HOMEOUR BLOGBeyond Subtitles: Exploring the Various Types of Audiovisual Translation

Beyond Subtitles: Exploring the Various Types of Audiovisual Translation


What does audiovisual translation mean? Audiovisual translation is the process of conveying the meaning of audiovisual content from the source language into the target language. Audiovisual content can be a movie, a podcast, or a documentary. It has many benefits and it includes different types. This type of translation requires specific skills and qualifications.

Definition of audiovisual 

Audiovisual is an adjective that means the use of both sight and sound to deliver a message. It can take the form of images, videos, speeches, audio, music, slide shows, film strips, television programs, multimedia representations, tutorials, motion pictures, or other forms. It has become very widely used nowadays, especially with the development of technology and all the innovations and new discoveries. It has been proven that audiovisual content has a more direct impact on viewers and listeners than static content or written content with no sound or dynamic representation. Audiovisual content can be used in all fields such as legal, medical, academic, and more. Audiovisual aids are considered to be an important tool especially when it comes to teaching since it helps students learn fast and retain all information and concepts for a longer duration.

Get our translation and writing services now

What does translation mean?

Translation is the process that consists of conveying content from one language to another. This means that it accurately transforms the meaning of a text in a source language to the target language. The translation is used in all fields and it can be done for different types of content such as audiovisual content including videos, movies, audio, series, images, etc., written content, and spoken content. It has become widely used in all countries in the world since it is the bridge that fills the gap between cultures.

What is audiovisual translation?

Audiovisual translation typically means the transformation of the verbal content and components that are contained in an audiovisual work such as an image, a video, a movie, a song, a speech, a slideshow, etc. from one language to another. The main ways of translating an audiovisual work or product are by either referring to dubbing or subtitling. It all depends on the preference of clients and the preference of viewers and listeners as well. Each way has its own pros and cons and people tend to choose what suits them best, based on their purpose. Audiovisual translation requires special skills and it should always be done by professionals to be able to reflect the quality of the audiovisual work or product, and not affect it in a negative way.

Get our transcription services now

Audiovisual dubbing VS audiovisual subtitling

Audiovisual dubbing and audiovisual subtitling do not have the same meaning.

Audiovisual dubbing typically aims at making the translated dialogue look like it’s being uttered by speakers or actors. It is the translation of the dialogue that is then recorded by other speakers or actors, and it replaces the original voice language of the speakers.

On the other hand, audiovisual subtitling is the transformation of the dialogue from one language to another. The subtitles usually appear at the bottom of the screen at the same time as the speaking and it includes the translation of the whole dialogue.

Get our video transcription services now

What is the importance of audiovisual translation?

Audiovisual translation is of great importance, especially when people wish to have their audiovisual work or product travel around the world.

Hereafter are the reasons why audiovisual translation is so important:

  • Enhances comprehension: One of the most important benefits of audiovisual translation is that it enhances comprehension for people who speak different languages. Whether subtitling or dubbing, the audiovisual work or product can be comprehensible if it were translated.
  • Attracts more audience: The sole way to make an audiovisual work or product travel the world is to have it translated since it helps individuals make their work reach more audience. More people will understand it, and thus, more people will make use of it.
  • Boosts SEO: When the dialogue is present in a written form, it boosts SEO, which means that search engines will be able to make the audiovisual work or product rank on the internet, which will assist in reaching more audiences as well.
  • Helps researchers: Researchers can make use of audiovisual translation especially if they were able to find a video or audio in another language that helps them with their research.
  • Learning about new cultures: Thanks to audiovisual translation, individuals are able to learn about new cultures in a fun way. Whether a video, a movie, a documentary, or even an audio, it unifies the world.
  • Spreads awareness: Audiovisual translation is a very important way that is used to spread awareness around the world. There are several topics that can be creatively tackled in audiovisual works, and the whole world can benefit from them.

Get our interpretation services now

What are the types of audiovisual translation?

There are two main types of audiovisual translation; subtitling and dubbing.


Subtitling is the process of translating the audible content of an audiovisual work or product from the source language into the target language. It targets individuals who are unable to understand the language of the spoken content, so subtitles, which are written translation that usually appears at the bottom of the screen, assists viewers or listeners in understanding the dialogue.

Subtitles are typically used in documentaries, audio, movies, series, news, documentaries, interviews, and more.


Dubbing refers to the process of translating the audible content of an audiovisual work and product from the source language into the target language, and then recording it and replacing the original voice of speakers or actors with this translation. This type of audiovisual translation is very used and it comes in the form of an audible translation that replaces the original dialogue of the source language.

Dubbing is usually used in testimonies, documentaries, animation, reality shows, movies, series, videos, and more.

Both subtitling and subbing have pros and cons, and individuals usually make their decision based on their preferences. For example, subtitling makes it possible for the deaf and hard of hearing to understand what is going on in the audiovisual work that is done in another language. It also helps language learners. Whereas dubbing is way more practical since viewers and listeners don’t have to make an effort to read the translation and pay attention to the work itself at the same time. Also, some consider it to be less frustrating than subtitling.

Get our audio transcription services now

However, more types of audiovisual translation can also be identified. They are:


Surtitles typically mean the translation and transcription of lyrics or dialogue from theater and opera production where subtitles are projected during the performance above the stage. This helps people who can’t understand the language or if their hearing is impaired.

Transcription Unlocked: Answering the Most Frequently Asked Questions

Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH)

Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, or SDH, target individuals who can’t listen and don’t understand the language of the audiovisual work or product. Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing include sound effects, speaker identification, music, and other additional noises.

The Difference Between Subtitles and Dubbing


Localization in terms of audiovisual translation means the adaptation of the dialogue and elements of the audiovisual work and product in a way that suits the target audience. This is used in movies and series when they have to be translated from the source language into the target language and they have to be adapted to the target audience for the recreation of the audiovisual project to be a success. This includes the name of characters, locations, food, theme, and used terms.

Overlaid voices

When overlaid voices are used, viewers and listeners can hear a small snippet of the original dialogue in the source language before and after the voice of the speakers in the target language. The volume of the original audio is usually lowered when the speakers or actors of the target language speak. This can be used when the aim is at introducing the viewers or the listeners to different cultures or themes, this is why overlaid voices are used in reality shows and documentaries.

Listen Up: Mastering the Best Way to Transcribe Audio

Voice over

To refer to voice-over is to broadcast the translation and the original soundtrack simultaneously. The original soundtrack is usually heard at first and then the volume of the source dialogue is lowered once the dialogue starts for the audience to be able to hear the translation of the dialogue. It is much less expensive than subtitling and dubbing.

Since it’s a translation-related task, it is then handled by a professional translator. The translators must be holders of a Bachelor's Degree in Arts in Translation. It is important to choose a translator who has experience in the field of translation in general and in the field of audiovisual translation in particular. Also, it is highly required to choose a translator who has experience in the specific field of audiovisual content. This decreases the chances of committing mistakes related to terminology and other related errors.

If the chosen type of audiovisual translation is subtitling, then all it takes is to have a translator convey the meaning from one language to another. However, if the chosen type is dubbing, then after the subtitling process comes the most difficult process which is recording the translation. The recording process is done by actors or by professional speakers and it takes more time than subtitling.

Uncovering the Story: A Complete Guide to Interview Transcription

What are the qualifications of an audiovisual translator?

The qualifications of an audiovisual translator are the following:

First: Academic Qualifications


  • Holder of a Bachelor's Degree in Arts in Translation from a university or a recognized academy or institute.


  • Holder of a Master’s Degree in Translation.
  • Specialization in one field.

Unlocking the Arab World: A Guide to Arabic Localization

Second: Personal Qualifications

  • Analytical mind. This helps audiovisual translators in analyzing the dialogue and understanding the meaning of what is being said.
  • Responsive. They must be responsive, they must understand what the clients need and they should be able to appropriately communicate with them.
  • Fast. They must be able to translate audiovisual works and products that include a big amount of words to be able to increase their productivity.
  • Research skills. Audiovisual translators are called to have research skills to be able to conduct research when it is needed and find the correct meaning and translation.
  • Accurate. They must be able to deliver a high-quality audiovisual translation in the most accurate way. They must know what translation techniques to use to be able to accurately convey the meaning from one language into another.
  • Ability to work under pressure. Working under pressure is an integral part of audiovisual translation. For that reason, audiovisual translators must be able to manage their time and to be able to work under pressure.
  • Ability to meet deadlines. This is one of the most important qualifications of an audiovisual translator. Meeting deadlines might be challenging, however, only experienced and professional audiovisual translators can manage to meet tight deadlines.
  • Computer literacy. Audiovisual translators must be computer literate who are familiar with technology and with the use of computer programs. They must have some basic IT skills or else they won’t be able to complete any task related to audiovisual translation.

Get our app localization services now

What does an audiovisual translator do?

Audiovisual translators are not only called to translate a text from one language into another but they are required to convert a spoken dialogue into written words. This includes visual signs, expressions, and gestures. They might also be required to translate additional noises and voices such as giggles, clearing throats, coughs, laughs, and more, in specific cases.

Audiovisual translators start by listening to the work or watching it, identifying the field, and then translating the dialogue or the spoken words. Obviously, once finished, they must always proofread the written translation to make sure that it doesn’t include errors and mistakes.

Get our transcreation services now

What audiovisual works can be translated?

All audiovisual works and products can be translated, including:

  • Videos
  • Movies
  • Series
  • Documentaries
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews
  • Speeches
  • Audios
  • Lectures
  • Conferences
  • Tutorials
  • Animations
  • Images
  • Slideshows
  • Plays
  • Television shows
  • Live shows
  • Advertisements
  • Video games

Upload your file now and watch it seamlessly transform into any language of your choice

Date of posting
Share via
Do you want to get a
professional translation for your documents?

Fill out your information to receive a quote

Recent Posts
How to Translate Video Subtitles: The Professional Way! Learn how to translate subtitles for your video content in a fast and easy way! Discover the best subtitle techniques for video subtitles in this blog…Unravel the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Closed Captioning Closed captioning is the process of conveying any audiovisual work into written content that appears at the bottom of the screen...Unveiling the Distinctions between Revising, Editing, and Proofreading A Myth: revising, editing, and proofreading are the same thing? Let's take a look at what each one entails and how they differ.
Featured Articles
Mastering Technical Translation: Types & Qualifications of Top Translators Examples of technical translation types are user manuals, handbooks, patent, training materials, safety data, development documents, user research, manualsLost in Technical Translation? Know More about the Challenges and Solutions One of the most important lexical problems of technical translation is polysemy, which refers to the different meanings of the same word. Read more!Beyond Spelling Errors: Understanding Editing vs. Copy Editing Copy editing is the process of identifying errors and improving readability in written material. Read our complete guide to learn about copyediting!
Do you want to get a
professional translation for your documents?

Fill out your information to receive a quote

Share via

Join our mailing list to be the first one who receives our newest articles, announcement, and special offers on our services!