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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Language & Translation Studies Short Name: TRAM174
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: ENGSTROM IC Ms (Lang & Trans)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability
Semesters 1 and 2
Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting towards Module Mark (%)
subtitling of 10 minutes of film – documentary genre
subtitling of 10 minutes of film – entertainment genre
subtitling of 15-20 minutes of film
10-minute oral presentation outlining problems encountered and reasons for choices made in third subtitling project

Qualifying Condition(s)
: A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Module Overview

In this module students will learn how to produce intralingual subtitles in order to meet the needs of SDH (subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) viewers. The focus will be on acquiring skills for analysing the various components of audiovisual materials (speech, sound, text), developing strategies for transferring audio information to written form and learning to create subtitle files, using professional subtitle software.

First degree in an appropriate language or equivalent. Near-native or native competency in English.
Module Aims

The module introduces students to creating subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, covering a variety of audiovisual genres. Among the relevant transfer strategies and techniques, strategies of reduction, and representing paralinguistic information and sound effects will be of particular importance. Students will also learn the conventions specific to SDH and how to produce technically accurate subtitles including time cueing.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
  • analyse complex audiovisual components and appraise their interactions from the point of view of a SDH viewer;
  • make judgements about the relative importance of factors such as accents, noises, incoherence, hesitations, interruptions, intonation and emotion;
  • compose subtitles by taking differences in spoken and written language into account;
  • apply knowledge of in-shot and out-of-shot specificities to strategic decisions in subtitles;
  • produce intralingual subtitles approaching a professional standard for a range of genres including feature films, documentaries, news broadcasts, popular TV shows and dramas;
  • evaluate software according to specific purposes;
  • justify and explain their subtitling choices by analysis of the decision process.
Module Content
The following topics will be covered:
  • functionality and operation of professional-level software;
  • analysis of various audiovisual components (speech, sound, image) in the source material, paying particular attention to the perspective of a SDH viewer;
  • audience-specific needs with respect to reading speeds and vocabulary, bearing in mind the faster reading speed of adult and child SDH viewers than is normal for interlingual subtitles;
  • the synchronisation of pace of speaking and shot changes with subtitles in relation to the time-cueing process;
  • methods of adapting and editing the source material through a range of strategies including omission and reduction in particular;
  • the representation of characteristic speech features such as accent, dialect, sociolect and idiolect;
  • dealing with spontaneous speech (hesitations, interrupted sentences, incoherent sentences, etc.);
  • dealing with music according to its role (central to the action; incidental) and rhythm;
  • strategies for speaker identification (e.g. labels, placing, colours) and off-screen dialogue/noises;
  • representing tone of speech, emotion, shouting, irony, understatement;
  • spatial and temporal constraints set by the subtitling task (e.g. placement, distribution of subtitles);
  • the relationship between lip reading and editing decisions;
  • live subtitling;
  • orthographic standards and conventions for SDH viewers.
Methods of Teaching/Learning
To introduce students to the functionality and operation of the software, the first few weeks of teaching will be shared by all language groups. 

The class will consist of hands-on practice, supported by demonstrations and discussions of SDH subtitles. The demonstrations will include: subtitled material of different qualities; the use of various strategies to solve time/space problems; different solutions to on-screen problems. Hands-on exercises will include the editing of existing subtitles as well as the creation of new ones. In addition to learning to use subtitling software, students will be introduced to manual techniques where appropriate. Students will be expected to comment on their work with respect to problems and chosen solutions. Teamwork exercises will also be used. Regular homework will be set, as well as assessed assignments. The module will involve twenty four hours class contact per semester.
Selected Texts/Journals
Essential reading:
Danan, Martine (2004). "Captioning and Subtitling: Undervalued Language Learning Strategies ." Meta 49(1): 66-77. Online:
Díaz Cintas, J., Orero, P. & Remael, A. (Eds) (2007). Media for All. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Dries, Josephine (1995) Dubbing and Subtitling. Guidelines for Production and Distribution. Düsseldorf: European Institute for the Media.
Gaell, R., Ed. (1999). Subtitling Consumer Report. Royal National Institute for Deaf People, London.
Gambier, Y. (2004). "La traduction audiovisuelle: un genre en expansion." Meta 49(1): 1-11.
Ivarsson, J. and M. Carroll (1998). Subtitling. TransEdit., Simrishamn.
Jelinek Lewis, M. S. and D. W. Jackson (2001). "Television literacy: comprehension of program content using closed captions for the deaf ." Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 6(1): 43-53. Online:
Jensema, C. and M. Rovins (1997). "Instant Reading Incentive: Understanding TV Captions." Perspectives in Education and Deafness 16(1).
Kurz, I. and B. Mikulasek (2004). "Television as a Source of Information for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired. Captions and Sign Language on Austrian TV." Meta 49(1): 81-88.
de Linde, Z. and N. Kay (1999). The Semiotics of Subtitling. St. Jerome, Manchester.
Moeck, J. (2002). "Reading pictures: subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing." Language international 14(4): 40-43. Copy at CTS
Neves, Joselia (2005). Audiovisual translation: subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Roehampton: Roehampton University. Online:
Robson, G. (2004). Closed Captioning Handbook. Focal Press, Boston.
Recommended reading:
Jensema, C. J. and M. R. Rovins (1998). "Correction: Frequently-used words in TV captions." Perspectives in Education and Deafness 16(3): 5.
Santiago Araújo, V. L. (2004). Closed subtitling in Brazil. Topics in Audiovisual Translation. P. Orero. Amsterdam, Benjamins: 199-212.
Virkkunen, R. (2004). "The Source Text of Opera Surtitles." Meta 49(1): 98-97.
Background reading:
BBC (1994). BBC Subtitling Guide. BBC, London.
Kavanagh, J. and I. Mattingly, Eds. (1972). Language by Ear and Eye. The Relationships Between Speech and Reading. MIT Press, Cambridge MA.
Kyle, J. (1992). Switched On: Deaf Peoples Views on Television Subtitling. Report for the ITC and the BBC. Centre for Deaf Studies, Univ. of Bristol.
OfCom (2001.) Guidance on Standards for Subtitilng.
OfCom (2006). Provision of Access Services. Research Study Conducted for Ofcom. OfCom, London.
OfCom (2006). Television Access Services - Literature Review. OfCom, London.
OfCom (2005) Subtitling – a n issue of speed? OfCom, London.
OfCom (2004). Code on Television Access Services. OfCom, London.
OPSI (1996). The Broadcasting Act 1996. Office of Public Sector Information, London.

OPSI (2005). The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). Office of Public Sector Information, London.
Online: ,

Last Updated
12 August 2009