Do You Second That Emotion?

An Empirical Study on the Emotional Impact of Subtitling on the Subtitler


  • Nadia Georgiou Independent Researcher
  • Katerina Perdikaki University of Surrey



sensitive audiovisual material, emotions, empirical study, subtitlers, subtitling process


This paper discusses the emotions experienced by subtitlers who subtitle sensitive audiovisual material. “Sensitive audiovisual material” refers to audiovisual texts which deal with controversial and emotive topics, such as abuse, war, torture. This topic has remained under-researched in subtitling, despite having been sporadically explored in other fields of translation (Hubscher-Davidson, 2017; Rojo and Ramos Caro, 2016; Tabakowska, 2016). The data presented in this paper expand upon and complement the findings discussed in Perdikaki and Georgiou (2020) based on an online survey completed by 170 subtitlers. For the current paper, the data discussed come from an online focus group with three professional subtitlers and face-to-face interviews with one freelance subtitler as well as a team interview with two in-house quality control editors. Having confirmed in our previous study that many subtitlers are affected by the sensitive AV material they subtitle, this paper aims at a more nuanced exploration of how subtitlers regulate emotions elicited on-the-job, offering specific examples as well as emotion management techniques. Finally, the perspective of emotional responsiveness, depending on socio-economic contexts as well as the linguistic arsenal of the subtitler, is briefly discussed.


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Author Biographies

Nadia Georgiou, Independent Researcher

Nadia Georgiou comes from a monolingual Greek family but was raised in an environment saturated with Anglo-American cultural products. Her avid, and slightly embarrassing, Anglophilia led her to study Translation and Modern Languages at the Ionian University in Corfu, Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths and pursue a PhD in Translation Studies at the University of Surrey. Her thesis focuses on translators as readers of (poetic) texts and examines the initial stages of the translation process. Her research interests include literary translation, the sociology of translation, gender and translation and the translation process.

Nadia has worked as a language and literature teacher, audiovisual translator, medical interpreter and library assistant. She translated Jules Verne’s Meridiana: The Adventures of Three Englishmen and Three Russians in South Africa (2011) and Head over Heels in Paris (2012) respectively from French and English into Greek.

She lives in Reading, continues her research and works as a freelance translator.

Katerina Perdikaki, University of Surrey

Katerina Perdikaki is an Associate Teaching Fellow at the University of Surrey, where she teaches audiovisual translation and specialised translation from English into Greek. In the past, she has also taught on the semiotics of advertising and interpreting and translation theory.

Katerina completed her PhD entitled “Adaptation as Translation: Examining Film Adaptation as a Recontextualised Act of Communication” at the University of Surrey in 2016. Her research interests lie in the area of audiovisual translation and practice, with an emphasis on quality assurance processes and the experiential effect of subtitling on the subtitler, as well as film semiotics and intersemiotic acts of communication, as those involved in the film adaptation process.

She also works as a freelance subtitler and dubbing translator.




How to Cite

Georgiou, N., & Perdikaki, K. (2020). Do You Second That Emotion? An Empirical Study on the Emotional Impact of Subtitling on the Subtitler. Journal of Audiovisual Translation, 3(2), 186–203.



Special Issue: November 2020