Concepts and Practice of Subtitling

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Linguistics

Module overview

This module is made up of two main components: concepts and principles of subtitling and development of scholarship in subtitling research; and a component of practical subtitling project.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will  . . .

  1. acquire knowledge in screen translation (subtitling) and its development as a discipline
  2. acquire an awareness of the latest developments in professional practice
  3. acquire a professional knowledge of concepts and practice of screen translation (subtitling)
  4. acquire a knowledge and understanding of protocols and best practice of subtitling production
  5. acquire a knowledge and understanding of conditions and constraints in screen translation
  6. develop various advanced translation strategies related to subtitling, consolidating their ability to analyse conversion from oral to written text and render a coherent version in the target language
  7. to carry out screen translation at all levels in the language direction they select
  8. to make appropriate use of scripts, sound tracks and visual contexts in subtitling
  9. prepare for and carry out subtitling assignments professionally
  10. translate with accuracy while under strict time requirement
  11. conduct research into studies of screen translation


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial.

Scope and syllabus

The syllabus includes 4 sessions of concepts and development of research in the discipline, and 6 sessions of practical subtitling analysis and practice including films, television drama and documentaries and other audio-visual materials.   Weekly screen translation exercises are given (based on scripts from a 5-10 minute recording) and seminars are conducted with a focus on problem-solving at linguistic, cultural, pragmatic and technical levels.

  1. Introduction to audiovisual translation: concepts and practice
  2. Subtitling: market, industry and technology
  3. Subtitling constraints and strategies
  4. Culture & subtitling
  5. Subtitling documentaries/news (out of English)
  6. Subtitling TV dramas/comedies (out of English)
  7. Subtitling feature films (out of English)
  8. Subtitling documentaries (into English)
  9. Subtitling TV dramas(into English)
  10. Subtitling feature films (into English)

Method of assessment

  • One Essay (1,000 words) (30%)
  • Subtitling project with commentary (2,000 words) (70%)
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Suggested reading

  • Gambier, Yves & Gottlieb, Henrik (eds) (2001) (Multi)Media Translation: Concepts, Practices, and Research, Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing
  • Gottlieb, Henrik (1994)  “Subtitling: Diagonal Translation”. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 2(1) 101-121.
  • Trosborg, Anna (ed) (1997) Text Typology and Translation, Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing
  • Taylor, Christopher (1999) “The Subtitling of Film Dialogue: an economic use of language"
  • Dries, Josephine (1995) Dubbing and Subtitling: Guidelines for Production and Distribution, European Institute for the Media
  • Kovacic, Irena (1998) “Six Subtitlers – Six Subtitling Texts”, In Lynne Bowker, Michael Cronin, Dorothy Kenny & Jennifer Pearson (eds.) Unity in Diversity? – Current Trends in Translation Studies, Manchester: St Jerome
  • Pedersen, Jan (2011) Subtitling Norms for Television: an exploration focussing on extralinguistic cultural references, Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing


Mr Ahmad Alkhashem

Dr Gloria Lee


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules