From old tricks to Netflix: How local are interlingual subtitling norms for streamed television?




subtitling, norm development, television, video on demand, Netflix


Like other translation norms, interlingual subtitling norms for television evolve over time, influenced by technology, mediascape development and other trends. Originating in cinema subtitling norms, TV subtitling norms began to develop at national public service broadcasters. Later, norms became international with the rise of the DVD and the proliferation of commercial TV in Europe. These days, the most influential force driving subtitling norms is arguably the global video on demand (VOD) providers. This paper investigates the subtitling guidelines of VOD giant Netflix, in search of the question: How local are interlingual subtitling norms for streamed television? The results show that there is little variation in the initial guidelines, but that they are continually becoming more varied, as they are localized using input from users.


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Author Biography

Jan Pedersen, Stockholm University

He received his Ph.D. from Stockholm University in 2007 and was made an Associate Professor in Translation Studies there in 2015. His dissertation is entitled Scandinavian Subtitles, and it is a comparative study of TV subtitling norms in the Scandinavian countries. Jan's research interests include translation studies, translation theory, audiovisual translation, pragmatics and comparative linguistics. He is the former President of the European Association for Studies in Screen Translation (ESIST), member of the European Society for Translation Studies (EST), founding member of the Nordic Network for Translation Studies (TraNor) and co-editor of Journal of Audiovisual Translation and Benjamins Translation Library, and former co-editor of Perspectives – Studies in Translation Theory and Practice. He is  a frequent presenter at international conferences and his publications include the 2011 monograph Subtitling Norms for Television, as well as several articles on subtitling, translation and  linguistics. He also worked as a television subtitler for many years, subtitling shows like Late Show with David Lettermanthe Simpsons and Nikolaj og Julie. Jan is an Associate Professor at Stockholm University, where he holds posts as Deputy Head of the Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism and as Director of the Institute for Interpretation and Translation Studies, where he also researches and teaches audiovisual translation.  




How to Cite

Pedersen, J. (2018). From old tricks to Netflix: How local are interlingual subtitling norms for streamed television?. Journal of Audiovisual Translation, 1(1), 81–100.