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How to work as a subtitle translator?

Working as a subtitler is becoming more and more common due to the large quantity of international audiovisual content that has become available thanks to online streaming. Professional subtitlers are tasked with making audiovisual content that is not dubbed available to international audiences.

What subtitlers do

You might think that subtitlers do a very similar job to translators (and this is partly true), however, subtitling is more complex than translation work.

A good subtitler must:

  • have a perfect command of the source language of the content that needs to be subtitled;
  • have an excellent knowledge of the target language;
  • be able to modify dialogue.

This last task is the most crucial as subtitle translators need to know how to summarise and modify what people are actually saying on screen so that they can keep subtitles within a certain character limit.

This allows viewers to read lines as they are said on screen, making it easier to understand content.

How much does a subtitler make?

Subtitlers are freelancers, so they can agree on their own rate for each task. Of course, the more experienced a subtitler is, the higher their hourly rate will be.

Working as a subtitle translator: what to study

Nowadays there is no specific course of study to become a subtitler. A degree in foreign languages or linguistic mediation is recommended, as is an understanding of the software required to create subtitles.

Subtitling and professional careers

Subtitling takes less time and resources than dubbing, so it is often preferred to dubbing.

In addition, a subtitler can work remotely from anywhere and does not need access to a recording studio.

Subtitlers for film and TV

Generating subtitles for foreign films and TV series is the most common career among subtitlers as this type of multimedia content is the most popular, and therefore the most produced.

Subtitlers for documentaries

Producing subtitles for documentaries varies slightly from subtitling for film and TV.

When it comes to documentaries, the narrator is off screen, so it is easier to modify the subtitles accompanying footage.

However, subtitles still need to be aligned with the original text where possible, so that all of the information can be translated as accurately as possible.

How do you become a subtitler for Netflix?

Netflix periodically opens its online applications for professional subtitlers, depending on its needs. Anyone can apply, as long as they can prove they meet the requirements of the company.

Redazione Eurotrad

June 27, 2022

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