Don't get shortchanged: professional quality video translation, dubbing, and subtitling don't come cheap.
Some people ask me to do a cost estimate because they liked a video on YouTube but didn't understand a thing. They think that the profusion of videos with amateur subtitles mean that this should not be something difficult or expensive. Well, this kind of job, if properly done, is quite expensive.
A video producer or distributor may pulverize this cost among thousands of spectators, so that nobody will notice that it is there. For a company marketing its products overseas, this cost is a mere fraction of producing it all locally from scratch, all over again.
Nevertheless, this cost is totally unaffordable for strictly personal use.
Anyway, in my permanent search for ways to help my clients save in cost, in this case, corporate video clients, I put together here a few strategies they may use without compromising the overall quality.
Digital video is available in a large variety of file types, codecs, frame sizes, aspect ratios, and other variables. Before burning subtitles onto the video, I have to analyze these parameters in the video I received from my customer, and in most cases convert it into a proper format to apply the subtitles on it and render a subtitled video. Then I might have to convert it to a specific customer-specified format, with its parameters.
These analysis, setting, preliminary conversion, burning, setting, and final conversion must be done for any video, regardless of its length. Sometimes they are complex, and may take a while. Once they are done, the remaining operations are "mechanical" computer work, which it may perform unattended. If it's a short video, one or just a few minutes, it won't take long. If the video playing time is one or more hours, I can leave the computer doing it overnight.
As translation and subtitling services are charged per minute of video play time, if a video is too short, it won't cover the cost of these necessary tasks. For this reason I have established the 15 minutes minimum order, to cover it.
It should be noted that most of these tasks can be batch-processed, i.e. I can queue several videos for the computer to process them one at a time, or simultaneously, depending on the software I use. Therefore the minimum per order should be covered by the sum of all the videos requested together.
If you want a quick and simple way to add the play time of several videos, I suggest you use PlayTime (Windows-only freeware). Just run it, then drag & drop all the videos on it.
To illustrate, once I received a data DVD containing four videos. All the players I had ran them without a hitch, however I couldn't open those videos to burn subtitles on them. It took me a few hours' research to find out what they were, and to find an adequate converter. Actually, they were a digital video file format Panasonic had developed in the 1990s. They manufactured about 1,000 cameras that recorded it, and then discontinued this format. Nevertheless, it became the baseline for countless other digital video formats developed later, and that was why every player was familiar with it!
COST-SAVING TIP: If you have short videos to subtitle and have the subtitles permanently burned on them, try to pack some of them together to add up to as close to 15 minutes as you can. You'll have more videos subtitled for the same cost.
If a subtitled video in FHD format cost 100 (just a reference figure), in HD it would cost 85, and in SD it would cost 78 (considering full service - subtitles burnt).