After finishing my Bachelor of Arts in English Philology, in 2013 I decided to study an MA in Audiovisual Translation as I wanted to specialise in this field. A professor from my university, recommended the master’s degree from University of Roehampton (London).

After a difficult selection process in which I had to provide references, a certain English level and write a motivation letter, I got accepted in the course and in September 2013 I moved to London to study.

The course was divided as follows:

  1. Autumn Term, in which I took the courses Subtitling & Surtitling and Translation Theory & Practice
  2. Spring Term, in which I took the courses Media Access: Audiodescription, Subtitling for the Deaf and Respeaking and Dubbing

When Spring Term ended in May, classes ended, too. However, we still had to work on our MA Dissertation, there were two options we could choose from:

  1. Perform a research and write a 15000 words report, or
  2. Translate a text or video (and provide subtitles, subtitles for the deaf or audiodescribe it) from English into our native language and write a 6500 words report explaining the issues and challenges we encountered and how we dealt with them.

The first step was choosing what I wanted to do, this wasn’t a hard decision as I really wanted to translate a video and create subtitles for the deaf and the hard of hearing, hence I chose the second option and translated and created subtitles for some scenes of the British series Skins, following the Spanish norm UNE 153010:2012.

Once the decision was made, I began to search for and read bibliography (books, articles, blog posts, etc.) that could be relevant for my project and that could be the base of the theoretical part of it.

Regarding the practical part of the project, I had to translate the whole episode, so that I could choose which were the more relevant scenes for the project, considering the difficulties, both linguistic – translation issues and terminology among others – and technical – issues/difficulties when creating the subtitles. Once I had chosen the scenes I wanted to work with, I began looking for more specific bibliography.

I translated and reviewed the text about 4000 times – there are always things that can be improved –, I chose which colour I was going to assign to each of the characters and how I was going to apply the UNE norm in my subtitles. Once all these aspects were clear, I began creating the subtitles and modifying my translation when required as per the subtitling guidelines. As I was modifying my translation, I had to review it again to make sure that those new changes had no negative impact on the meaning, for example.

By the end of June, I had finished creating the subtitles and I had reviewed them, too. Therefore, I began writing the theoretical part based on all my readings. On the one hand, I had to comment on the challenges and issues I encountered while translating such as the translation of bad language, idioms and cultural gaps; and on the other hand, I had to detail the technical issues I had during the subtitling process: character identification with colours, sound effects, the edition of subtitles as some of them were too long, character’s interventions that were overlapping, etc.

By the end of August, I had finished with both the practical and theoretical parts of the dissertation and the deadline arrived. I went back to Roehampton to deliver what had been the most extensive academic project in my life.
It was a period of extreme hard work and long hours, still it also came with lots of learnings and development both professionally and personally.

You can see the subtitles I created in my portfolio and read the report.