Template Files:

The Holy Grail of Subtitling





subtitling, templates, norms, quality, audiovisual localisation, language service providers, style guide


The use of English template files in workflows involving the multilanguage creation of subtitles from the same source audio assets, typically English, was one of the greatest innovations in the subtitling industry at the turn of the century. It streamlined processes, eliminated duplication of work, reduced direct costs, improved timelines and facilitated the quality control of large volumes of subtitle files whilst expanding the pool of available translators to complete the work.  Template files set the basis for the globalisation of the subtitling industry and, almost two decades since their inception, they are still a topic of debate among language service providers and subtitlers. The present paper is a descriptive work, presenting a set of guidelines devised by the present author at the turn of the century, and used in practice for almost a decade in the production of multilingual subtitling work, enhanced and improved upon by the very subtitlers that worked with them. It aims at providing a reference point for debate to researchers in the subtitling field, so as to further the ongoing discussion on interlingual subtitling quality, practices and standards.


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Author Biography

Panayota Georgakopoulou, Athena Consultancy

Leading audiovisual localisation expert, specialising in the application of language technologies in subtitling. She offers her services to high-profile organisations around the world as an independent consultant, advising on strategy, quality, tools, workflows, and language resource and data management.

Yota holds a PhD in translation and subtitling from the University of Surrey and has over 20 years of experience in senior management roles in the audiovisual localisation industry. She implemented the first university modules on audiovisual translation in the UK, published the first guidelines on subtitling templates, participated in multiple research projects on language technologies applied to audiovisual text, served as the Managing Director of the European Captioning Institute and most recently as Senior Director, Research & Int’l Development, at Deluxe Entertainment Services Group before setting up her own consultancy firm.

Yota has authored and co-authored over 30 publications and is a regular speaker at international conferences and events on translation. She serves on the steering committee of the biannual Languages and the Media international conference, and her research interests include audiovisual localisation, accessibility, crowdsourcing, post-editing, machine translation, speech recognition, quality standards, translation big data and the democratisation of translation.




How to Cite

Georgakopoulou, P. (2019). Template Files:: The Holy Grail of Subtitling. Journal of Audiovisual Translation, 2(2), 137–160. https://doi.org/10.47476/jat.v2i2.84