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19 mayo 2021


We are growing more and more accustomed to using a huge amount of multimedia products, some of which are made in a country that speaks a different language. Series on TV and in streaming, international sports programmes, documentaries made by foreign broadcasters: all these programmes are made accessible thanks to the precious work of an audiovisual translator.


The expression “audiovisual translation” (AVT) refers to the linguistic transfer and adaptation of a multimedia text into another language and another culture. This practice originated in the 1930s following the advent of sound and dialogue in the world of cinema. The proliferation of audiovisual products and the need to distribute them internationally marked the birth of this new field of translation. Audiovisual translation is still undergoing continuous expansion and includes the arts of both dubbing (aka voice over) and subtitling.




Subtitling is a complex practice which requires professionals in the sector who have:


  • outstanding creativity, which is essential in order to best reproduce not only the spoken component of speech (irony, humour, puns), but also the gestural and expressive aspects;
  • a deep knowledge of the original culture and the target culture, necessary to ensure correctly conveying particular concepts;
  • technical skills: in fact, dedicated professional software is necessary for creating effective subtitles;
  • compliance with standardised rules to ensure correct readability, including: number of characters per line, synchronisation of the subtitles with the precise frame in which the speech is pronounced, correct use of parentheses to distinguish the presence of a sound or a noise made by those onscreen. Furthermore, subtitles cannot appear during changes in scenes or shots, as they would distract viewers and compromise the desired effect of the original programme.



Audiovisual translation is an important means of communication. Indeed, a well-done translation can allow a multimedia product to reach a wider audience, crossing national borders. The field of application does not stop merely in cinema or TV: in addition to allowing deaf people to understand audiovisual material, subtitling can also be used in the field of corporate communication, for example to create promotional videos, webinars, interviews, documentaries, tutorials, company presentations and online courses.


Videos can prove to be a direct and effective means of conveying a company’s values, mission and strengths. Thanks to subtitles, these can be made accessible to a much wider audience, consequently increasing the opportunities for profit. This makes audiovisual translation a valuable resource for companies interested in expanding into foreign markets.


Synchronising subtitles and linguistically and culturally adapting speech are only two of the problems that make audiovisual translation a specialised activity: in order to guarantee a readable, natural and effective result in conveying a message, the translation must necessarily be entrusted to professionals in the sector. The team at Translation Agency can help you discover the potential of subtitling as a corporate communication tool, with a view to expanding your business beyond national borders. Contact us by email or by phone to receive all the information you need!

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