[Postgraduate programme] MA in Audiovisual Translation, Roehampton University, UK


The MA in Audiovisual Translation is an internationally leading course in its field, recognised by the European Commission as a European Masters in Translation.

This international leading programme addresses the growing demand for translators with skills in translating audiovisual texts. It covers a range of areas, including subtitling, accessibility (subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing, audio description and live subtitling), multimedia localisation, dubbing and voice-over for films. The programme is open to bilingual students wishing to work between different languages, but it also welcomes monolingual English-speaking students.

This programme places significant emphasis on accessibility in the media and offers a grounding in translation theory and research methods. Through your work with dedicated software and high-tech industry-standard equipment, you will equip yourself with the skills necessary to enter the professional market and the knowledge to pursue further research in this field.

You will be taught by staff who are experts in their field and influence the policies of organisations such as OFCOM. They will bring their professional experience into the classroom, meaning you will always be benefiting from the most up-to -date research and practice.

Roehampton’s location in London means you are ideally situated, as the city has established itself as one of the main centres for translation in the world. Work placements opportunities are also available on the course; in addition to putting the skills you have learnt on the course into practice, you’ll also learn valuable new ones, build a strong CV and make vital industry contacts.


This course covers the theoretical and the practical aspects of audiovisual translation. During the course you will address the main theoretical issues shaping translation today and understand how these theories relate to the practice of translation. You will also explore the broad range of approaches to translation, including, but not limited to: linguistic, socio-linguistic, cultural, cognitive, descriptive, gender and postcolonial. You will also gain the practical skills of translation you will require for a career fit for the 21st century. You will learn how to subtitle, to translate for dubbing and voiceover, and/or to provide captioning for the deaf and the hard-of-hearing.

IT skills are central to a translator’s work, so we offer a module on ‘Translation Tools’ that will familiarise you with some of the tools you will be using in your professional life. These include terminology databases, translation memory tools, and other computer assisted translation systems.

Other optional modules currently include ‘The Localisation of Video Games’, where you will examine the principles and practices of localisation in the area of multimedia interactive entertainment software. You will gain the practical experience of working with the various types of materials that make up the localisation process, including in-game, user interface, interactive subtitles, online help, voice-over, manuals, packaging, graphics files and official websites.

You will complete your MA with a dissertation, which allows you to apply your understanding, knowledge, analytical, conceptual and personal skills to an in-depth investigation of a translation-related topic.


Compulsory modules:
1. Translation and Intercultural Communication: Theory and Practice

The module will address the main theoretical issues that have been discussed by scholars and their impact on shaping translation, adaptation and intercultural practices. The purpose of the module is to make students aware of the main theoretical debates that have surrounded these areas throughout history and that are prominent in the 21st century. The module aims to enable students to see the relevance of theory to the practice of translation, adaptation and intercultural communication. It will include a broad range of approaches such as linguistic, socio-linguistic, (inter)cultural, cognitive, descriptive, media, gender and postcolonial. The module also relates theory to issues of cross-cultural and translation practice.

2. Subtitling: Concepts and Practice

Over the past twenty-five years, the practice of subtitling has expanded across all media and entertainment sectors; at the same time Audiovisual Translation has gained recognition as a distinct academic discipline. Subtitling has been the traditional mode of audiovisual transfer in many countries, but its presence is more central than ever today in international film festivals, the Internet and the commercial sectors of DVD and streaming. The main concepts and practice of subtitling underpin adjoining activities, such as surtitling, and captioning for the deaf and the hard-of-hearing. This module will examine these concepts in detail and will train students in the techniques of subtitle synchronisation using specialised software. Students will also have the opportunity to practice their interlingual and/or intralingual translation skills, working with subtitling experts in small groups. Finally, this module will equip students with an in-depth understanding of the audiovisual translation sector and of their place as newcomers in the subtitling industry.

Optional modules
1. Think, Create, Translate: Transcreation in the Creative Industries

This module will introduce students to the emerging area of transcreation in the creative industries. It will reflect on the issues posed by the relationship between translation, taken in its broad sense of intercultural transfer, and the creative industries, including the arts, advertising, entertainment and marketing. Through the analysis of various examples of transcreation, the aim is to discuss how multilingualism and multiculturalism are put into practice in creative environments. In order to develop commercial as well as creative skills, this module will encourage a practical approach to learning. Students will develop projects which may result in the creation of marketing content based on: the intercultural and/or interlingual transfer of nuanced ideas and concepts; the transformation of messages through adaptation for more than one given target audience; and the translation of images into words and vice-versa, so as to answer different cultural expectations.

2. Professional Skills for Translators

In the language services industry, translators and intercultural experts are nowadays expected to possess a wide range of skills that go beyond linguistic and cultural knowledge. These skills reflect the ever more diverse requirements of the market and the procedures that companies have put into place in order to meet them. This module aims to prepare translation and intercultural communication students for these new market realities. To that effect, it will expose students to a series of work-related concepts and professional practices through a combination of workshops, tutorials, seminars, guest talks and, whenever possible, off-site visits (e.g. to companies). The module will focus on advanced professional skills relating to project management, translation and transcreation workflows, and the global language industry. It will also cater for editing, revising and proofreading skills, CV writing and self-presentation, as well as information mining skills. Working in groups, students will be assigned roles such as those of coordinator, project manager, translator, and proofreader, in order to simulate multilingual translation and transcreation project management as it occurs in real professional contexts. Students will have the opportunity to choose the type of texts they wish to work on according to their specialisation, language combination, and career aims. Issues of ethics in the workplace and professional status and habitus of translators will also be discussed. The overall purpose of the module is to enhance the students’ employability prospects by equipping them with an informed understanding of the marketplace and the extra skills they need in order to stand out as newcomers to the industry.

3. Translation Tools

The rationale of this module is to meet the need at national and international level for foreign language specialists, with the linguistic competence and expertise necessary for operating successfully in international contexts and organisation. IT skills are central to the translator’s work, and the module aims to demonstrate how the efficiency of the translation process and the translator’s marketability can be improved by an enhanced knowledge of the relevant electronic tools. The module therefore offers students the opportunity to become familiar with some of the translation tools translators use in their professional life, such as terminology databases, translation memory tools, and other computer assisted translation systems.

3. Dubbing and Voice-over

This module is devoted to two types of audiovisual translation that are based on speech, that is, where translators produce texts to be spoken. This module will help students develop dubbing and voice-over skills in a variety of registers and styles by translating texts and programmes that will be consumed by the audiovisual and media world. Through a range of carefully chosen examples and exercises, students will not only develop confidence and skills in translating for dubbing/voice-over, but also broaden their awareness of the idiomatic and syntactic features specific to the languages at work as well as their knowledge and perception of socio-cultural referents.

4. Media Access: Audiodescription, Subtitling for the Deaf and Respeaking

This module covers three different ways in which media content can be made accessible for people with hearing and visual impairments.
New legislation, especially but not exclusively in the EU, is forcing broadcasters and subtitling companies to subtitle all their contents for deaf and hard of hearing viewers. This includes both pre-recorded and live programmes. A new type of audiovisual translation professional is thus needed, namely one who can produce a) standard subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) and b) live subtitles through speech recognition (respeaking), which has already consolidated as the preferred method to subtitle live programmes. The module presented here is the first of its kind in the world and aims to provide students with the necessary theoretical and practical expertise to perform successfully in a professional context. Students will become familiarised with the different types of viewers their subtitles are intended for, the particular features of these subtitles as well as the use of speech recognition to provide live subtitles not only on TV, but also in public events such as conferences, museums and even classrooms.
Finally, this module will also cover the provision of audiodescribed scripts for the blind and partially sighted. Through a range of exercises of different genres, students will be equipped with the necessary skills to work on audio description and broaden their awareness about the needs of visually impaired people and the grammatical and syntactic features of the language.

5. Translation Project

This self-directed inquiry-based learning module will offer students the opportunity to further develop the linguistic and technical skills acquired in the course compulsory modules by applying them to an extended practical translation task independently. By simulating a real-world translation environment, it will enhance their knowledge and familiarity with good practice rules, translation conventions and relevant software.

6. Accessible Filmmaking: Theory and Practice [Not available 2018-2019]

Having made great progress in terms of quantity and even quality over the past decade, the fields of audiovisual translation and media accessibility and its main services, dubbing, voice-over, subtitling and audiodescription, are still an afterthought in the filmmaking process. This results in a lack of consideration and investment in this area and ultimately in a significant decrease in the visibility and quality of these services.
The present module aims to contextualise audiovisual translation and media accessibility as part of the filmmaking process and to explore the elements from filmmaking and particularly from editing that can help students to become better translators.
The module will first of all enable students to look beyond “story” when watching films and preparing for the translation process, considering how meaning is created through film language and visual aesthetics. Students will then be introduced to the different stages involved in the filmmaking process, both from a theoretical and a practical point of view. Special emphasis will be made on the post-production stage and particularly on editing with a view to making films accessible to foreign viewers (dubbing, subtitling, voice-over) and viewers with hearing or visual loss (SDH, AD).
At the end of the module, students will have acquired the necessary skills to read films and understand the basics of film language and to edit audiovisual material with a view to making it accessible to foreign viewers and hearing/ visually impaired audiences.

7. The Localisation of Video Games

The module will introduce students to the principles and practice of localisation in the area of multimedia interactive entertainment software, a. k. a. video games. As well as studying the main concepts behind game localisation, students will gain practical experience of working with the various types of material that make up the process, including in-game, User Interface, interactive subtitles, online help, voice-over, manuals, packaging, graphics files, official website. Students will look at the different genres of video game and study the complexities involved in translating such interactive entertainment material in a professional context. Where relevant, students will receive explanations and pointers to other modules in our MA offer, such as software localisation and translator tools which are becoming essential in professional practice.
Transnational Cinemas from the Multiplex to the Web

8. Transnational Cinemas from the Multiplex to the Web

This module provides an in-depth examination of the dynamic and fluid nature of transnational cinemas in a globalised era. Examining how digital technology has transformed every aspect of the film industry, the module will take in a range of films from across the world and explore the ways in which they challenge notions of a local industry talking to and for its nation state. Locating the practices of production, distribution and consumption as sites of cultural blending, the module offers a productive new way to consider cinema through a transnational lens.
A selection of films and other ‘quasi-cinematic’ texts will be studied not only in terms of their (largely digital) form, but also in terms of how their content similarly reflects upon their form. The module will take in a range of films from different regions, including the USA, Europe and Asia, straddling big budget spectacles, costume dramas, documentaries, games, online films, mash-ups, piracy, machinima, computer art, glitch art and more.

Compulsory module (MA students only)

This module provides an ideal opportunity for students to apply the understanding, knowledge, analytical, conceptual and personal skills gained from taught modules to an in-depth investigation of a translation related topic. It provides the opportunity for students to reflect critically on their translation skills and to demonstrate an innovative approach to the fundamental debates central to Translation Studies. This module, if agreed with the convener, may be undertaken by distance mode.

Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Above is a list of modules offered this academic year.

Optional modules
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.

Career Options

Students go on to careers in a broad range of media companies and broadcasters, subtitling companies, translation and localisation providers, and production houses with in-house translation teams.

More information is available at: https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/postgraduate-courses/audiovisual-translation/#