Recently, several major subtitling companies have posted job announcements for freelance subtitlers. In most cases, experience is not required and is, at best, preferred. They emphasize benefits like flexible hours, working from home and controlling your workload. The one thing they do not mention is their rates.
On applying, subtitlers discover that the rates on offer are extremely low and that the companies in question have no intention of raising them. With many of these rates, a subtitler can only hope to make no more than the minimum wage when working full-time. Controlling the workload then becomes very difficult, and saving up for a pension and paying for health insurance (things any self-employed person should be able to do) effectively become impossible.
Subtitling is a creative process that requires expertise, and professional subtitlers should be rewarded for their skills. Newcomers should be offered proper training and should not be exploited with minimal rates.
The more translators and subtitlers refuse to accept these unsatisfactory working conditions and rates, the more we will be able to fight to make service providers aware that audiovisual translation is a creative occupation which requires time and decent pay.
Please make sure not to accept any job advertised in this manner, and report all unacceptable offers to the professional organizations in your country, whether you are a member or not, as well as to AVTE, either by email, through our website, our Facebook page, or tag us on Twitter (@avteur).