Subtitling I: Films and Series

Credit points: 3
Contact hours: 60
Type: Seminar Classes


dr. Silvana Orel Kos, Assistant Professor

Course Description

Objectives and competences

  1. -  to develop students’ ability to analyse a polysemiotic text;
  2. -  to develop the ability to form subtitles following dialogue, video and speech rhythm;
  3. - to develop the ability to condense information and to master parameters governing the selection of condensation techniques;
  4. - to develop the ability to translate language variety combining features of written and spoken language;
  5. - to develop the technical skills of subtitling, including the use of software and specific subtitling equipment;
  6. - to develop the ability to understand the parameters influencing the perception of subtitles;
  7. - to develop the ability of selecting the appropriate subtitling strategy dependent on the genre and the intended audience.

Content (Syllabus outline)

  1. The seminar work is based on analysing subtitled clips of a wide diversity of genres which involve a variety subtitling features. In addition, the work consists of subtitling assignments with group analysis and evaluation.

  1. Seminar topics: subtitling procedure – translational and technical aspects – subtitle form – text formation: intra- and intersegmentation in subtitles, subtitle exchange rhythm and division of dialogue into subtitling units, condensation techniques  with fast speech rate, features of prepared and improptu speech,  language used in subtitles as a special type of intersemiotic transfer – translation of informal speech, dialects, slang – translation of culture-specific expressions in subtitles – translation of puns in dialogues and of plays on words and video  –  subtitling of literary genres, eg. plays; subtitling with given time codes.


  1. 1. Ivarsson, Jan, in Mary Carroll. 1998. Subtitling. Simrishamm: TransEdit.
  2. 2. Gambier, Yves, ur. 1998. Translating for the media. Turku: Painosalama OY.
  3. 3. Kovačič, Irena. 1996. Subtitling strategies : a flexible hierarchy of priorities. V: Heiss, Christine, in Rosa Maria Bollettieri Bosinelli (ur.): Traduzione multimediale per il  cinema, la televisione e la scena: atti del convegno internazionale. Bologna:  CLUEB, str. 297-305.
  4. 4. Kovačič, Irena. 1998. Six subtitlers – six subtitling texts. V: Bowker, Lynne, in sod.  (ur.): Unity in diversity? Current trends in translation studies. Manchester: St.  Jerome, str. 75-82.
  5. 5. Gambier, Yves, ur. 1995. Audiovisual Communication and Language       
  6. 6. Transfer. Translatio – FIT Newsletter (XIV, 3-4).
  7. 7. Cintas, Jorge Díaz (ur.) 2009. Motion Pictures into German, French and Spanish. Frankfurt: Lang.
  8. New trends in audiovisual translation. Bristol (UK) ; Buffalo (USA): Multilingual Matters.
  9. 8. Şerban, Adriana, Matamala, Anna, in Jean-Marc Lavaur (ur.) 2011. Audiovisual translation in close-up : practical and theoretical approaches. Bern: P. Lang.


  1. Registration in the first year of the MA programme in Translation.


  1. The final grade consists of:
  • continuous assessment of subtitling assignments and analyses (40 % of the final grade);
  • a final examination in which students are required to subtitle a 10-minute film clip and provide a discussion (60 % of the final grade).

Silvana Orel Kos