A reception study on non-professional subtitling: do audiences notice any difference?

David Orrego-Carmona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The audience’s reluctance to wait for the international release of audiovisual products, coupled with the easy access to audiovisual material and subtitling tools on the Internet, has triggered an increase in the production and use of non-professional subtitling. However, up to now, we know little of how people receive the subtitles and how much they understand when watching products with non-professional subtitles. This paper presents the results of a study that explores the audience reception of subtitled TV series using professional and non-professional subtitling. Fifty-two participants were shown three excerpts from The Big Bang Theory with three subtitle versions: the professional version extracted from the Spanish DVD and two non-professional versions produced by two different non-professional subtitling communities. Data were collected through questionnaires, eye-tracking and interviews. The results show that non-professional subtitles do not necessarily affect the audience reception negatively. Further, both eye-tracking and self-reported data yielded interesting insights into audience’s reception. Based on the findings, it is possible to say that there are non-professional translations that are as good as their professional counterparts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-181
Number of pages19
JournalAcross Languages and Cultures
Issue number2
Early online date8 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Orrego-Carmona, D. (2016). A reception study on non-professional subtitling:: do audiences notice any difference? Across Languages and Cultures, 17(2), 163-181. http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/084.2016.17.2.2


  • reception
  • subtitling
  • non-professional subtitling
  • audience
  • eye tracking


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