A Beginner’s Guide For A Successful Subtitling Career

Subtitling is a career option that many people haven’t really tapped into and one which is really interesting and lucrative if approached in the best way possible. I should know this because I have been working as a freelance subtitler for a couple of companies over the last three years. I can tell you for sure it is one skill that I do not regret taking on and learning. For someone who is just starting out, it can be really frustrating and annoying because the entire process includes the use of different software. If you are an individual who’s not keen and patient, the whole experience can be very daunting for you. 

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get started as a subtitler? What skills you need to have to make the cut? Where to go in search of subtitle jobs? How to approach the whole concept of subtitling and what to do to make it a suitable career for you? Well, you don’t have to keep on wondering because, in this article, we will look at exactly that. I will outline some tips that will help catapult your subtitling career to the next level.

1. Acquire The Correct Skill Set

This is the very first tip you need to look into and seriously in that matter. I will tell you this for free, subtitling is not a simple process, and being a person who is fresh and getting to learn the nitty-gritty that goes into the entire process can be very overwhelming. Being a subtitler requires you to have a specific skill set. You need to learn how to use at least three of the subtitling software that we have in the market currently. This is because different clients prefer different software for their subtitle works. It will also make you a versatile subtitler, and you won’t be missing out on projects because of not knowing how to use a particular software. There are a lot of software out there but as a beginner, I would advise you to try your best and learn how to subtitle using the Subtitle Edit software which is not as complicated as the others.

After you learn how to use the software, you must learn how to condense a long conversation into a few words while still maintaining the original meaning of the audiovisual. This means that your translation prowess must be really impeccable considering the fact that audiovisual translation is not as easy as word-for-word translation, in this case, it is audio to word translation. It is very easy to gain these skills by using the school of YouTube which is free and vast. There are very many YouTube tutorials that you can use to learn how to create subtitles using different subtitling software.

2. Work On Videos To Create A Portfolio And Resume

After the complete process of teaching yourself how to use the software and condense the dialogues, it is important to find videos you can work on and help you showcase your skills when the time to apply for paying jobs comes. If you miss this trip, it will be super hard for you to get any client to trust that your level of prowess is as good as you say it is. Everybody knows that seeing is believing. Be sure to be keen when working on these sample videos so that you showcase your skills in the best light possible.

3. Sift Through Social Media And Find Yourself A Subtitling Job

After extensively exhausting tip number one and two where you have gone and acquired all the important skills that encompass the subtitling process and also gone a step further to create a portfolio and resume you can go on and try to get a subtitling job. This is where things get really tough as we all know trying to land a project to work on, regardless of which career it is you looking into is not a simple task. The same applies for subtitling jobs and even worse considering the fact that it’s a new career to many people. As much as it is a hard task it is not an impossible one and if you use all the tools given to you by google and other social media sites, you will get a job.

You should start out by setting up a LinkedIn and Twitter profile so that it will be easy for you to connect with people in the same industry as you. This will give you such a massive boost and advantage to your career more so for inter-lingual subtitling. A lot of projects we all get as freelancers in the subtitling industry is usually through referrals. Putting yourself in an environment that gains you connections is very important.

Social media has made the world a global village and you will find clients looking for freelance subtitlers on these online platforms. If you are lucky enough, you might land your first subtitling gig the very first time you send a proposal out to a client. Keep on writing proposals and eventually, you will start getting jobs that might end up overwhelming you.

Social media is also useful to find actual vacancies. LinkedIn is a vast database. It’s free, reliable and constantly to update with real good quality vacancies.

4. Research On Different Subtitling Companies And Apply For Jobs

There are very many companies existing and others that are up and coming which offer subtitling vacancies. Be sure to do extensive research and find out where these companies are and try to land yourself a job with them. Film production and dubbing companies are the best to look into when trying to get a subtitling and translation job. Since most companies might not be near your current location, you can go to their websites, get their contacts and reach out to them and make your services known to them. You might find out that some companies have no vacancies at the particular time you are searching, just email them your resume and a portfolio of some videos you have created subtitles for so that they can consider you for any upcoming positions. You can go further and create a web page that will showcase what you can do and what services you offer.

5. Sign Up And Get A Freelance Account On Upwork

Upwork is an online platform that gives freelancers and clients a chance to get jobs and offer jobs solely online. There are a lot of online websites that offer the same services but I specifically suggest upwork.com because I know it is a legit website which I have worked and gotten paid on. It might not pay as much but as a beginner, it will help you get a couple of jobs that will help build your portfolio further.

These 5 tips will definitely catapult your subtitling career to greater heights if you follow them keenly and have an open mind. Having an open mind that nothing comes easy, and that everything takes a while before coming full circle will help you not give up along the way. Enjoy the journey and eventually, you reap the fruits of your labor.

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