How to Make Money Writing Subtitles: 11 Simple Methods (2023)

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Do you seek a work-at-home income opportunity? Do you like movies and have a firm grasp of the English language? If this sounds like you, maybe you should consider a career as a movie subtitle writer.

How much money can be made subtitling movies, and how to get started doing it, are topics we'll cover in this post.

Read on if you're in need of a supplementary income and are open to creative ideas.

man with headset working to make money writing subtitles

Is it possible to earn a living creating subtitles?

The business of writing subtitles is a lucrative one. Subtitling films is a highly sought-after skill, and movie studios and production companies are always on the lookout for talented writers. Subtitles are essential for the success of smaller, independent content creators.

To make online lectures, television shows, and other forms of audio/visual content more accessible, a subtitler (also called a captioner) may add text descriptions of the spoken words. Open subtitles, closed subtitles, and burned-in subtitles are the three most common types.

While closed captions can be toggled on and off, open captions are always on display and cannot be hidden. Video captions that have been burned in cannot be disabled.

A subtitle writer's job is to transcribe on-screen dialogue accurately and present it in a format that is legible to an audience.  

Timing, character counts, and screen real estate are just a few of the considerations you'll need to make. Subtitles should be easy to read without being distracting, and they should not interfere with the natural flow of the dialogue or the action on screen.

Subtitles are a valuable commodity because they allow content to be viewed without the sound on, help the deaf, and translate content into other languages.

woman with eyeglasses working to make money writing subtitles

Approximately how much money can be made subtitling films?

The average pay for a video project is between $50 and $500, or $1 50 to $3 100 per visual minute Several factors come into play here, including video length, language support, and turnaround time.

The annual salary range for professional subtitlers is between $55,000 and ,000. You can get a great salary and benefits package working for a company, like the one where you write subtitles for Netflix.

On the other hand, you may find greater financial success as a freelancer. This is because many businesses that hire freelancers have to pay a set fee per project, no matter how long it takes to finish.

Freelancing has its advantages, but remember that without a steady employer, your income will be more volatile. You'll need to actively promote your services and look for new customers.

Knowing more than one language can help you earn more money when working as a subtitle writer. As a result, you'll be in a better position to take on projects that call for fluency in several tongues. A project that needs subtitles in two languages, such as English and Spanish, will pay more than one that only needs subtitles in one language.

a woman holding a mug of coffee making money writing subtitles

In what ways can I make money writing subtitles?

The first step in becoming a professional subtitle writer is to become proficient in the language you intend to use. This is because proper subtitles are essential for the viewing audience's comprehension of on-screen speech.

You will be formally studying to become a subtitler if you intend to write translations into another language. However, a captioner or a transcriptionist is what you'll be labeled as if your only goal is to write subtitles in your native language. Both paths can lead to a lucrative career, but subtitlers tend to earn more on average.

The technical aspects of writing subtitles require more than just a review of grammar. You'll learn how to account for things like character limits and timing in order to make your writing legible on a screen.

Related: 16 Top Home-Based Transcription Positions (No Experience Required!)

After finishing a course, you can put what you've learned into practice by creating subtitles for practice videos. Find a video, open a word document, and begin transcribing the spoken words exactly as they appear on the screen. Remember to format your text correctly, and to make sure that your subtitles are easy to read without being distracting

You can use this as a practice run for professional subtitling, and it will give you an idea of how quickly and accurately you can type. It will boost your self-assurance when applying for jobs and give you more leverage when bargaining for higher pay.

In what ways can I make money writing subtitles?

If you want to make money as a subtitle writer, the best way to get started is to take on easy freelance jobs and work your way up to more difficult ones. Doing so will help you hone your skills as a subtitle writer.

Some of the top markets for professional subtitling services are as follows:

First, we must begin subtitling Vanan.

Subtitle writing jobs are plentiful at this organization, which has been around since 2013. They offer ample opportunities for translators and translators interested in working as captioners.

Vanan is an excellent place to work thanks to its supportive management and upbeat culture. Your manager will keep you accountable for your work, your coworkers will cheer you on as you achieve success, and you'll have a great time doing it.

Their translators and stenographers are hand-picked professionals. Instead, they use a stringent selection process to make sure all of their members are up to par. You will be considered for employment once you have successfully completed a battery of language-specific multiple-choice, free-response, and timed translation/translation tests.

Do contract work for Rev.

If you're interested in trying out freelance subtitle writing, Rev is a fantastic platform from which to launch your career. For free, you can join and immediately begin working on small-scale transcription and translation assignments.

The majority of open projects on Rev are from English to Spanish or vice versa, but other language pairs are also welcome. The pay isn't great, but it's a solid foundation upon which to launch a career.

Working from home or, say, in the military, transcribing audio files for Rev is a simple way to make some extra cash. All you need is a computer and headphones, and you can work as little or as much as you want. Sign up with Rev for free and take their transcription test to get started transcribing. After you've proven yourself, you'll be able to begin producing sample audio files.

Related Resource: 24 Legitimate Work-From-Home Opportunities

Subtitle your video using services on Fiverr

Subtitling services can be advertised and purchased on Fiverr, a well-known freelance marketplace. You're free to charge whatever you see fit and put in however much or little time you desire. Working directly with clients is a great way to hone your negotiation skills.

It's a great way to start building your name recognition and familiarity with marketing fundamentals. Start by making a gig where you detail your services, pricing, and availability. Start promoting your gig on various online channels once you've finished creating it.  

Now we're done with that. There are no interviews or applications to fill out; once your gig is live, you can start getting paid immediately.

The idea behind Fiverr is that it's possible to find a wide range of services for just $5. While this won't get you very far in terms of paying clients for professional subtitling or captioning, you can advertise a $5 trial to get people interested in working with you.

a woman applying online to make money writing subtitles

Fourth, look for subtitling work on Upwork.

Subtitling jobs are just one of the many freelance opportunities available through Upwork (formerly oDesk). The site allows you to look for jobs that match your qualifications and apply for them online.

The ability to receive email notifications is a great feature of Upwork. This way, you can get instantaneous updates about relevant job openings that suit your experience and preferences. To do this, navigate to the Jobs section of your UpWork dashboard.

You have to pay to submit a bid for a job these days, and if you win the bid, you have to pay a hefty commission. As a result, many Upwork subtitling freelancers charge slightly more than they would offline.

Related: 38 Trustworthy Online Typing Jobs That Pay You to Work from Home

Join the 3Play Media crew, number five

The company now known as 3Play Media was founded in 1992 under the name Caption Max and has since partnered with major corporations including NBC, Peloton, Sony, and Warner Bros. Through their system, users can engage in closed captioning, live captioning, audio description, translation, and subtitling.

To give you an idea of what to expect if you're just starting out in subtitling, the going rate for freelancers is between $14 and $23 per hour. Although you'll need a resume and samples to apply, the procedure is straightforward.

6. Make contact with content producers

Subtitling is a niche field in which you can find work without a significant online presence. You can advertise your services directly to content producers. If you're looking for regular or permanent employment, this is your best bet.

Start by looking for channels that make videos in languages other than English or that include subtitles on YouTube. Next, contact the channel owner via email to pitch your services.

Maintain an air of professionalism by listing your credentials, rates, and expected turnaround time. Make your first project more appealing to the channel owner by providing a discount. You can make connections and build your resume in this way.

a man listening to the audio of a video to make money writing subtitles

Happy Scribe's Caption, Number Seven

Another excellent subtitling service for newcomers is Happy Scribe. They pay an average of $450 monthly, with the potential for up to $3,000 for the top earners.

A test and questionnaire are part of the application process. In order to demonstrate your subtitling abilities, Happy Scribe will send you a test file if you pass the screening process. If you get the job, you can start right away.

Happy Scribe's customer tool makes it simple to use shortcuts, punctuation, and format your subtitles, making it a favorite among subtitling professionals.

They also host an international forum where remote workers can meet like-minded people and find expert advice.  

Related: Top 24 Online Careers for Expectant Mothers to Earn an Income from Home

8 Always monitor the PPH graph

Subtitling jobs, both one-time and ongoing, can be found on People Per Hour. Find a job that fits your needs and apply for it online.

Be specific about your background, pricing, and availability in your application. To further pique the client's interest, you can provide a discount on the initial project.

With no startup costs or commission fees, People Per Hour is a fantastic platform for finding freelance work as a virtual assistant or subtitle writer. People are more likely to be open to working with you if you're just starting out because it's a good platform for novice freelancers.

a mother working from home to make money writing subtitles

9. Refine the quality assurance and editing of the captions

Caption editing and quality control is a lucrative field for those with a keen attention to detail and command of the English language.

Every day, hundreds of hours of subtitle content are created and require editing. For those who are dedicated, this opens up numerous doors.

A good place to start looking for companies that are currently hiring is on freelancer platforms like Upwork or People Per Hour. You can also make contact with businesses and ask about openings there.

10 Attempt creating YouTube captions

Subtitling jobs abound on YouTube, one of the most popular video sharing websites. You can look for available positions and contact video makers directly on YouTube.

Make it easier on yourself and the client by providing information about your background, rates, and turnaround time. To further entice them, you could offer a discount on the initial job.

Work for Netflix as a subtitlist.

One of the best places to find work as a subtitle writer is on Netflix, one of the most widely used streaming services. The Netflix Preferred Fulfillment Partners page allows you to look for open positions in the region of your choice.

To get started, visit the websites of businesses in your area that provide subtitles in your language(s) of choice, fill out an application, and then get to work! They will probably have you take a test before they let you work on subtitling, but if you do well, they will hire you.

My advice is to submit your resume to multiple businesses. Once you've been accepted by at least one, it's usually wise to work for several at once so that you can better manage your workload.

Of course, you're free to work as little as you like, too. Maybe you want to ease into retirement by working part-time.  

Is It Difficult to Work in Subtitling?

Correctness is of the utmost importance when subtitling, as the slightest error can completely alter the intended meaning. This highlights the significance of giving your work a thorough proofread before submitting it. Don't be in a hurry; rather, take your time acquiring the required knowledge and abilities.

A job as a subtitle writer is within your reach if you take the time to learn the industry standards for subtitle writing and become proficient with the relevant software. Over time, you'll be able to write within the guidelines automatically after having committed them to memory.

Subtitling a 10-minute video: how long does it take?

While there is no universal solution to this problem, subtitling a ten-minute video typically takes two hours. That's how long it takes to watch the video, transcribe the dialogue, and make the subtitles.

Subtitling a video can take anywhere from minutes to days, depending on the length of the video, the difficulty of the text, and the number of languages used. Subtitling videos can take some time, but you'll get better at it the more you do it. This is a great chance to earn some quick cash in just 60 minutes.

a college student make money writing subtitiles

How to become a good subtitlist

Subtitres are only as accurate, clear, and easy to read as the subtitler, and the latter's understanding of the meaning, timing, sound, punctuation, and capitalization of the dialogue in a video is essential. Subtitling dialogue correctly requires not only knowledge of the language but also an ear for how people actually speak.

Because of this, the subtitles they produce are more coherent and easy on the eyes.

Subtitling involves more than just typing words. To be successful, you need to know the ins and outs of your field. Italics are commonly used to indicate thought, dreaming, or a voice-over, among other situations. The quality of your subtitles will greatly benefit from your familiarity with these standards.

How Does One Start Captioning Videos on YouTube?

To become a YouTube subtitler, you must approach video makers and propose your services. Online job boards and freelancer marketplaces are two more places to look. It's important to discuss rates in advance because the budgets of different content creators can vary widely.

Subtitling videos in multiple languages is a necessity for some YouTube channels. Here's a chance to rake in some extra cash if you speak more than two languages. To ensure their subtitles are error-free, others may be looking for editors or proofreaders.

You may want to consider working in a specific niche when applying to get paid to write subtitles for YouTube If you have a particular interest in cooking, for instance, you could approach channels that specialize in cooking video production and offer your services to them. As a result, you'll have a better chance of getting hired and of connecting with clients who are a good fit for you.

a woman typing to make money writing subtitles

How do I get started subtitling for Netflix?

Those interested in working as subtitle writers for Netflix can do so by visiting the Netflix Preferred Fulfillment Partners page and narrowing their search by region. Visit the websites of the businesses that subtitrate in your language(s) in your area from the list of vendors provided and submit an application to them.

If you want to learn more about a company before working with them, you can check out their current delivery metrics, awards, and primary contact person on Netflix's Preferred Fulfillment Partners page.

They will probably have you take a test before they let you work on subtitling, but if you do well, they will hire you. Taking on multiple clients at once gives you greater leeway in determining your workload and income potential.

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