Earn Money By Writing Subtitles – A RoadMap Guide To Get Started

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Are you interested in making money online? Writing subtitles is a fun and flexible option.

The demand for accurate and engaging subtitles is increasing with the rise of video content on various platforms. This presents an opportunity for individuals with strong language skills and attention to detail.

This blog post will guide you on how to use your language skills to create subtitles from home and make money.

If you're a language lover, transcriptionist, or wordsmith, this guide will help you get started in subtitle creation and monetization.

What Does Writing Subtitles Mean?

Subtitles are text-based translations or transcriptions that appear on the screen alongside audio or video content. They tell you what the people are saying or what other important sounds you should know about.

It helps people with hearing impairments understand videos and movies by making the content accessible to them.

It helps people who don't speak the language of a movie or TV show to enjoy it by reading translated subtitles.

Subtitles can help you understand the content better, especially when the audio is hard to hear, the accents are strong, or the dialogue is fast.

A good example will be – English subtitles found in Thai movies.

Screenshot of a Thai Movie displaying English subtitles
A snap from the Thai movie "Friend Zone" with English subtitles

What is the Role of a Subtitle Writer and Their Responsibilities?

Did you know that subtitle writers are superheroes when it comes to making sure that everyone can enjoy audiovisual content?

These talented professionals are responsible for creating accurate and engaging subtitles that help viewers understand and appreciate videos and shows.

Here are some responsibilities:

  • Their job involves capturing every word and matching it with the perfect timing, while also translating dialogue when necessary.
  • Timing is important. This means you'll need to match the subtitles perfectly with the audio or video ensuring they appear and disappear at the right moments, and are easy to read and understand.
  • You'll need to do your research and understand the context, cultural references, and specialized vocabulary used in the content to make accurate translations and convey the intended message.
  • Keeping up with the newest developments in subtitle software and tools is crucial. This will help you work better and create good work.

What Is The Difference Between Captions And Subtitles?

Before going ahead, it is essential to know the difference between them as people fall into confusion, considering they are the same. Though both have somewhat the same job, there is a slight difference between them.

Captions are written text shown when the audio is not clear. It just displays the exact words the person is talking about in the video.

For example, if you are watching a video where the voice is too low that you're unable to understand, adding a caption solves the problem.

On the other hand, Subtitles are translated text shown when the targeted audience couldn't understand the language.

For example, being an English-speaking person, when you watch a video in an unfamiliar language (like Korean, or Japanese), an English subtitle can help you figure out the conversation.

What Are The Skills Needed for Subtitle Writing?

1. Good Typing Speed and Better Listening Skills

To become a subtitler, having good typing speed and strong listening skills are essential. These two skills are fundamental in accurately transcribing and timing subtitles for audiovisual content.

A fast and accurate typing speed allows you to keep up with the spoken dialogue or audio cues, ensuring that your subtitles are synchronized with the content. The ability to type quickly and efficiently helps maintain productivity and meet project deadlines.

Additionally, excellent listening skills are crucial for a subtitler. You need to be able to comprehend and accurately transcribe the spoken words, ensuring that the subtitles capture the intended meaning and convey the dialogue effectively. 

By combining a fast typing speed with sharp listening skills, you can create high-quality subtitles that enhance the viewing experience for audiences.

2. Strong command of the language(s)

Subtitlers need to know the language(s) well to make good subtitles that are correct and of good quality.

This means they must know the nuances of the language, such as grammar rules and idiomatic expressions. This will help them to produce accurate subtitles for their audience.

3. Attention to detail and accuracy

One of the most crucial skills a subtitler must have is attention to detail. Every word, punctuation mark, and timecode must be accurate. You can't miss even one word, because that could change the sense of the whole sentence.

Accuracy is key in subtitling because it's not just about the words; it's also about the context.

4. Familiarity with subtitle formatting and timing

The writing size and color of subtitles should be the same every time. They also need to appear on the screen at the correct time.

A good subtitler will be able to adjust the timing of subtitles to match the pace of the dialogue and the action on the screen.

It's a skill that takes practice, but it's essential to creating quality subtitles that enhance the viewer's experience.

5. Research and contextual understanding

As a subtitler, it's essential to have a curious mind and a passion for research. You can't just rely on the script alone to produce high-quality subtitles. Thus, context is crucial when producing subtitles for a film, TV show, or documentary.

This means understanding the cultural nuances, idioms, and informal language used by the characters and translating them correctly into the desired language.

Is Any Experience Required For The Subtitling Job?

When it comes to finding clients as a freelancer, some prefer experience while others just want you to know the language.

This is good news for beginners, however, I recommend learning the ins and outs before subtitling.

Are There Any Online Course That Teaches Subtitling?

You can even enroll in some online training to really master the skill and build your confidence. Trust me, learning from a certified instructor is the best way to shorten your learning curve and impress your potential clients.

While subtitling may seem like a breeze, proper training is key to standing out in the industry.

So, take a look at these courses I recommend, and let's polish your subtitling skills together!

How Much Do Subtitle Translators Get Paid/Earn?

A subtitle editor's salary can vary depending on their workplace, experience level, type of employer, and location.

In general, the salary range for a subtitle editor can vary widely. Entry-level positions or freelance work may offer lower rates, typically ranging from $15 to $30 per hour or project. Editors with more experience can charge higher rates, which can be between $30 to $60 per hour or more.

These numbers are not exact and can change a lot depending on your situation. Additionally, the availability of steady work and the volume of projects can also impact the overall income of a subtitle editor.

Where Do I Find Subtitle Typing Jobs?

If you want to earn money by writing subtitles, you can do so in a couple of ways. You could start freelancing and offer your skills to clients directly. You can also sign up with online subtitling companies.

Here are a few websites that might help you if you want to try working.

1. Fiverr

Fiverr website

Fiverr is a fantastic marketplace where talented freelancers like yourself can sell their services (or gigs) starting at just $5!

To join, make an account and share all the important information about your subtitle service. Pro tip: make sure your description is super enticing and well-written to catch the eye of potential clients.

When you first get started, I recommend setting a minimum price for your gig and gradually working your way up as you complete more jobs. Trust me, you'll be a top-rated seller in no time!

2. Upwork

Upwork is a popular online platform that offers a wide range of freelance opportunities, including subtitle jobs.

With its global reach and extensive client base, Upwork provides a convenient platform for subtitle writers to connect with potential clients and find meaningful projects.

The platform allows freelancers to create detailed profiles showcasing their skills, experience, and previous work, making it easier for clients to assess their suitability for subtitle projects.

Its robust search and filtering options enable subtitle writers to find relevant job listings tailored to their expertise and preferences.

Overall, Upwork offers a valuable resource for subtitle writers to showcase their skills, find job opportunities, and build their careers in the field of subtitle writing.

3. FlexJobs

FlexJobs website

FlexJobs is a reputable online platform that offers a wide range of remote and flexible job opportunities, including subtitle jobs.

With its dedication to promoting legitimate and high-quality remote work, FlexJobs provides a trusted resource for individuals seeking subtitle writing opportunities.

Through its user-friendly interface and advanced search filters, job seekers can easily navigate the platform to find relevant subtitle job listings from reputable companies and organizations.

FlexJobs ensures that all job postings undergo a rigorous screening process, reducing the risk of scams or unreliable positions.

4. Freelancer

Freelancer website

Freelancer is a popular online platform where individuals can find a wide range of subtitle job opportunities. It serves as a marketplace that connects freelance subtitle writers with clients seeking their services.

Through Freelancer, people can create profiles, showcase their skills and experience, and browse through a diverse array of subtitle projects posted by clients from around the world.

Whether you are an experienced subtitle writer or just starting out, Freelancer offers a convenient and efficient way to explore and apply for subtitle jobs, expanding your opportunities to earn extra money online through your writing skills.

5. Rev

Rev website

Rev is a reputable platform where individuals can find various subtitle jobs and opportunities.

As a leading provider of transcription, captioning, and translation services, Rev offers a dedicated marketplace for subtitle writers to connect with clients in need of their expertise.

Whether it's closed captions, translated subtitles, or other subtitle-related projects, Rev provides a user-friendly interface where freelancers can browse and apply for available jobs that match their language skills and specialization.

With Rev's extensive client base, including renowned media companies and content creators, freelancers can access a wide range of projects and enjoy the flexibility of choosing assignments that align with their interests and schedule.

A subtitler on Rev typically earns up to $958 a month, which is anywhere from $1.50 to $3 Per audio/video minute.

6. Vanan

Vanan Online services website

If you're interested in working as a subtitler, Vanan is definitely a company worth considering! They've been around since 2013 and have worked with some impressive clients, including HP, Intel, NASA, and Harvard University.

Now, one downside to keeping in mind is that subtitling jobs might not always be available with Vanan.

But don't feel disheartened! You can always check their website every so often to see if they have any available jobs.

Can You Get Paid For Writing YouTube Subtitles? 

Yes, it is possible to get paid for writing YouTube subtitles.

On YouTube, creators can add subtitles or closed captions to their videos so more people can understand them.

Some content creators may choose to outsource the task of creating subtitles to professional subtitle writers or utilize crowd-sourced platforms where individuals can contribute subtitles for videos.

There are different ways to find paid opportunities for writing YouTube subtitles. Freelancing platforms, job boards, and online marketplaces often feature listings for subtitle writing jobs, including those specific to YouTube content.

Additionally, reaching out directly to YouTube creators or production companies that have a significant presence on the platform may uncover potential paid opportunities.

It's important to note that the availability of paid work for writing YouTube subtitles can vary, and competition may exist for such positions. However, with persistence, research, and networking, it is possible to find paid opportunities in this field.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Subtitle Writing Jobs?

Every job has some pros and cons & subtitling jobs is no different. Here a few advantages you can enjoy as a Subtitle translator.

  • Experience is not much needed to get into this field. As long as you know multiple languages, you're good to go.
  • If you have a good grip on English & you're well versed in the required language, the subtitling job will be easy to perform.

Though everybody loves the job benefits, there are some cons you need to know before making your final decision.

  • This is not a well-paying job that can be considered full-time. If you are interested in only making extra money as a side hustle, go ahead.
  • You may have to face a lot of rejections from the clients when you're starting out. However, this will improve as you gain experience.
  • Sometimes you may find poor video audios that can hinder your productivity.

Final Note:

In conclusion, writing subtitles can be a rewarding and flexible way to earn extra money online.

The demand for subtitle writers continues to grow, driven by the increasing accessibility needs and globalization of audiovisual content.

Improving your language skills, paying attention to details, and learning subtitle formatting can help you become a subtitle writer.

From working with major streaming services to freelancing on diverse platforms, the opportunities are abundant.

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