The quality of templates in subtitling. A survey on current market practices and changing subtitler competences

18.05.2023 @ 14:00 – 15:00 Europe/Madrid Timezone

Once a month, the Translation Studies Reading Group of the Trinity Centre for Literary & Cultural Translation comes together to discuss an article recently published in a Translation Studies journal.

The group is free and open to anyone in the world to join in with, irrespective of academic level or affiliation. All you need to do is read the article before the group meets and sign up. Everyone is encouraged to join in with the conversation and add their own viewpoints. We are not able to send the articles to people who do not have access to them.

The details of the article we will read for this month’s Reading Group are below. Please follow the link for access to the full article.

Magdalena Oziemblewska & Agnieszka Szarkowska

The quality of templates in subtitling. A survey on current market practices and changing subtitler competences

The rapidly growing demand for subtitling on the global translation market has resulted in a new development which has revolutionised the way subtitles are created and distributed: the template. A template is a subtitle file containing a time-coded transcription of the dialogue to be later translated into multiple target languages. Loved by global subtitling companies and frowned upon by subtitlers, templates have become an inseparable part of modern subtitling workflows. The goal of our study is to examine this new development in terms of quality, its impact on the profession and the resulting changes in subtitler competences. With this goal in mind, we conducted an online survey which was completed by 344 professionals from 47 countries involved in the subtitling process with templates. We gathered data on the content of the templates, subtitling workflows, types of software, pivot translation, annotations, and language combinations. We found important differences in spotting skills between subtitlers depending on their experience and type of company they work for. Our results also show that the quality of templates currently available on the market is rather inadequate. We present suggestions for improvement based on the subtitlers’ views. The results may be used to inform current market practices.

Marta Cabanillas

About Marta Cabanillas

Traductora literaria de francés e italiano a español, docente de ELE y editora de material didáctico. Doctoranda y profesora asociada en la UVic-UCC.
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