There are many good reasons for wanting to subtitle. There are also just as many bad reasons. The first thing you should ask is why do you want to become a fan subtitler. If you answered that you want to help people understand and get more out of anime as an art form, read on! If you answered that you want to sell fansubbed tapes to make money, stop right there. Fan subtitling is technically an illegal activity. It should only be done as a hobby - to share something you really enjoy with other people. If should never be done to make money. Not only is it immoral, but it’s illegal to profit from another company’s copyright. For more information about the legal aspects of fan subtitling, please see “The Nature of Free Fansubs”.
Enough preaching, what else do I need to know? Fan subtitling is a lot of fun and can be very rewarding. It is also a lot of work. Be prepared to spend long hours working on scripts and re-watching your shows over and over again for correctness and completeness. Like any hobby worth doing, it takes a certain time investment to do it well. Also, subtitling can be quite expensive. The hardware alone can cost thousands of dollars, not to mention the price of the import Japanese LaserDiscs and DVDs or the cost of the translations you will need to obtain. My recommendation is that if you want to subtitle, you should make it a group activity. Many hands make light work, and similarly, many wallets make uh, light… Um. Never mind. You know what I’m saying!