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Unit information: Translation and International Film Distribution in 2021/22

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Translation and International Film Distribution
Unit code MODLM0040
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Carol O'Sullivan
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The unit will explore how moving images (film, video and digital media) travel across language borders, how they are translated for and marketed to a target audience and how they are exhibited/programmed/viewed locally.

The unit will introduce students to the history of, and technological developments in, audiovisual translation practices (e.g., intertitling, subtitling, dubbing, voice-over, localisation) which are used to make films, TV and online content, opera, videogames etc. accessible to speakers of different languages.

It will familiarise students with developments in film distribution strategies and channels and discuss the policies and politics that regulate the field.

Topics to be covered will include a selection from the following list:

  • Key theoretical concepts and frameworks such as: nationalism and the transnational; genre theory; paratext; foreignisation and ‘abusive’ translation; globalization
  • Translation in the silent era
  • The transition to sound and development of multilingual versions, dubbing and subtitling
  • Developments in policy and politics (e.g. translation in repressive regimes; censorship; piracy; multilingual coproduction)
  • Exhibition history and expansion of viewing platforms (from cinemas and home video to online streaming)
  • Translation and the multilingual film
  • History of the studio system and its successors (e.g., conglomerate Hollywood, media hubs)
  • Translation encounters (international co-productions, film festivals)
  • Marketing (e.g., advertising, re-subtitling, re-dubbing)
  • Research skills (material culture, archives, databases)

Unit aims:

1) to develop students’ critical understanding of the circulation of translated audiovisual content from an interdisciplinary perspective

2) to provide students with a set of critical frameworks appropriate to MA level for analysing developments in audiovisual translation and international film distribution practices

3) to develop students’ knowledge of film distribution and translation in a range of cultural contexts at a level appropriate to postgraduate study

4) to equip students with advanced skills in research and analysis

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate advanced knowledge of key concepts and problematics in the translation and international circulation of moving images
  2. demonstrate a sophisticated critical understanding of historical context and/or technological innovation in the field
  3. analyse and contextualise film and AV media translation, distribution and marketing strategies

demonstrate ability to conduct independent, self-motivated research on a topic of choice

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered online through a combination of synchronous sessions and asynchronous activities, including seminars, lectures, and collaborative as well as self-directed learning opportunities supported by tutor consultation.

Assessment Information

Students will identify and develop a project in a specific area of film distribution and translation in discussion with a tutor, and produce a 5,000-word extended essay.

Formative assessment will take place by means of tutor and peer input in class discussions throughout the module and approval of proposed essay topics. Test learning outcomes 1-4


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MODLM0040).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.