Chapter 32 | Technologization of Audiovisual Translation


Back to Publications   Back to The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation




Publication date: 13 September 2018
Copyright date 2019
Hardback ISBN: 9781138859524
E-book ISBN 9781315717166
You can order this volume on the Routledge website






Since the turn of the century, the Audiovisual Translation (AVT) industry has seen a period of transformation as a result of technological change. This is only natural, as technology and AVT go hand in hand. The very existence of AVT is a by-product of developments in film, video and broadcasting technologies, and as such it continues to change and evolve with them.

The first milestone in the AVT industry was in the ‘70s, with Line 21 closed captioning in the States and teletext in Europe, the introduction of VHS and the birth of home entertainment which, coupled with the growth of cable and satellite channels in the ’80s, boosted the volume of programming that required AVT treatment and led to the definition of the job of the subtitler.

The second milestone came with digitization in the ’90s, and the use of template files in multilingual subtitling workflows, thus creating a vast corpus of parallel subtitle corpora. Broadband Internet as of the turn of the century and Video On Demand (VOD) made available unprecedented amounts of video content to consumers, allowed for the cost-efficient outsourcing of AVT production, the use of Translation Management Systems (TMS) and eventually the shift to the cloud. The availability of ubiquitous internet connections nourished crowdsourcing models both in the localization industry at large, and also in the AVT industry.

The third milestone is now. As all communication is becoming increasingly audiovisual, the AVT market now encompasses more than just entertainment. The refinement of tools in the cloud, with the integration of machine learning in AVT workflows has the potential to create a paradigm shift in the industry. Mature language technologies such as speech recognition, machine translation and speech synthesis have had several successful implementations to date and have the potential to truly disrupt the AVT market.

In this chapter, we examine the technological advances that have led the AVT industry to its present state and form, and the potential impact language technologies might have to its workflows. We present relevant research and attempted applications so far, so as to give spark to discussions about what may come next.



Panayota (Yota) Georgakopoulou holds a PhD in translation and subtitling from the University of Surrey. A seasoned operations executive, with over 20 years of experience in the audiovisual translation industry, Yota has held a variety of positions in the field, starting off as a translator and academic, serving as the Managing Director of the European Captioning Institute, an SME specializing in multilanguage audiovisual localization, and most recently leading research in language technologies and tools, and their application in subtitling workflows at Deluxe Entertainment Services Group.



The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation Studies provides an authoritative and straightforward overview of the field through thirty-two specially commissioned chapters written by leading scholars in the field.

This state-of-the-art reference work is divided in four sections. The first part focuses on established and emerging audiovisual translation modalities, explores the changing contexts in which they have been and continue to be used, and examine how cultural and technological changes are directing their future trajectories. The second part explores the interface between audiovisual translation and a range of theoretical models that have proved particularly productive in steering research in audiovisual translation studies. Some of these models are associated with disciplines that have long intersected with audiovisual translation, while others are drawn from areas of knowledge that are only now beginning to make their presence felt in the audiovisual translation literature. The third part surveys a range of methodological approaches supporting traditional and innovative ways of interrogating audiovisual translation data. The final part addresses a range of themes pertaining to the place of audiovisual translation in society: these include the institutionalization, academization and technologization of audiovisual translation, as well as its role as a force for social change, both within and outside the industry. This Handbook gives audiovisual translation studies the voice it needs to make its presence felt within the Humanities research landscape.


Back to Publications   Back to The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation