Dr Marie-Noëlle Guillot, University of East Anglia


Foreign films give the public access through audiovisual translation (AVT) to modes of expression and being other than their own. With digitisation and globalisation, they have acquired unprecedented currency as a medium for cross-cultural exchange. They are widely promoted as such, mostly with no reference to what makes access possible for audiences with no knowledge of languages other than their own, no mention of what underpins cultural exchange. In research, we are only beginning to understand how subtitling and dubbing depict language use, how they are harnessed, via the target text, to source texts and naturally occurring interaction, in their make-believe form shaped by medium constraints (e.g. synchrony, space, time) and different linguistic and cultural encoding across languages. We know almost nothing of how the interlingual representations conveyed to audiences affect their perceptions of, and responses to, otherness, particularly in view of the cultural mismatch between the foreign seen on screen and the pragmatic expectations triggered by subtitled/dubbed text in their own language. In reception, AVT research studies have focused largely on psycholinguistic processes (eg reading speeds, display times, text segmentation in subtitling), and, in the industry, on audience profiling or preferences for one modality or the other.


The network’s aim is to coordinate an international cross-disciplinary platform and research agenda for audiovisual translation as cross-cultural mediation. It has three main objectives:


1)    to collate research on, and develop our understanding of, linguistic and cultural representation in AVT;

2)    to develop research into, and our understanding of, AVT-mediated audience responses to FL films from an intercultural perspective;

3)    to raise public and industry awareness of subtitling and dubbing as mediators of the intercultural, and the profile of AVT from its current status as a covert and often misconstrued access medium.


The network is engaging with the concerns embedded in these objectives on two fronts – cross-disciplinary research and knowledge exchange and impact. Its main activities are three events on themes interconnecting its intentions and involving cross-disciplinary expertise from academic research (AVT and film studies, intercultural pragmatics, psycho- and cognitive linguistics) and the industry (AVT  professionals, film and media stakeholders) in a mix of research and impact-oriented activities (research workshops, pilot educational outreach, focus groups, public presentations and roundtables). Research participants are drawn from centres in the UK and abroad, to establish the network as an international platform, in line with its concerns and research ambitions.


TIMETABLE OF ACTIVITIES – Project length 18 months, from 1 May 2016



29-30 June 2016, UEA – AVT and Cultural Mediation: Focus on Description (2-day event)

Day 1 Research Workshop

Cross-fertilization and collation of research into AVT as linguistic and cultural representation: agenda for the way forward

Day 2 Public and outreach events

§ AVT Public Roundtable Cinema City, Norwich

§ AVT as intercultural mediation in schools – workshops and focus groups


9-10 Nov 2016, UCL – AVT and Cultural Mediation: Focus on Reception (2-day event)

Day 1 Research Workshop

Harnessing the tools of reception studies to research into AVT as cross-cultural literacy: agenda for the way forward

Day 2 CentTras  AVT Reception and Interculturality Workshop


May 2017, BFI venue- FL Films and Cultural Mediation: AVT and its Publics (1-day event) AVT festival (poster displays, talks, public roundtable, focus groups)




The network is designed to bring audiovisual translation as cultural mediation to the forefront of research and to initiate a step change in how it is understood and responded to by the general public. It has impact at its core.


On the academic front, main beneficiaries will be translation and AVT studies, and extend to cognate disciplines – media translation, film/media studies, communication studies, linguistics. For translation and AVT studies there are two main impact targets:


  • Ensuring that this new domain of research, now recognised as important and urgent, develops with methodological robustness and research dependability, within an international and cross-disciplinary framework;


  • Making primary beneficiaries the younger generation of researchers who will be taking forward research into linguistic and cultural representation and its impacts, in mainstream subtitling/dubbing, and in the increasingly pervasive amateur and crowd-sourcing practices that are rapidly changing the face of the discipline.


On the societal front, main impact concerns are also twofold:


1) raising public and industry awareness of subtitling and dubbing as critical mediators of interculturality and cultural exchange

2) promoting AVT as a tool for cultural mediation and interculturality.


Principal Investigator           

Dr Marie-Noëlle Guillot, University of East Anglia, Norwich,


Dr Louisa Desilla (Co-I), University College London

Core Team                                 

Nolwen Mingant, University of Nantes, France

Maria Pavesi, University of Pavia, Italy

Patrick Zabalbeascoa, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain


Project website

Gateway to Research