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Subtitling Service Translation Rates Explained

subtitling service translation

How Do Subtitle Translations Work?

Within subtitling services, the translation process involves a number of steps. First, the video should be transcribed word for word in the source language. Next, the text will be timed and split as subtitles. Once a source language subtitle file exists, text can be translated line by line into the target language(s). This process ensures the highest quality subtitle output. However, it can also make subtitling service translation rates tricky to project and budget for.

Subtitle translations can potentially be priced up in a number of different ways and some companies will offer per video minute rates for translations. At Capital Captions, however, our foreign subtitling service charges are applied as below:

  • Source language video transcription charge – Starting from £1.00 per video minute
  • Video subtitling (source language) including translation template – Starting from £2.50 per video minute
  • Source to target language subtitle and video translation – Starting from £0.12 per word
  • Burning services are available and depend on video length, file size and visual complexity. (E.g. onscreen graphics, text and/or shot changes).

Are there other options in terms of subtitle translation prices?

Subtitling companies will typically charge translations on a per word basis. This means a source language transcript needs to be written before confirming a subtitle price. For this reason, it can be tempting to translate from the video instead of using a source language transcription. Whilst this approach may be seem like a good idea, the results are often highly compromised and in some cases, the subtitling process has to be entirely revisited. Additionally, where videos don’t contain constant speech, the cost can work out higher this way. This is usually due to issues with reading speeds or audio and visual sync because of structural differences in writing from one language to another.

Why are ‘per word’ subtitling prices best for both translators and clients?

When subtitling, it’s crucial to work from text in order to allow the most flexibility in keeping to reading speeds and character limits. Good subtitling can be quite a mathematical process with reading speeds, frame rates, subtitle duration’s and gaps to work through. Per word subtitle translation charges ensure the highest level of accuracy where nothing is missed. Translation is an art form and can be subjective, which means without something concrete to start from, the final product can wind up drifting a little too far from the finishing line.

For standard document translation, differences in word and character count aren’t typically an issue. However, the hard work in subtitling is to minimise the difference in terms of word count in order to maintain reasonable reading speeds. In addition, remember, subtitles should only linger onscreen for between one and seven seconds. Too many characters and viewers won’t have time to read – regardless of language…

Languages and Character Densities 

The below table gives an indication of the average difference in terms of character limits between source and target text. Word rate differences (spoken and written) should also help to clarify why we charge translations on a per word basis as opposed to per video minute.

English to German subtitles 30% increase
English to Portuguese subtitles 25% increase
English to Spanish subtitles 25% increase
English to French subtitles 20% increase
English to Italian subtitles 20% increase
English to Arabic subtitles 20% increase
English to Greek subtitles 10% increase
English to Dutch subtitles 15% decrease
English to Chinese subtitles 25% decrease
English to Japanese subtitles 40% decrease

As you can see from the above table some languages increase as they are translated and some decrease in length.

If you would like more information on our language translation services or would like a quote for a job which is planned, contact us using our quote page today.

Subtitle Services

  • Broadcast Subtitles
  • Subtitles for Films
  • Online Video Subtitles
  • Television Subtitles
  • Subtitle Placement
  • Subtitle Formatting

Closed Captions

  • Broadcast Closed Captions
  • VoD Closed Captions
  • Closed Caption Formatting
  • Captions for the Deaf
  • Caption Regulations
  • Amazon Closed Captions

Translation Services

  • Foreign Subtitles
  • YouTube Translation
  • Video Translation
  • French Translation
  • Captions and Formatting
  • VoD Translation

Contact us today for your free 5 minute sample!

About us

At Capital Captions, we take pride in our flexible, tailor-made approach to subtitling, closed captioning, video translation and video transcription services. We offer professional, reliable, cost effective services to clients across the globe.

  • Walsham Road, Kent, United Kingdom ME5 9HX
  • +44 (0) 1634 867 131
  • infocaptions

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