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Subtitling in Theory and Practice


Admission requirements

This course is open only to students registered for the Translation in Theory and Practice specialization.


We’ve probably all done it at some point: complain about bad subtitles. Sometimes we hear (or see) the joke, but it’s lost in translation. Sometimes it seems the subtitler didn’t understand what was being said, or did not get the relevant cultural reference. While most readers of translated novels, brochures or news texts do not read the translation alongside the source text – they often do not even realize they are reading a translation – viewers reading subtitles always have simultaneous access to the original audiovisual source. And while subtitlers and localizers have to overcome many of the same problems confronting any literary or commercial translator, they also have to navigate a jungle of technical restrictions and formatting instructions. Stray but a little and your translation will fail, to the ruin of all.
The aim of this course is to provide its participants with in-depth knowledge of and advanced skills in subtitling. The course may include a research project on location. Please note that this may involve travel expenses and irregular hours. The seminars will include practical instruction in the Translation Lab. Some of the seminars may be taught by guest lecturers.

Course objectives

  • Knowledge and understanding of key issues and current debates in audiovisual translation (AVT) and subtitling research.

  • Knowledge and understanding of the nature of AVT and subtitling.

  • Ability to analyse and solve theoretical and practical translation problems.

  • Ability to apply one’s knowledge of translation theories in subtitling different types of audiovisual texts.

  • Skill in subtitling audiovisual texts from English to Dutch (Dutch to English for native speakers of English).


The timetable is available on the MA Linguistics website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Individual work in the Translation Lab

Course Load

Total course load (5 EC) = 140 hours

  • Attending seminars: 28

  • Weekly assignments: 28

  • Study of weekly readings: 42

  • Preparation for written exam: 40

  • Written exam: 2

Assessment method


  • Written exam with open and closed questions (50%)

  • In-class assignments (50%)

The average grade for the in-class assignments needs to be at least 6.0. Students can only resit the exam if the overall course grade is a fail.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Overview of topics, assignments and required reading.

  • Handing in assignments (SafeAssign and Pitch2Peer).

Reading list

  • Course book: Díaz-Cintas, J. & Remael, A. (2007). Audiovisual Translation: Subtitling. London & New York: Routledge.

  • A list of additional reading materials will be made available via Blackboard; these materials can be accessed via the library.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in [English]) and Dutch

Only students from the MA Linguistics: Translation in Theory and Practice can enrol.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.