Subtitling: Principles and Practice

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
15 March 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA Q2Q912 Audiovisual and Literary Translation,
MA Q91012 Translation, Interpreting and Subtitling,
MA Q91112 Translation and Professional Practice,
MA Q91212 Chinese-English Translation and Professional Practice,
MLANR990 Modern Languages (Translation)

Module description

The module will provide a thorough introduction to subtitling, helping students to develop technical skills in this specialised field and thus enhance their employability potential. Students will explore key theories and current trends in subtitling and will be able to apply their new knowledge in practical subtitling exercises.

Module aims

The aims of this module are the following:
• To introduce students to the practical skills required to produce accurate and reader-friendly interlingual subtitles for audio visual material.
• To encourage students to discuss and analyse a range of issues that relate specifically to the professional practice of interlingual subtitling.
• To familiarise students with the correct terminology of AVT and the published research in the field to support their practice.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will understand the rules and sub-rules imposed by the audio-visual medium, and have an insight into what constitutes good subtitling practice in a professional context. More specifically, you will be able to do the following:
• To apply accurate spotting, i.e. defining the in and out times of subtitles
• To condense original oral content/dialogue, segment text and write in sense blocks
• To identify individual frames and successfully handle cuts/shot changes and sound bridges
• To observe the natural speech rhythm of an audio-visual programme and the viewer’s reading rhythm
• To use effective subtitle distribution
• To export subtitles files into different formats (e.g.: srt.)
• To use the basic as well as the more advanced spotting and word-processing functions of the professional Wincaps Qu4ntum software.
• To proofread and revise your work.

Module information


Learning and teaching methods

Two-hour lessons each week, combining lecture and practical work.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Subtitling Project  23/04/2024  100% 

Additional coursework information


Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mrs Lexa Olivera-Smith, email:
Lexa Olivera-Smith, Antonia Wu



External examiner

Dr Chonglong Gu
University of Liverpool
Lecturer in Chinese Translation Studies
Dr Eloisa Monteoliva
Heriot-Watt University
Assistant Professor in Spanish (Translation & Interpreting)
Available via Moodle
Of 30 hours, 30 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Language and Linguistics

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