Chapter 9 | Surtitling and Captioning for Theatre and Opera


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





This chapter explores surtitling and captioning for theatre and opera and examines the history of these practices. It surveys the key features of surtitling in the opera, where surtitling originated as a service, before moving the focus of the discussion to theatre captioning, which enables productions to reach different types of audiences. After discussing the textual, social and technical aspects of surtitling and captioning in these contexts, the chapter also explores the growing formal experimentation driven by technological advancements in the industry. The author attempts to show that surtitling and captioning services are not to be regarded as ‘un mal necessaire’ (‘a necessary evil’) (Marleau 1982), emerging instead as practices that are nowadays enjoyed and demanded by various groups of people, and even included as an integral element in various theatre companies’ performances. It argues that this is possible due to the ever changing target audience needs and expectations (Secară and Allum 2011, Dewolf 2001), as well as the general enthusiasm surrounding these types of services and the wider opportunities they offer.



Alina Secară is a Lecturer in Translation Studies at the Centre for Translation Studies, University of Leeds, and holds a PhD in Audiovisual Translation from the same institution. Her research interests also include computer-assisted translation technology and translator training. She is also a freelance theatre captioner.



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