Thursday, 17 May 2018

Why typography is important in subtitling

"Well, I'm back," she said.

I'm thinking about a paper I'm writing for the conference Beyond Words: Multimodal Encounters in Translation, which will take place in Cambridge in July 2018.

Part of the paper will talk about meaning-making in typography and specifically in film intertitles and subtitles. (I've said something about this before here)

Now I have come across this splendid fansubtitled video about Thranduil and the gems of Lasgalen, from Peter Jackson's Hobbit adaptation. Every character gets a different subtitle typeface:

So, two questions:

1) Which typeface is best suited to its character? Answers in the comments please. 
2) Which can you actually read without eyestrain? The video is shooting for accessibility, which is always a good thing, but the typefaces are not, really.

And if readers out there want to rank the typefaces in order of most to least accessible, I'm all ears! 

Monday, 16 April 2018

Two upcoming events: research seminar and film screening

I am very happy to announce two imminent events:

The first is a research seminar tomorrow, which looks fascinating and is free and open to all:

When Translation Multiples Tell Their Own Story

Dr Kasia Szymanska, Oxford University
Tuesday 17 April
16:00 - 17:30 | LR2, 43 Woodland Rd, University of Bristol

Kasia Szymanska is a Junior Research Fellow in Modern Languages at Oxford University, where she is a member of the committee of the Comparative Criticism and Translation Research Centre.  Her research lies in literary translation thought, experimental translations, and multilingual poetics - especially with reference to the East European context.  She was awarded the 2015 EST Translation Prize and is currently serving as one of the judges of the 2018 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize.


The second event is an ultra-rare 35mm film screening on Sunday 22 April

Treasures from the Turin Film Museum

The silent period was a golden era for Italian cinema, with pioneer directors like Giovanni Pastrone, whose 1914 epic Cabiria influenced filmmakers such as D.W. Griffith. Historical epics were particularly popular. This event features five restored films from the collections of the Turin Film Museum, all with a classical theme. They include Pastrone’s Fall of Troy (1911) and The Last Days of Pompeii (1910), from the novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, which was the first Italian historical epic. The programme also includes Hero and Leander and Dido Abandoned from 1910; and Judas from 1911.

Followed by a Q&A featuring Stella Dagna from the Turin Film Museum, Professor Maria Wyke from UCL, Dr Pantelis Michelakis from the University of Bristol, and our distinguished accompanist Mr Stephen Horne.

The event is generously supported by a grant from the Institute for Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition at the University of Bristol. Organised in partnership with South West Silents.

Tickets are available here at the Watershed website (booking recommended):

Friday, 15 December 2017

Christophe Fricker's translation shortlisted for book award: voting open

Happy news! My colleague Dr Christophe Fricker's translation into German of Hugh Aldersey-Williams’s Tide (in German Flut) has been shortlisted for the Austrian 'Wissenschaftsbuch des Jahres' or science book of the year award:

Many congratulations to both Christophe and Mr Aldersey-Williams!

The winning books are selected via an open vote, and German speakers please note, anyone can vote at (page is in German). :)

Monday, 27 November 2017

Alex Zucker visits the University of Bristol

We are delighted to welcome the distinguished translator Alex Zucker to Bristol. The event is free and all are welcome.
Hand Over Fist or Hand to Mouth? Translating Fiction in the U.S. 
Thursday December 7th
G108, 21 Woodland Road. Entrance at 3-5 Woodland Road.
More literature is being translated into English than ever before. International fiction seems to be enjoying if not a golden age, then at least a moment. Is this a boon for the translating profession? The School of Modern Languages is delighted to welcome the leading American translator of Czech fiction, Alex Zucker, from New York City to share his experience and offer a sneak peek at results from the first-ever survey of working conditions for literary translators in the U.S.A. 
Alex's latest work is Three Plastic Rooms, the remarkable and linguistically bewildering monologue of an ageing Prague prostituteby the leading contemporary Czech novelist, Petra Hůlová, to be published by Jantar in November 2017. You can find out more about Alex and his work at

Enquiries to Rajendra Chitnis (contact details are here). 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Translation events coming up in Birmingham, Leicester, Portsmouth and Oxford, May-June 2017

There is a flurry of really interesting translation studies research events coming up. Events are free and open to all but you may have to register. See below for contacts.

15 May  2017

Annual Translation Studies Forum 
Birmingham Translation Centre, University of Birmingham

A day of talks by Translation Studies colleagues at Birmingham and a keynote lecture (full disclosure: by me) on The Invention of Subtitling in the US and the UK

More information at

Contact details for this event via

18 May 2017

Beyond Representation: Researching Audiovisual Translation outside the Margins of the Frame
Professor Luis Pérez-González
Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies
University of Manchester

LeCTIS (Leicester Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies)
More details at

26 May 2017

Researching Translation and Fandom (Portsmouth)

Researching Fandom and Translation

University of Portsmouth, Park Building, Room 1.0

Part of British Academy/Newton funded project ‘Fan translation in Vietnam’

Draft Programme

Welcome delegates and coffee
Prof. Pal Aluwhalia (PVC Research) to open event
Fan translation: an overview
Jonathan Evans, Portsmouth
Translation in Viet Nam
Van Nhan Luong, DAU
Metaleptic Practices in Fan Audiovisual Translation
Luis Pérez-González, Manchester
Lunch break (self-catered)
Overview of fan translation in Vietnam
Le Bach Truong, Hue
From banjaxed to Hoover: linguistic issues in fansubbing
Sarah Berthaud, Portsmouth
Fandom Translation in Vietnam: A Case Study of Cultural References in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Translation Versions by Official Publisher and Its Fan Community
Dung Thi My Huynh, DAU
Translating Fandom: Appreciating Transcultural and Glocal Fan Practices
Lincoln Geraghty, Portsmouth
Conclusions and ways forward

For further information on this event contact Dr Jonathan Evans on jonathan.evans [at]

 5 June 2017

ACLAIIR seminar on 'Translation Studies' in Hispanic Studies

We are delighted to announce that this year’s ACLAIIR AGM & Seminar will take place on Monday 5th June at the Weston Library, Oxford. The theme of the seminar is Translation Studies, and we have an excellent line-up of speakers presenting this growing area of academic interest from a Hispanic perspective.

Speakers include Jennifer Arnold (Birmingham University), Tom Boll (UEA) and Richard Mansell (Exeter University). The event will end with a translation ‘slam’, moderated by Peter Bush. Literary translators Rosalind Harvey and Sophie Hughes will each argue for their versions of a chosen extract from Mónica Ojeda’s Nefando (Candaya, 2016).

As usual, students are welcome to attend the seminar free of charge. Please note that booking is required as places are limited and registration is compulsory due to the access requirements of the venue.

To reserve your place, please fill in and return the booking form (available on the ACLAIIR website by Tuesday 30th May.

We look forward to seeing you in Oxford!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Lecture in Leicester by Luis Pérez-González, 'Researching Audiovisual Translation Outside the Margins of the Frame', 18 May 2017

This looks like a great event: am sorry that I won't be able to be there, but in case any readers of this blog are in hailing distance of Leicester: 

The Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies at the University of Leicester is pleased to announce the 2017 Annual Lecture

Beyond Representation: Researching Audiovisual Translation outside the Margins of the Frame

Professor Luis Pérez-González
Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies
University of Manchester

Venue: Council Suite Room One, First Floor, Fielding Johnson Building, University of Leicester

Time: 6-8pm Thursday 18 May 2017, including a drinks reception

This session problematises the role that representation has played as the driving logic of mediation behind industrial approaches to audiovisual translation during the mass media culture – characterised by the centrality of tele-cinematic commodities, the prevalence of linear models of media consumption and distribution, and the mapping of audiovisual markets onto discrete national audiences. In the post-industrial digital culture that began to crystallise a decade ago, the means of media ‘prosumption’ have become more entangled and collaborative, and brought to the fore ‘the bottom-up energy of media created by amateurs and hobbyists as a matter of course’ (Blau 20015: 3). Against this backdrop, the portability and reproducibility of media content is reshaping the media marketplace: with streaming on-demand channels of transmission becoming more ubiquitous, audiences are becoming rapidly superseded by much more fragmented and fluid ‘audienceships’ (Pérez-González 2014). Significantly, for the purposes of this session, the networked dynamics of the digital culture are favouring intervention as an alternative approach to linguistic and cultural mediation that erodes the privileged status of the original text and allows for new forms of interaction between translators and their audienceships.

Under this new interventionist regime, scholars interested in the sociology of audiovisual translation are presented with new research challenges and opportunities. In this session, I will examine how audiovisual translation is quickly emerging as a community-building cultural activity, which calls for the analytical lens to be shifted away from the translation output towards the processes of organisation and deliberation that take place around this participatory activity and contribute to galvanising geographically dispersed collectivities of interest. Specifically, this presentation explores the theoretical and methodological demands that these developments place on audiovisual translation scholars, and surveys a range of frameworks that could assist us in harnessing the complexity of audiovisual translation activities in the digital culture.

Luis Pérez-González is Professor of Translation Studies and Co-director of the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies at the University of Manchester, UK. He is a Co-investigator on the 4-year project Genealogies of Knowledge: The Evolution and Contestation of Concepts across Time and Space, and a case study analyst in the Manchester-led OWRI project Cross-language Dynamics: Reshaping Community – both of them funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK. He is also author of Audiovisual Translation: Theories, Methods and Issues (Routledge 2014), editor of Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation (2017), and co-editor of Routledge’s Critical Perspectives on Citizen Media book series. His articles have appeared in a wide range of international journals, including The Translator, The Journal of Language and Politics, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Journal of Pragmatics and Language and Intercultural Communication.

The event is open to all. For further information contact Dr. Anna Milsom at a.milsom [at]