module specification

TR7057 - Subtitling (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Subtitling
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
24 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
176 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 60%   Subtitling translation
Coursework 40%   Commentary
Running in 2020/21
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

The module focuses on one particular audiovisual translation mode: Subtitling. Students are introduced to the main translation-related issues peculiar to subtitling, including methods of dealing with linguistic and non-linguistic elements within the audiovisual text, and taught the basic, transferable practical skills necessary to develop further experience in a professional subtitling environment. Theoretical and example-based instructions in the basic principles of the various issues will be coupled with practical and technically-oriented exercises relating to these principles.
Although there are no official pre-requisites, students are advised to be IT literate in order to confidently take this module.


The module focuses on one particular modality within the sphere of audiovisual translation (i.e. Subtitling), although much of the material covered will also be relevant to other modalities such as dubbing and voiceover.
The module has a dual aim: to provide students with an awareness of translational issues peculiar to subtitling, and to give them the basic practical skills necessary to develop further experience in a professional subtitling environment. LO1,LO2
Only one software package will be taught, but the skills learned are expected to be transferable to other programmes.
Students will be expected to combine their practical and theoretical knowledge in producing a short piece of subtitled work (CST) and an evaluative commentary (CWK). LO3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module involves a combination of face-to-face and blended learning delivery. Students get knowledge about the specificities of audiovisual translation (and more specifically of subtitling) through the tutor’s presentations, hands-on exercises which entail the regular use of the subtitling software, individual and group tasks. All these activities are aimed at recreating the scenarios in which professional subtitlers work and, at the same time, at developing different skills in students: time management while working to set deadlines, individual and team work, self-reflection on their own and their peers’ work and, more widely, on the whole process.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will:
1. Understand particular problems faced by translators working with audiovisual material, namely the complex semiotic mix of linguistic (dialogue and other verbal cues) and non-linguistic elements (e.g. movements and expressions, setting, mood, sound, character, cultural knowledge);
2. Learn the key practical techniques of subtitling (e.g. timing/spotting, reduction, condensation and omission);
3. Develop and evaluate translation strategies for dealing with these issues as appropriate to subtitled material.

Assessment strategy

The assessment aims to test both the students' practical skills in producing a piece of subtitled work and their understanding of the theoretical issues at play in subtitling.
The assessment has therefore two components: one practical and one evaluative.

Practical component:
Class Test: Students will be given a short clip from a film or other audiovisual source to subtitle in class using the designated software programme.
Evaluative component:
Coursework: Students will have to write a commentary on an audiovisual programme chosen by themselves which has already been subtitled by the industry. This commentary will highlight a set number of issues encompassing an appropriate range of linguistic and extra-linguistic considerations as covered during the taught sessions.

The assessment strategy has been informed by consideration of the professional practice. The class test reflects a realistic setting in which students need to produce their own piece of subtitled work under pressure, whereas the coursework gives them the opportunity to reflect upon the challenges that the subtitling process poses.
Feedback on their homework is provided in each teaching session, so that students get prepared for the summative assessments.



Core Text:
Díaz-Cintas, J. and Remael, A. (2007) Audiovisual translation: subtitling. Manchester and Kinderhook (NY): St Jerome Publishing.
Other Texts:
Bruti, S. and Di Giovanni, E. (2012) Audiovisual translation across Europe: an ever-changing landscape. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien: Peter Lang
Chiaro, D. (1992) The Language of jokes: analysing verbal play. London and New York: Routledge.
De Marco, M. (2012). Audiovisual translation through a gender lens. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.
Freddi,M. and Pavesi, M. (eds.) (2009) Analysing audiovisual dialogue: linguistic and translational insights. Bologna: Clueb
Bogucki, L. (2004) ‘The constraint of relevante in subtitling’, The Journal of Specialised Translation, 1:
Ivarsson, J. (1995). ‘The history of subtitles’. Translatio, Nouvelles de la FIT-FIT Newsletter, XIV(3-4), pp. 294-302.