AVT Guidelines and Policies

The lists below include guidelines and policies for different modalities of audiovisual translation

The Code of Good Subtitling was written in 1998 by Jan Ivarsson and Mary Carroll, two leading figures in the field. Jan Ivarsson was head of development of Swedish Television, and Mary Carroll was Managing Director of TitelBild Subtitling and Translation GmbH, Berlin. 

The Code provided a set of instructions aimed at ensuring the production of high-quality subtitles for the hearing. As such, it was endorsed by the European Association for Studies in Screen Translation in the same year it was published.

Subtitling practice has changed significantly after the Code was published. The possibilities offered by DVDs, digital television, social networks and other ways of watching video have considerably modified and expanded the idea of good subtitling.

Different markets and different countries follow their own, specific set of rules. While some aspects might be intrinsic to the idea of good subtitling, there cannot be a one-fits-all answer in defining specific guidelines or instructions. Different audiovisual genres, formats, channels, media, purposes, and of course different languages and cultures will affect how professionals, associations, organisations or institutions define good subtitling. In some countries, a long history and experience in and with subtitling of both the professional communities and the audiences form the basis for some of the fundamental parameters of good subtitling. In commercial contexts, the priorities of companies or organisations might inform how they decide to subtitle their content. In new markets, users and producers might have more possibilities for experimentation.

Since the seminal publication of the Code of Good Subtitling Practice back in 1998, many other codes of good practices, standards, guidelines, policies and white papers have been developed by different stakeholders – not only for all types of subtitling but for other modalities of audiovisual translation and other languages, too. To bring out the diversity of such documents and to promote their availability, ESIST has attempted to gather a list of such documents.

If you know of other resources that might be added, please email us or complete this form!

Guidelines for interlingual subtitling

Guidelines for SDH/Closed captioning

Guidelines for dubbing and voice-over

Guidelines for audio description

Other guidelines

*The lists and links were last updated and checked in January 2021.

ESIST membership

Application for membership is invited from anyone with an interest in screen translation, be it an academic or professional. Membership is also open to persons residing outside Europe.

To renew your membership, send the payment for the membership fee to davidorregocarmona@gmail.com via PayPal, as detailed in the membership section, indicating your full name and the renewal period. You can also pay by bank transfer - just email our Treasurer David Orrego-Carmona at the same email address to request our bank account details.

You only need to resubmit the Membership application form if any of your details have changed. If your affiliation and/or email address have changed, in addition to filling in the application form, kindly also inform the President Sharon Black via email at info@esist.org

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