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Subtitling test
Thread poster: Rebecca Ohara

Rebecca Ohara
Sweden
Local time: 13:03
French to English
+ ...
Sep 20, 2018

Good afternoon,

I don't really know how this forum works yet, I just found out about it on a Google search I did.
I hope I'm not violating any "rules" by opening a new post here.

I'm totally new to subtitling, I've been studying it at home and been trained by a friend who has been doing this for 15 years.
I applied to work with Sfera Studios to get some first experience, and took their tests.
... See more
Good afternoon,

I don't really know how this forum works yet, I just found out about it on a Google search I did.
I hope I'm not violating any "rules" by opening a new post here.

I'm totally new to subtitling, I've been studying it at home and been trained by a friend who has been doing this for 15 years.
I applied to work with Sfera Studios to get some first experience, and took their tests. There are 4 different tests: 3 multiple choice tests and 1 short video to translate and subtitle.

I took the test twice and got a second failure mail today.
The thing is... they don't give any type of feedback so I don't know where it went wrong, really.
I now have to wait 20 days before taking the test again.

I translated it from English to French and used the Netflix guidelines (42 characters per line, line breaks, etc.) but maybe I did it wrong?
Am I supposed to break lines or should I just type the translation as it is? The test doesn't mention anything about it...

So I thought maybe one of you had to go through this test too and figured out how it works?

Any help would be really appreciated... I'm very puzzled by all this.

Thank you!

[Edited at 2018-09-21 08:39 GMT]
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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:03
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Don't worry! Sep 20, 2018

There is enough data to point towards many subtitling tests around being flawed.

The Netflix/Hermes test is widely known for that. Many successful and experienced subtitlers failed it, while a flock of parachutists with the "I've never done subtitling in my life, but why shouldn't I give it a try?" attitude passed. Of course, exceptions confirm the rule.

If you are good at it, don't lose hope, keep insisting, maybe you'll
... See more
There is enough data to point towards many subtitling tests around being flawed.

The Netflix/Hermes test is widely known for that. Many successful and experienced subtitlers failed it, while a flock of parachutists with the "I've never done subtitling in my life, but why shouldn't I give it a try?" attitude passed. Of course, exceptions confirm the rule.

If you are good at it, don't lose hope, keep insisting, maybe you'll get in someday. However don't expect this to be a high-paying market, as there is too much cheap competition, too many people doing it just for fun.
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Jean Chao
Rebecca Ohara
Irene Artegiani
 

Eliza Hall
United States
Local time: 07:03
Member (2018)
French to English
+ ...
Rev.com? Sep 20, 2018

Have you tried Rev.com? I started subtitling for them without a test. They pay within days via Paypal.

Aïtallah RIAHI
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:03
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Be happy :) Sep 20, 2018

Because they said that you've "failed" their test, you're being spared an annoying rat race experience on a site that's down quite often. I know because I gave it a try (yes, having passed their test) for about one week, then I quit. So just walk on. There are other companies working with subtitle translators, and they are good.

Jean Chao
Rebecca Ohara
Dalia Nour
 

Jean Chao  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:03
English to Chinese
+ ...
Try other type of translation jobs if you can Sep 20, 2018

I've been translating for Netflix (English->Traditional Chinese) for more than two years through another vendor. Thought I gave Deluxe/Sfera a try. I passed the first three multiple-choice parts of the test the first time, but "failed" the actual subtitle translation part.

As an active Netflix translator, I couldn't believe I "failed" the subtitle translation test. Reluctantly, I tried for the second time. Guess what? I "failed" again, on the same short video. I protested to t
... See more
I've been translating for Netflix (English->Traditional Chinese) for more than two years through another vendor. Thought I gave Deluxe/Sfera a try. I passed the first three multiple-choice parts of the test the first time, but "failed" the actual subtitle translation part.

As an active Netflix translator, I couldn't believe I "failed" the subtitle translation test. Reluctantly, I tried for the second time. Guess what? I "failed" again, on the same short video. I protested to their support personnel and demanded to know how a current Netflix translator could fail the part of the test which was judged entirely subjectively. Of course they didn't and wouldn't give me any concrete feedback, but asked me to try one more time. Needless to say, I didn't waste any more energy.

That said, I passed the (Traditional Chinese->English) test by SDI Media about the same time, but after a tedious on-boarding process, a lengthy 3-hour training, and one-day practice translation on their proprietary software, I'm still waiting for their assignments three months later.

BTW, as Jose pointed out, the subtitling rates they offer ($2-3 per minute) do not commensurate with your input, especially for the documentary translation. A lot of translators don't mind the low price. And, when you do get any assignment, they want it done yesterday.
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José Henrique Lamensdorf
Rebecca Ohara
Dalia Nour
Marta Callava Linares
 

Rebecca Ohara
Sweden
Local time: 13:03
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:) Sep 20, 2018

Thank you all for your time and answers!

I know they are pretty "cheap" but I'm just looking for a company to "warm up" and get some experience before I try to work with Netflix vendors eventually!

I posted the same topic in a subtitling group on Facebook and it turns out I never had access to Sfera's tutorials and guidelines... So that might explain why I never passed their test.
They never even
... See more
Thank you all for your time and answers!

I know they are pretty "cheap" but I'm just looking for a company to "warm up" and get some experience before I try to work with Netflix vendors eventually!

I posted the same topic in a subtitling group on Facebook and it turns out I never had access to Sfera's tutorials and guidelines... So that might explain why I never passed their test.
They never even mentioned it, so I had no idea they had their own text guide...
I contacted the website support and since I failed the test, I won't even have access to tutorials or guidelines before 20 days when I can try their test again... Very logical. Not.
Oh well!

I'm not planning on giving up subtitling but it seems like a pretty crowded market indeed.

Anyway, thank you again for answering me!
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Dalia Nour
 

Jean Chao  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:03
English to Chinese
+ ...
@Rebecca; Couldn't find Sfera tutorials and guidelines on my Sfera dashboard Sep 20, 2018

Out of curiosity, since I was asked to retake the test, I logged onto my Sfera dashboard to check out the tutorials and guidelines that I missed somehow. Strangely, I couldn't find them anywhere.

Maybe you could ask the Facebook Subtitling Group when and where they downloaded these materials from the Sfera website. As of just now, I wasn't able to find them on my Sfera dashboard.


 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:03
English to French
Maybe not anymore Sep 21, 2018

Eliza Hall wrote:

Have you tried Rev.com? I started subtitling for them without a test. They pay within days via Paypal.


I would not recommend Rev, not anymore anyway. Last week, they changed rates for English to French and went from 8$ minimum per minute to 3$ minimum. Which mean that they now pay even less than the "standard" rate in the entertainment industry (4$). Their excuse was to "increase productivity".

@Rebecca: don't worry too much about the Sfera test. As others poited out, it is heavily flawed, next to broken. Go look around the Blueboard to pick some agencies and send them your CV, they will ask you for a test anyway.


Rebecca Ohara
Dalia Nour
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:03
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Why waste your time? Sep 21, 2018

Jean Chao wrote:

Maybe you could ask the Facebook Subtitling Group when and where they downloaded these materials from the Sfera website. As of just now, I wasn't able to find them on my Sfera dashboard.


Why should anyone bother to even re-take their test or look for tutorials - which aren't really helpful -, just to get on the (rat-race) wheel for peanuts?


 

Rebecca Ohara
Sweden
Local time: 13:03
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Experience Sep 21, 2018

@Jean Sfera won't let you see the tutorials or guidelines on your dashboard before the 20 days, you have to wait for them to authorize you to take the test again to have access to it. I asked the support and that was their final answer. I don't really see how that makes sense (since you could want to train on their guidelines before taking the test again) but well!

@Eliza @Jocelin Indeed, I checked their website and wow the rates really went down... I guess my best option is to look
... See more
@Jean Sfera won't let you see the tutorials or guidelines on your dashboard before the 20 days, you have to wait for them to authorize you to take the test again to have access to it. I asked the support and that was their final answer. I don't really see how that makes sense (since you could want to train on their guidelines before taking the test again) but well!

@Eliza @Jocelin Indeed, I checked their website and wow the rates really went down... I guess my best option is to look for some other companies.

@Thayenga I see what you mean, but for now I just want to get some experience. I know that with my CV right now I won't get into nice companies, because I never subtitled anything before. So, I think I'll give Sfera a last try at least. In the meantime, I'll look for something else and see if I can make it work!
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Jean Chao  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:03
English to Chinese
+ ...
Curiosity kills the cat Sep 21, 2018

I’m just being human, just like you spent the time to remind me not to waste my time.

Never said I was going to re-take the test and joined the rat race.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:03
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
A snappy tale Sep 21, 2018

You land in an unfamiliar country, go through immigration and customs, and exit the airport. On the street, you hail what you think is a cab; at least it has a piece of newspaper written "cheap taxi" on the windshield. You step in, and the driver is a teenager. Though you think he looks too young to be driving, you don't want to appear bigoted about the local ethnic features.

You tell him the name of the hotel where you have a reservation, and ask him how much he'll charge for the r
... See more
You land in an unfamiliar country, go through immigration and customs, and exit the airport. On the street, you hail what you think is a cab; at least it has a piece of newspaper written "cheap taxi" on the windshield. You step in, and the driver is a teenager. Though you think he looks too young to be driving, you don't want to appear bigoted about the local ethnic features.

You tell him the name of the hotel where you have a reservation, and ask him how much he'll charge for the ride. He says, "Any cab would charge you $50, but I'll take you there for $5. Hang tight!"

No chance for you to ask anything else. He gets the vehicle into motion screeching tires, shooting you against the upholstery. He goes zigzagging between lanes at breakneck speed.

When you eventually manage to brace yourself and fasten the seat belt - which he is not using, of course - you tell him, "Hey, I came from overseas, but driving this way in any country would cause you to lose your license!"

While doing a quick swerve and missing a lamp post by half an inch, the kid yells, "I don't have a license to lose, I'm only 15!"

You try to convince him, "But your mom or dad's car will be towed, and you'll get into all kinds of trouble."

And then he nails it, "It's not our car. It's stolen! What did you expect for a $5 ride?"

----------

Preposterous? Definitely!

Yet nowadays too many movies get subtitled like this.
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Rebecca Ohara
Thayenga
Dalia Nour
 

Jean Chao  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:03
English to Chinese
+ ...
@Rebecca/I got my retake test notice from Sfera back in July Sep 21, 2018

That's how I was able to get on the dashboard and saw only my 75% completed test but nothing else.

Unless they're storing these files somewhere else, I didn't see them on my dashboard.

Just for you to know.

And Jose, I like your "Aesop" fable.


 

Rebecca Ohara
Sweden
Local time: 13:03
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Weird... Sep 22, 2018

@Jean Really? That's weird... Though I wouldn't be surprised, that dashboard interface is bugging quite a lot apparently. But tutorials are supposed to be available once you can take the test again.
According to the person answering me in the Facebook group, it should be under Tutorials -> Translators -> Deluxe Style Guide.

Anyway, I got in touch with someone that passed the test and that has access to the guidelines!
But really, they should fix their website though...<
... See more
@Jean Really? That's weird... Though I wouldn't be surprised, that dashboard interface is bugging quite a lot apparently. But tutorials are supposed to be available once you can take the test again.
According to the person answering me in the Facebook group, it should be under Tutorials -> Translators -> Deluxe Style Guide.

Anyway, I got in touch with someone that passed the test and that has access to the guidelines!
But really, they should fix their website though...
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Dalia Nour
 

Jean Chao  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:03
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thanks for letting me know, Rebecca Sep 22, 2018

@Rebecca

Really. My dashboard only contains tests. No tutorial links or tabs whatsoever.

It's great that you could get a hold of their guidelines. Do you mind emailing me a copy? I'm still curious to know how I failed as an active Netflix subtitle translator.

Appreciate your help.


 
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