Why Everyone Is Using Subtitles Now with David Orrego-Carmona

SlatorPod #155 - University of Warwick’s David Orrego-Carmona on Subtitling

In this week’s SlatorPod, we are joined by David Orrego-Carmona, Assistant Professor at the University of Warwick to discuss his research on language technologies, audiovisual translation, and users of translation.

David shares his background studying translation in Colombia and how it led to the formation of a research group focusing on audiovisual translation and subtitling. He outlines how he is developing Translation Studies at Warwick, not only to teach students about translation and culture, but so they can have a direct link to the industry. 

David reveals the key findings from his PhD on the production of interlingual subtitles, where he used eye-tracking to track reading behaviors of non-professional and professional subtitles. He talks about how multilingual content like Netflix’s Sense8 and 1899 is changing the perception of subtitling.

David challenges the idea of the invisibility of subtitles as users between the age of 18 and 24 in the UK are more likely to use intralingual subtitles in English.

David gives his thoughts on the age-old debate of subtitling versus dubbing, where there is no right answer as both modes of translation are efficient and can convey meaning. He talks about how non-professional translators are implementing machine translation in a more informed and educated way through pre-editing.

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David discusses why it’s important for students to learn about the requirements of different media in subtitling, including short-form content like YouTube and TikTok. He touches on the impact of ChatGPT on academia, from plagiarism to integrating large language models into the curriculum.

The pod rounds off with David’s current research projects, the first on understanding how people watch subtitles and the second on how machine translation is used by local authorities, NGOs, and charities in the UK.