although I'd like to stress that figuring the best rate is always the freelancer's job. You should charge as much as is reasonable for you: measure how many minutes of video you can do in one hour on average and then calculate how much you should charge per minute for a decent hourly rate.

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

I don't do or know anything about subtitling work, and so I can't know whether Max's advice is helpful, but judging from his profile I'm sure it is, and he deserves a lot of praise. Not many Prozians offer free assistance in that way, and it's also a good marketer.

Well done, Max!


Thank you, Mervyn

[Edited at 2016-07-12 07:01 GMT]


Hmm, that's true. $1.5 is more than enough to get a good meal around here, actually. Cost of living is quite low. Btw, are we talking USD, or CAD?

Thanks.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 02:55
alemán al inglés
international rates and direct vs. agency clients Jul 12, 2016

It's part of translation agencies' business to inform themselves about international rate levels and to exploit that information to increase their profits (buy low, sell high). That is rarely true of direct clients and, because we are talking about a ministry here and English monolingual subtitling, I think the ministry will probably be expecting to pay what they would expect to pay a Canadian subtitler.

I would also say that the cost of living does not vary between countries as much as the quality of life: If you wanted to live a Canadian lifestyle in the Philippines (in terms of schools, health care, personal safety, etc.), then it would probably cost much more there than in Canada.

You can either search for the prices of similar services offered by Canada-based businesses or try to figure out what is a reasonable freelancer rate in Canada in general and then subtract some kind of discount from that figure to take into account the fact that this work is partially a donation and that the client has hired you with this in mind.

And be careful not to calculate your speed until you are completely (!) done with the part of the project that you are using to estimate your speed for the entire project: The devil is in the detail and you may be in for a nasty surprise if you base your calculations on an intermediate stage that (misleadingly) seems almost done.


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Federación Rusa
Local time: 05:55
Miembro 2013
inglés al ruso
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
- Jul 12, 2016

Michael Wetzel wrote:
I think the ministry will probably be expecting to pay what they would expect to pay a Canadian subtitler.


This is very unlikely; otherwise, they would have hired a native Canadian captioner residing in Canada, and not a freelancer from Philippines.


I would also say that the cost of living does not vary between countries as much as the quality of life: If you wanted to live a Canadian lifestyle in the Philippines (in terms of schools, health care, personal safety, etc.), then it would probably cost much more there than in Canada.


I do not think this is accurate. The average yearly salary in Canada is around 60,000 CAD. For that kind of money I could live like a king anywhere in Russia.


You can either search for the prices of similar services offered by Canada-based businesses or try to figure out what is a reasonable freelancer rate in Canada in general and then subtract some kind of discount from that figure to take into account the fact that this work is partially a donation and that the client has hired you with this in mind.


This approach will likely result in the ministry kindly declining to work with Norfuer, because they are likely not comfortable paying this much.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 02:55
alemán al inglés
my assumptions Jul 12, 2016

As far as the question of cost of living vs. average income/quality of life goes, you may be entirely correct. I don't think that I could substantially reduce my cost of living by moving to a different country without a significant loss of quality of life. However, that assumption may be outright wrong and the generalization from my personal case might also be very misleading.

I was also making certain assumptions about Norfuer's situation. Because it is a ministry and I assumed that he or she really is a native speaker of English (that's what the profile says and I didn't notice anything to make me assume otherwise), I also assumed that there is some kind of direct connection to the client and that they went to Norfuer because of this and not to save money by finding a captioner in a low-income country. Any of those assumptions could obviously be wrong. However, if my assumptions are correct, then Norfuer would be competing with Canadian captioners and not Philippine (or Indian, etc.) captioners and ought to calculate a suitable price and discount on that basis.


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Norfuer
Filipinas
Local time: 08:55
- Jul 12, 2016

These assumptions are more or less correct, Michael. While I'm a native Filipino, my big sister wanted a fluent English speaker. As a result, my first language is English, and I only started learning Filipino at around age 7. As for the client, I'm basically their ministry's main liaison here in the Philippines via the Australian branch, helping establish their ministry activity here.

This project is sort of them helping me find gainful employment, as they are aware of some challenges I have in that department. So they forwarded me to the Canadian branch. That's more or less the story.

And that's basically where I'm having trouble. They're helping me out with work, and I'm a Freelancer living in a cheap country. If I wasn't so personally invested with them, I'd be able to come up with figures much easier. =/


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 02:55
alemán al inglés
possible solution Jul 12, 2016

I don't know which rate is relevant in that case: I guess the question is who is doing a favor for whom (are they mostly helping you to get by or are you mostly helping them to save money for what all of you agree is a good cause). It is also important to remember that a professional captioner is likely to produce better work at a much faster pace and that it will take time for you to approach that level of productivity. It's a complicated situation.

My suggestion for trying to arrive at a price everyone is satisfied with in this very specific case:
I would calculate how many clock minutes you can realistically expect to need per minute of video to complete all of the work they are asking you to do and then add a buffer of maybe 25-35% for unexpected problems and communication and administrative aspects.

Then I would use that figure to calculate a minimum rate that you would not be willing to go below, because it would not make financial sense for you. Then I would keep all that to myself and talk about your issue to one of the Australians whom you know personally and ask if they can help you with a suggestion, possibly by going to the Canadians and asking them on your behalf.

That seems like the most likely way to end up with a rate that everyone is happy with. They are likely to offer more than the least amount you would have been willing to accept, and if they don't or you're otherwise unsatisfied with their offer (too low or too high), then you can try to negotiate with them.


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Norfuer
Filipinas
Local time: 08:55
RE: possible solution Jul 12, 2016

Michael Wetzel wrote:

I don't know which rate is relevant in that case: I guess the question is who is doing a favor for whom (are they mostly helping you to get by or are you mostly helping them to save money for what all of you agree is a good cause). It is also important to remember that a professional captioner is likely to produce better work at a much faster pace and that it will take time for you to approach that level of productivity. It's a complicated situation.


I think it's more of the former case. They're pretty big, and I'm sure they could find another subber. Though these videos have been in post for 2 years, so I'm not really sure.

Michael Wetzel wrote:

My suggestion for trying to arrive at a price everyone is satisfied with in this very specific case:
I would calculate how many clock minutes you can realistically expect to need per minute of video to complete all of the work they are asking you to do and then add a buffer of maybe 25-35% for unexpected problems and communication and administrative aspects.

Then I would use that figure to calculate a minimum rate that you would not be willing to go below, because it would not make financial sense for you. Then I would keep all that to myself and talk about your issue to one of the Australians whom you know personally and ask if they can help you with a suggestion, possibly by going to the Canadians and asking them on your behalf.

That seems like the most likely way to end up with a rate that everyone is happy with. They are likely to offer more than the least amount you would have been willing to accept, and if they don't or you're otherwise unsatisfied with their offer (too low or too high), then you can try to negotiate with them.


This sounds like a good way to work things out. I'll start timing my work then, and getting in touch with one of my friends in Australia. Thanks for the help, Michael!


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Borianata
Bulgaria
Subtitle positioning - no positioning in the first 10 boxes Jul 19, 2016

Hello there!

I have the following situation - I made subtitles for a cleint in srt, pac and stl formats.
When sending files to client I received the following comment:

"Everything seems good, there is italics and positioning. My only issue that I found was that the positioning is not in the first ten boxes."

Could you please explain to me what exactly the client means and how to fix it!!!
Thank you !!!!


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Federación Rusa
Local time: 05:55
Miembro 2013
inglés al ruso
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
- Jul 19, 2016

Borianata wrote:

Hello there!

I have the following situation - I made subtitles for a cleint in srt, pac and stl formats.
When sending files to client I received the following comment:

"Everything seems good, there is italics and positioning. My only issue that I found was that the positioning is not in the first ten boxes."

Could you please explain to me what exactly the client means and how to fix it!!!
Thank you !!!!


Hi Borianata,

My best guess would be that your horizontal positioning is off, as the first ten character blocks are vacant. Maybe they want the subs to be left-aligned instead of center-aligned?

Did they provide you with a style guide? If not, I suggest you ask the client for a clarification.


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Borianata
Bulgaria
:-) Jul 19, 2016

Hi!

Thank you! I guessed so too.
And I asked the same question Let's see what the answer will be

Have a great day!


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Norfuer
Filipinas
Local time: 08:55
Quick dialogue exchange Aug 8, 2016

So I'm working on the subs, but I can't seem to get this to happen:
- Speaker 1: Line 1
- Speaker 2: Line 2

I'm using this kind of Time Code format
[Time 1]- Speaker 1: Line 1[Time 2]
[Time 1]- Speaker 2: Line 2[Time 2]

To try to get them to appear at the same time. But when I render the video, the subs just end up showing the first line. To quote my actual timecodes...

[00:25:18.27] - MARY SCHWEITZER: This is the piece. [00:25:21.05]
[00:25:18.27] - LESLEY STAHL: (gasps) No! [00:25:21.05]

But I just end up with

- MARY SCHWEITZER: This is the piece.

I'm using InqScribe 2.0.5 to create the sub file (SRT), and MediaCoder to render the subs into the mp4.

I was following the instructions from this page. https://collab.itc.virginia.edu/wiki/toolbox/Transcription%20&%20Inqscribe.html

What am I doing wrong? Thanks again.


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