Conference "Audiovisual translation – new trends in translation technology"

When: 17.05.2018, at 09:00-17:00
Place: Nova building of Tallinn University (BFM, Narva mnt 27)

Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) of the European Commission in cooperation with the School of Humanities of Tallinn University is organising a one-day conference on audiovisual translation, giving an overview of the technological possibilities that this field of translation is using and what are the main media content types to be translated.

Audiovisual translation is a very broad term covering different screen translation types for different media content, it can either refer to subtitling, dubbing, re-speaking, audio-subtitling, voice-over, theatre and opera titles, simultaneous interpreting at film festivals, free-commentary and goblin translation, subtitling for the deaf and the hard of hearing, audio-description, fansubbing and fandubbing. The media to be localised is not any more limited to cinematic production, covering now educational content, language learning tools, children’s programmes, television content for visually and hearing impaired, commercials, video games, software et cetera. During the past five years, the audiovisual translation (AVT) industry has undergone a technological revolution. Linguists have access to new and more developed computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, cloud technologies allowing to share the voluminous media content, translation memories, dictionaries, glossaries, and ever more powerful tools of project management and quality control are to available check the translation quality on both technical as well as on verbal level.

All this has boosted worldwide the AVT industry and especially the production of subtitles, not to mention the multilingual European Union. Ever-developing AVT has created the need for new generation of linguists who share new and ample range of qualifications. The main target audience of the conference are the AVT translators and translation students interested in that field.

The conference will consist of two parts: a plenary session in the morning with presentations from internationally recognised experts in the field of AVT, and parallel workshops in the afternoon. The idea is to give an overview of recent developments in the field of new technologies, including machine translation in AVT and other translation tools and also provide practical advice on how to use them. 


Plenary session (in English) at SuperNova Cinema at the Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School (BFM, Narva mnt 27) of Tallinn University. More about the speakers here

8.45–9.15      Registration

9.15–9.30      Opening

Leila Anupõld (European Commission, DG Translation)

Prof Daniele Monticelli (Tallinn University, School of Humanities)

9.30–10.15    Keynote speaker

Prof Jorge Diaz-Cintas (University College London)

Audiovisual translation and the future of the discipline

10.15–10.45  Discussion

10.45–11.15  Coffee break

11.15–11.45  Dr Kristian Tangsgaard Hvelplund (University of Copenhagen)

Audiovisual Translation from a Cognitive Perspective

11.45–12.15  Dr Yota Georgakopoulou (Deluxe Entertainment Services Group)

I’m translator. What’s your superpower?

12.15–12.45  Discussion

12.45–13.30  Lunch

13.30–15.00  Parallel workshops:

1. Community translation platforms and most used open-source subtitling software Tiina Põllu and Tuuli Järmut (in Estonian)

2. Cloud-based toolkits for subtitling, Dr Serenella Massidda (in English)

3. Translation technology for subtitling and the new media (in English).

4. Dubbing process and work in the audio studio, Tiina Andreas (in Estonian)

15.00–15.30  Coffee break

15.30–17.00  Parallel workshops continue

All workshops last 4 academic hours. Every participant can choose just one workshop on a first come, first served basis. You ca make your choice when registering for the conference. Please read below about the content of the workshops.


Workshop 1. Most used open-source subtitling software, Tiina Põllu and Tuuli Järmut (Tallinn University, School of Humanities). In Estonian. Location: Mare 217.

The workshop will first focus on the YouTube community translation platform and then on open-source software, comparing the most popular programmes with special emphasis on Subtitle Edit. It will take place in the university computer class. Max 25 students can participate.

The workshop will introduce the general working process of subtitling on the example of a feature film. A step-by-step process will be analysed: firstly, how to start the captioning and prepare the translation files, how subtitles can be derived (from the screenplay or transcript, automatic language detection etc.), different subtitling types (translating an already time-coded subtitle file vs. translating from the scratch), time-coding and synchronising the text with time-codes, main time and space restrictions (the length of a subtitle), principles of rendering the dialogue (visual and verbal segmentation and syntax rules, punctuation, compensation techniques), multiple factors that influence the work.

The pedagogical goals of the workshop are developing good habits in subtitling, thus improving the quality of the translations by raising the awareness of this specific type of translation.


Workshop 2. Cloud-based toolkits for subtitling, Dr Serenella Massidda (University College London, Roehampton University). In English. Location: Astra 213.

This workshop will introduce students and professionals to the world of Cloud-Subtitling. It will take place in the university computer class. Max 25 students can participate.

In a mere ten years, awesome technological advancements have transformed the audiovisual translation landscape beyond belief, nearly zeroing traditional long waiting periods and accelerating localisation workflows that have now become faster than light.

The first part of the workshop will shed light on the state of the art of subtitling technology, the evolution of cloud-based technology and localisation workflows worldwide in order to understand how the current epochal changes in the way we produce and consume audiovisual products on a global scale will affect the lives of professional subtitlers and the future of the subtitling professions in the years to come. A discussion will follow on the opportunities and potentials offered by cloud-based subtitling technology as opposed to traditional software programs.

The second part of the workshop will be devoted to practical Cloud-Subtitling tasks. By the end of the workshop, you will be able to cloud-subtitle your localisation project and will have a general understanding of cloud-based subtitling technology. A list of useful websites and other sources of information will be given to all the participants and some time will be left at the end for questions.


Workshop 3. Translation technology for subtitling and the new media, moderated by Kirke Maar (Tallinn University). In English. Location: Nova 207 (BFM).


Workshop will consist of five short presentations of good examples of translation technology and subtitling projects followed by discussion:

  • Dr Yota Georgakopoulou (Deluxe Entertainment Services Group). Short overview of the H2020 TraMOOC project. Project video. Discussion.
  • Kirke Maar (Tallinn University). Example of an interdisciplinary university project "ELU" of Tallinn University – subtitling study videos for gymnasium curricula in Estonia. Discussion.
  • Dr Mark Fišel (University of Tartu). Machine translation applied for the multimodal translation. Discussion.
  • Dr Tanel Alumäe (Tallinn University of Technology). Speech recognition technologies developed in Tallinn University of Technology. Discussion.
  • Dr Tiina Lindh-Knuutila (Lingsoft OY, Finland). Advanced language technologies enhance audiovisual translation production.


Workshop 4. Dubbing process and work in the audio studio, Tiina Andreas (BFM, Tallinn University). In Estonian. Location: BFM audio-studio.


The workshop will focus on the dubbing process of a feature film, by giving the overview of the essential steps of this process. It will take place in the Baltic Film and Media School. During the workshop, we will give a general overview of the dubbing  types (dubbing versus voice-over, half-dubbing, re-voicing, the cases when one or another type can be used), and introduce the general working process of dubbing a feature film.

Firstly, a step-by-step process will be analysed: how to make a written translation,  bearing in mind the rules of lip-syncing, finding a suitable translator for that task. Finding the suitable cast for different roles, by taking voice samples, examples on the production companies’ dubbing requirements, what are the time and space limits in dubbing and how to play with the translation, by using the language flexibility.

Secondly, we will analyse on the example of a concrete feature film, how to render the written Estonian translation text orally, so that all the dubbing rules are followed, and what happens after the dubbing is done (audio post-production).

Register here

More info: jana.laurend....at....ec.europa.eu(link sends e-mail)


The conference is organised as a "Translating Europe" regional workshop supported by the Directorate-General for Translation (DGT) of the European Commission. „Translating Europe“ is a project created by the DGT to bring together translation stakeholders in Europe. In the framework of this initiative a yearly Translating Europe Forum is organised in Brussels which is complemented by smaller scale events (Translating Europe workshops) in the EU Member States.

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