Basic Subtitling Skills

Subtitling is one of the most creative types of Translation. Studied within the field of Audiovisual Translation, subtitling is a very intriguing profession that requires both translation skills and deep understanding of the technical considerations involved, and the conventions applied. This interactive course helps participants introduce themselves to the basic subtitling strategies and technology, understand the industry and the mechanics of the profession.


The course lasts 11 weeks and is normally offered 2-3 times a year.

Next course:

  • Monday 27 September 2021 to Friday 10 December 2021

Course Syllabus

The audiovisual translation (AVT) industry is currently developing at a mind-boggling rate. In particular, there has been an impressive increase in the quantity and range of audiovisual programmes in need of subtitling. This online course aims at equipping you with basic subtitling skills by introducing you to subtitling and providing hands-on training with audiovisual material taken from different authentic contexts. It covers the following topics:

  • an introduction to the key concepts of audiovisual translation and subtitling;
  • subtitling mechanics - spotting/time-cueing;
  • layout and formatting conventions;
  • translating dialects, verbal humour, and cultural specificities;
  • working in the subtitling industry.

The course does not require the purchase of any specialised software; you'll be asked to download and install freely available subtitling software for the practical tasks.

The course follows a set format, with written course material provided at the beginning of each week, followed by self-test questions. Each unit is then followed by either group or individual tasks. The tutor is on hand on set days to help with any specific questions you may have.

The course materials, including tools for group discussions, email, assignments, quizzes etc., are accessible via Moodle (the e-learning platform used at UCL). Based on experience, the weekly workload for participants will be between 6 and 10 hours.

    What will I gain from the course?

    By the end of this course, you'll be able to:

    • efficiently analyse a range of audiovisual material (e.g., films, TV shows, documentaries etc.) for subtitling purposes;
    • successfully carry out the main tasks involving subtitling: spotting or time-cueing (i.e. deciding on the in- and out-time of subtitles) and the actual translation of audiovisual material;
    • deal with the spatial and temporal constraints of subtitling by appropriately condensing and reformulating the original text;
    • tackle certain translation challenges pertaining to the handling of dialects, cultural specificities, and verbal humour;
    • select among different techniques and justify translation decisions;
    • produce subtitles in your chosen target language using subtitling software.
    Certificate of Completion

    There is no exam but you have to complete ALL the set tasks in order to receive a certificate of completion for this course.

    Language Combinations

    Although you will be given the opportunity to practise subtitling into your native language through a range of activities, this online course is not language-specific and students with any language combination who wish to become familiar with subtitling will benefit from it.

    Who Should Apply

    This online course will be useful for individuals who have a professional interest in audiovisual translation. The course will be of particular interest to translators and translation trainees embarking or thinking of embarking on a career in subtitling.

    You will need a good working knowledge of English and at least one other language to translation-proficiency level. The online subtitling course is particularly appropriate for those who are or will be working from English into another language. You will also need a high level of competence with computers. Your own computer and internet access (preferably with a high-speed connection) are essential.

    How to Apply

    Please download the application form below:

    To apply, email your completed application form, together with a short CV, to selcs.centras-professional@ucl.ac.uk. Please write 'Online Course in Subtitling' in the subject line of your message.

    Fees and Payment

    Tuition Fees

    • £725 - Standard fee
    • £652 - Affiliate rate*
    • £616 - Returning participants who have already completed an online course with CenTraS
    • £225 - CenTraS students/graduates/academic visitors/alumni.

    *CenTraS professional courses affiliates: Institute of Translators and Interpreters (ITI), Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL), The Subtitlers' Association (SUBTLE), and local organisations including ATAV, ATA, APTRAD, PEM and Translators and Interpreters Australia. For information or to add your organisation to the list of affiliates, please contact the Professional Course Co-ordinator.

    Payment and cancellations

    Once you have been offered a place on the course, you will be sent details of how to pay via the University Online Store:

    Please note:

    • All payments must be made in full, in Pounds Sterling by debit or credit card.
    • Places are not confirmed until payment is received, which must be at least one week before the course start date.
    The Tutor

    Emmanouela Patiniotaki has been a professional translator and audiovisual translation (AVT) provider since 2008. She has collaborated with various companies using a variety of tools. She has worked with many companies in the UK and abroad, subtitling various types of content from and into English and Greek. Emmanouela has taught several courses in AVT in the UK and abroad. At UCL, she teaches translation technology, AVT and accessibility. Her research focuses on the design of accessible educational and cultural environments and the use of assistive technology, automation tools and access services, for linguistic and sensory access to information, education and entertainment. She designs accessible content and provides SDH and AD, while she also designs accessible courses.

    Further Information

    If you have any queries about this course, please contact us via e-mail: selcs.centras-professional@ucl.ac.uk