Get Paid for Subtitling: 5 Simple Steps to Start Earning

As content creators strive to expand their reach, incorporating subtitles into their videos has become increasingly popular. Providing subtitles not only enhances accessibility for those with hearing impairments but can also improve engagement and attract audiences who prefer a muted or sound-free viewing experience. But, have you ever thought of getting paid for doing subtitles? Well, it’s a possibility that many are successfully taking advantage of. In this article, we’ll dive into the lucrative world of subtitling and explore how you can get paid for your skills.

What is subtitling?

Subtitling is the process of adding written text to a video or audio clip to provide context or a translation of the spoken words. Subtitles can appear at the bottom of the screen, usually in a contrasting colour to make them easy to read. Subtitling is widely used in television shows, movies and more recently, on online platforms such as YouTube.

Why is subtitling important?

Subtitles are an essential tool for accessibility. They enable deaf or hard-of-hearing people to enjoy video content and they can be beneficial to others, too. Subtitles can improve engagement, encourage viewers to watch videos for longer periods and increase overall audience retention rates. Finally, subtitles can help the content creators to reach a global audience. Subtitling can expand the reach of your content by allowing people who speak a different language to enjoy it.

How to become a subtitler?

So, how do you enter the subtitling world? The first step is to gain knowledge and expertise in subtitling. Here are some resources to help you get started:

#1: Learn the tools of the trade

Subtitling involves the use of specialised software for the creation and editing of subtitles. You’ll need to familiarise yourself with the software you plan to use. Check out subtitling software such as Subtitle Workshop, Aegisub and Jubler, among others.

#2: Understand the subtitling guidelines

Understanding subtitling guidelines is key to becoming a successful subtitler. These guidelines aim to ensure that subtitling is a completely functional and intuitive element while conveying the message of the video content. Different platforms may have different subtitling guidelines. It’s important to research the guidelines of the platforms that interest you.

#3: Hone your language skills

Language skills are essential for subtitling. In-depth knowledge of the language you plan to work in is paramount. Knowledge of idioms, colloquial expressions, regional variations, and nuances can be the key to translating a video correctly. You’ll need to have excellent English skills and expertise in any other language you wish to subtitle in.

#4: Obtain training and certification

Training and certification can help you on the path to becoming a professional subtitler. You can get recognised qualifications from professional bodies such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, the Chartered Institute of Linguists, and the Translator Certifications of America.

#5: Build a portfolio

Building a portfolio is a great way to showcase your work to potential clients. Create demo videos that capture the essence of your skills and share them on social media platforms and job portals.

Where to find paid subtitling work?

Now that you have the required skills and expertise in subtitling, you’re probably wondering where to find paid subtitling work. Here are some options:

#1: Video editing and subtitling freelancing websites

There are several freelancing websites such as Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork where you can find subtitling work. These platforms allow you to set up a portfolio, showcase your work, and win jobs as a subtitler.

#2: Translation and subtitling agencies

Translation and subtitling agencies employ subtitlers and offer subtitling services to their clients. You can find these agencies in local press directories and by doing internet research.

#3: YouTube and its audio and video alternatives

YouTube is the biggest video platform worldwide, and it makes sense that content creators turn to it for subtitling needs. You can search for channels that have videos without subtitles and then offer your subtitling services to them. Other platforms like Vimeo and Dailymotion can also be viable alternatives for finding clients interested in your subtitling services.

How much can you expect to earn as a subtitler?

Subtitling requirements are charged per minute of video. The amount you earn will depend on your experience, expertise, languages offered, and subtitling requirements. Currently, a beginner can earn from $1 to $3 per minute while expert subtitlers can earn up to $10 per minute depending on the type of video and language. This means that by a full-time arrangement, you could earn anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000 per month in earnings.


Subtitling can be a great side hustle for content creators who want to earn extra money while providing a valuable service. The skills and expertise you need to be a successful subtitler can be as simple as your language comprehension paired with subtitling software. Since subtitling can expand the reach of your content and improve accessibility for your audience, it’s a good idea to consider using them regularly in your work and even offering your skills professionally. While subtitling can be a bit of a niche market, it could be a new income stream or even a possible career path.

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