The University of Southampton

LANG6019 Audiovisual Translation

Module Overview

This module will introduce you to the different types of audiovisual translation and the various kinds of subtitles produced nowadays. You will learn about the interaction between text and image and the technical issues and constraints involved in creating both monolingual and interlingual subtitles. The module will cover the linguistic and cultural aspects of subtitling, whilst allowing you to develop hands-on practical skills in subtitling using a professional package. You will work with clips both in English and other languages and carry out tasks such as cuing and spotting, as well translating clips following the limitations imposed by the medium of subtitling. You will answer acquire the skills for identifying and discussing significant cultural and issues relating to the medium.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• give you an overview of the main characteristics of subtitling, as opposed to other types of audio- visual translation modes, and of the different types of subtitles; • give you some insight into the linguistic and cultural issues of creating subtitles; • familiarise you with the stylistic conventions and spatial and temporal constraints in creating subtitles; • develop your practical experience in using a professional subtitling package; • give you the grounding to undertake a masters dissertation in the field of audiovisual translation if you chose to focus on this topic.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the different types of audiovisual translation and how different subtitles are needed for different users;
  • the cultural and linguistic issues that need to be considered when subtitling (taboo words, register, dialects, humour etc);
  • different theoretical approaches to subtitling
  • the stylistic conventions and technical constraints of subtitling ;
  • how a professional subtitling package works
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • produce work to deadlines;
  • work collaboratively with others;
  • explain and justify your choices both in writing and orally;
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • produce monolingual subtitles and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing;
  • produce effective interlingual subtitles
  • extract the essence of aural texts and compress them in writing;
  • use a professional subtitling package;
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • critique and evaluate subtitles produced by others;
  • identify problematic audiovisual media for subtitling and engage with theoretical debates relating to how such media might be handled
  • identify problems when required to create your own monolingual and interlingual subtitles for clips ;
  • evaluate and choose appropriate strategies for dealing with subtitling problems;


This module provides an overview of the different types of audiovisual translation and teaches you how to use a professional subtitling package. Towards the start of the module, you will begin to familiarise yourself with the subtitling software by initially creating monolingual subtitles (i.e. creating subtitles in English of clips in English). This will allow you to learn about the technical constraints of subtitles and help you to develop confidence and speed in dealing with them. You will then move on to creating subtitles for clips in other languages (interlingual subtitles). The module you will also include a consideration of some of the linguistic and cultural issues in subtitling, such as dealing with humour, register, dialect and taboo language which will allow you to identify problems and develop strategies for undertaking your own interlingual subtitles.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning methods will include tutor-led presentations and demonstrations to introduce you to the different forms of audiovisual translation and the main spatial, temporal and technical issues and constraints involved in creating subtitles. Tutor-led demonstrations will also show you how to use the software. Whole class and small group work will centre on the evaluation and critique of subtitles produced by others and the discussion of strategies for creating new subtitles. As well as using the subtitling software in class, you will expected to work with the software independently to develop your skills and to prepare subtitles of clips for in-class discussion. You will also be required to view subtitled clips in preparation for class discussion and to undertake academic reading relating to subtitling issues. If you choose to undertake the extended essay, you will normally be offered a one-to-one or small group tutorial to discuss your topic.

Wider reading or practice60
Preparation for scheduled sessions45
Completion of assessment task20
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

You have the choice of two assessment patterns depending on whether you wish to focus more on the practical creation of subtitles or to undertake an academic consideration of subtitles produced by others. For both patterns you will undertake a mid-module ‘Timed Technical Assignment’ which assesses how you are progressing using the subtitling software. You will then undertake: EITHER: a practical subtitling assignment of a challenging clip that you must identify yourself with a related essay, in which you consider the issues raised by the subtitling assignment and in which you identify problems, consider solutions and justify your choices drawing on research and academic reading. OR: an extended essay on a subtitling topic to be agreed with the module co-ordinator.


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 75%
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Practical subtitling assignment 40%
Timed technical assignment 10%
Timed technical assignment 25%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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