Audiovisual Machine Translation – The Launch of the Newspeak?

Tiina Holopainen
University of Turku/Yle

Introducing machine translation (MT) in the subtitling industry is well on its way. The main reason for this is the growing volume of AV content, offering new business opportunities for the industry. While the massive growth in volume is a fact, there are several reasons for a critical assessment of the validity and value of MT in multimedia translation. My presentation will focus on the influence of Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) on the language and textuality of subtitled films/TV programmes and – in the event of a large-scale semi-automation of subtitling – on the sense of language of target audiences. I will propose the following questions for discussion: Firstly, is it possible for post-editors to make SMT output files into polysemiotically coherent texts? And, secondly, is it possible for post-editors to oppose the tendency of SMT to produce impoverished language? If yes, what would be the necessary conditions to do so regarding both questions?

SUMAT: An Online Service for SUbtitling by MAchine Translation [online]. European Commission [Luettu 16.9.2013]. Saatavissa:



Volk, M. & Fishel, M. & Bywood, L. & Georgakopoulou, Y. 2012. What Is the Productivity Gain in Machine Translation of Subtitles? [online]. European Commission [Luettu 16.9.2013]. Saatavissa:

Volk, M. 2010. Multilingual Subtitling in the Age of Google Translate. Teoksessa Languages & The Media: Conference Catalogue. Berlin. October 6–8, 2010, 76–78.

Volk, M. 2008. The Automatic Translation of Film Subtitles. A Machine Translation Success Story? Teoksessa J. Nivre, M. Dahllöf, B. Megyesi (toim.) Resourceful Language Technology: Festschrift for Anna Sågvall Hein. Uppsala, 202-214. Saatavissa myös online:

Volk, M. & Harder, S. 2007. Evaluating MT with translations or translators. What is the difference? Teoksessa Machine Translation Summit XI Proceedings. Copenhagen, 499-506. Saatavissa myös online:


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