Course syllabus


TRANSLAT 700: Digital Translation 

SEMESTER 1, 2019

30 points

Time: 3-6 pm (Tuesdays)

Room: 207-312 (Translation Studies Lab)

Course Convenor: Associate Professor Minako O’Hagan


Office hour:  Tuesdays 2:00-3:00 pm

Office: Room 417, Arts 2, Bldg 207, 18 Symonds Street


Lecturers and lab sessions:

A/P Minako O'Hagan (Theoretical dimensions of localisation and audiovisual translation) (Weeks 1,2, 6,7,9 and 12)

Mr. Christof Schneider (Localisation practice) (Weeks 3-5)

Ms. Wendy Youens (Audiovisual Translation practice) (Weeks 8,10-12)



In response to the increasing needs of the industry to translate digital content and multimedia products this course will equip you with specialised knowledge and practical skills in localisation and audiovisual translation (AVT). The teaching staff include instructors who are industry professionals will help you develop skills and knowledge needed to translate software, websites and audiovisual content, including accessibility modes for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing and visually impaired. The practical dimension will also be balanced with theoretical aspects to reflect these dynamically evolving fields of research, incorporating historical, social, ethical and intercultural issues specific to digital media. You will learn the distinctive characteristics of digital texts and acquire the skills needed to translate such texts, highlighting digital literacy and intercultural competences. The course will familiarise you with localisation tools and tools to facilitate subtitling as well as to develop a critical understanding of key theoretical issues arising from scholarly research.

A student who successfully completes this course will:

  • acquire specialised skills and knowledge needed to translate digital texts such as software, websites and audiovisual content.
  • become familiar with tools to facilitate localisation and subtitling.
  • understand distinctive characteristics of digital text as the source text, and specific translation modes and processes involved, including accessibility modes. These include subtitles for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing and Audio Description for vision-impaired users.
  • understand ethical and intercultural issues specific to digital media, also including copyright, censorship and manipulation of non-verbal elements.
  • be able to critically apply different theoretical principles, methods and strategies in researching and practicing localisation and AVT.

The course will integrate the theoretical discussions and the practical hands-on sessions in the lab.

Main topics:

  • Digital texts as the source text with implications for digital literacy and intercultural competences, including historical developments of standards 
  • The GILT (Globalisation, Internationalisation, Localisation and Translation) industry and the localisation paradigm
  • Website and software (including games) localisation fundamentals 
  • Localisation and CAT tool interoperability  
  • AVT (Audiovisual Translation) as research and practice, including historical and socio-political contexts
  • A variety of AVT modes, including accessibility modes for the Deaf and the hard-of-hearing (closed captions) and for visually impaired through audio description
  • Subtitling tools, including speech recognition technology 
  • Professional issues including ethics



1. Localisation Research Essay – An academic research essay on a chosen aspect of localisation  (worth 25%) (3,000 words)

2. Localisation Project – Localisation practice conducted with a chosen digital product, using an appropriate tool (worth 25%) (equivalent to 3,000 words)

3. AVT Research Essay – An academic research essay on a chosen aspect of AVT  (worth 25%) (3,000 words)

4. AVT Project – Subtitling practice with an AV clip and its presentation to the class with a written commentary (worth 25%) (equivalent to 3,000 words)


Weekly topics (provisional):




5 Mar

Introduction to Digital Translation – special characteristics of digital texts – digital literacy and intercultural competency: historical perspectives  


12 Mar

The GILT (Globalisation, Internationalisation, Localisation and Translation) industry and the localisation paradigm: linguistic, cultural, technical and ethical considerations  


19 Mar

Website localisation (l10n) and working with a localisation tool: technical and intercultural issues 


26 Mar

XML l10n and CAT tool interoperability: technical and intercultural issues


2 Apr

Other file formats in l10n, Project Management & l10n tools


9 Apr

Game Localisation as a hybrid form: Software Localisation and Audiovisual Translation (AVT) – historical, intercultural, technical and ethical issues in digital artefacts


30 Apr

Audiovisual Translation (AVT) Overview – Research and Practice: AVT as a tool for social integration and cultural promotion; Historical and socio-political contexts of AVT   


7 May


Introduction to AVT tools, subtitling (interlingual and intralingual) and audio description



14 May

Interlingual Subtitles – research, methods and international best practice: understanding technicality of subtitles and intercultural issues on screen


21 May

Intralingual Subtitles (closed captioning) for the Deaf – research, methods and international best practice


28 May

Audio Description for the visually impaired – research, methods and international best practice: From non-verbal to verbal codes with intercultural considerations


4 June

Wrapping up:  Student presentations of their projects 

Professional issues, including ethics  


Indicative reading:


Cronin, M (2013). Translation in the Digital Age. Oxton and New York: Routledge.

Esser, A., Bernal-Merino, M. and Smith, I (2015). Media across borders: localizing TV, film, and video games. New York: Routledge.


Dunne, K (ed), (2009). Perspectives on localization. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Esselink, B (2000). A practical guide to localization. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Jiménez-Crespo, M (2013). Translation and web localization. London and New York: Routledge

Roturier, J (2015). Localizing apps: a practical guide for translators and translation students. Oxton and New York: Routledge.

Audiovisual Translation:

Baños Piñero, R and Díaz Cintas, J (2015). Audiovisual Translation in a Global Context: Mapping an ever-changing Landscape. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Díaz-Cintas, J and Remael, A (2007). Audiovisual translation: Subtitling. Manchester: St. Jerome.

O'Sullivan, C (2010). Translating popular film and the intercultural imagination. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pérez-González, L (ed), (2019). The Routledge Handbook of Audiovisual Translation. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Pérez-González, L (ed), (2014). Audiovisual translation: theories, methods and issues. London: Routledge.


Course materials:

Course materials will consist of academic articles and industry reports dealing with each topic discussed.  Additional material, including PowerPoint presentations and other audio-visual material, will be uploaded on Canvas.


Teaching format and methods:

This course will be taught through lectures and hands-on lab sessions. Teaching methods will promote both individual work and team work for students to develop their own specialised knowledge, intellectual skills and interpersonal qualities. Students will be provided with opportunities to 1) actively participate in and reflect on their own learning processes, 2) structure their own learning experiences and relate them to the course syllabus, and 3) gradually become independent learners. Students will be most welcome to contact the academic staff outside class times (in particular during their office hours or by appointment), should they have any questions and/or learning difficulties regarding class contents, coursework, etc.

Inclusive learning:

Students are invited to discuss privately any impairment-related requirements face-to-face (e.g. office hour) and/or in written form with the course convenor, lecturer and/or tutor.

Expectations of students:

The University of Auckland’s requirement for 30-point courses (3 contact hours per week) is that students spend 20 hours per week. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Students will be expected to read a wide range of texts and recommended bibliography and submit any additional exercises your lecturer may give you. In addition, students will be expected to actively participate in class, be involved in their own learning experience and learning process, and cross-assess peer work. 


Requirements for presentation of work:

Assignments will be prepared electronically, i.e. no hand-written works will be accepted, and submitted in electronic format. Unless otherwise specified, hard copies of assignments must also be submitted to the Arts Assignment Centre on Level 4 of the Social Sciences Building, 10 Symonds St (201E-413). For information on opening hours, submssion and collection of assignments, please see assignments will be disposed after the second week of the subsequent semester, including Summer School.


Procedures for submission of work:

Please send to the respective examiners

File names

Please name your files in the following way:


Example 2: "OHagan_1234567_essay1_713.doc"


Please work on an A4 paper format (21 cm x 29.7 cm), portrait, with margins of 2.5 cm top and bottom, and 3 cm left and right.

Basic presentation

Use Times New Roman, 12 points, black, 1.5-spaced, as your basic font. Your text should be thus justified.



Do not forget to add your name and student ID at the top of all MS Word document submitted.

Please also visit:

Student Learning Services for tutorials and consultations on academic writing skills.



Assignments Policy: Extensions, Deadlines and Penalties:


Time management is essential to meet the learning objectives, and it is the responsibility of students to manage their time so all assignments can be submitted on or before the due dates.


In serious circumstances* beyond the student’s control (see below), s/he may request an extension from the course convenor. The request should…

  •  be made by email at least 2-3 days BEFORE the due date for the assignment
  • provide an explanation of the circumstances
  • be supported by a satisfactory medical certificate or other documentation

If an extension is granted, you will be given a new due date. Only ONE extension can be granted to a student per assignment. Only in extreme circumstances will late requests for extensions be considered.

*Serious circumstances means sudden illness (in the case of in-class tests etc.) or long-term illness (for essays etc. done over a week or more).  It does NOT mean time management difficulties, wanting to go on holiday, relatives visiting from overseas, computer breakdowns, etc.


Unless indicated otherwise by the Course Convenor, hard-copies of assignments should be posted in the appropriate assignment box on 3rd floor Arts 1 building before 4 pm on the due date.  Assignment boxes are cleared at 4 pm and any assignment handed in after 4 pm will not be date-stamped till the next working-day. 

The Reception Area is not open on Saturday or Sunday or during public holidays.


Any work submitted after the due date and without an extension form or permission in writing from the Course Convenor will be treated as overdue and penalties will apply (see below). 

The mark given to an overdue assignment will be reduced by up to 10 per cent (at the discretion of the Course Convenor) of the total possible marks for that assignment for each day that it is late up to 5 days (e.g. for an assignment marked out of 20, deduct up to 2 marks per day up to a total of 10 marks). Assignments which are due on Friday, or the day before a university holiday, but are not received until the next working day will be counted as TWO days late.

Overdue assignments that are submitted more than five days late will not be marked; nor will assignments be marked if submitted after the assignment has been marked and returned.  Unmarked assignments will be held by the marker until the end of the semester, and in cases where the final grade for the student is borderline (D+), the marker may choose to award a minimal completion mark.  For this reason, it is better to hand in an assignment late than not at all.

OUT-OF-CLASS ASSESSMENT (i.e. take-home essays/projects/assignments etc.)

When a staff member grants an extension they will set a new due date.  The completed assignment must be submitted on or before the new due date together with the medical certificate and other documentation.  If an assignment is submitted after the new due date, penalties for lateness apply as above.


When serious circumstances (e.g. sudden serious illness or a car accident) cause a student to miss an in-class test/assessed presentations or electronic test it is expected that the student will notify the course convenor at the earliest possible opportunity, if possible before the scheduled test or presentation takes place.  If the student or their representative makes no contact within five days of the scheduled test/presentation, they will be awarded a zero grade for that piece of assessment. 

Extreme cases will be judged by the course Convenor on their own merits. Documentation may be required.

Plagiarism and use of Information and Communication Technology:


The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence.  The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting his or her learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced.  This requirement also applies to sources on the world-wide web.  A student's assessed work may be reviewed against electronic source material using computerised detection mechanisms.  Upon reasonable request, students may be required to provide an electronic version of their work for computerised review.

Students may not translate work from another source without proper acknowledgment and referencing. The use of translation machines to translate and copy texts into the target language of an assignment constitutes academic dishonesty.

The penalties for plagiarism are severe and can range from gaining no marks for the assignment to disciplinary action under the terms of the Examination Regulations. 

For further information and advice on University regulations and how to reference appropriately, see:

All students entering the University are required to complete the Academic Integrity Module, see:

Information about third-party assistance in postgraduate coursework can be found here:

The Student Academic Conduct Statute can be found here:  

Referen©ite, The University’s official academic referencing resource, can be found here:


If students in any course wish to set up a Facebook page for the course or to use any other form of ICT, they need to be aware that the  University of Auckland Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Statute sets out rules governing use of any ICT hardware or software at or for University activities. It forbids using ICT “to store, display or communicate… files containing any text, image that is deceptive or misleading, is abusive or defamatory, contravenes anyone’s privacy… or that reproduces all or part of any work in breach of the Copyright Act 1994”.  The Statute refers students to the relevant University Disciplinary Statute and the penalties that may apply.  It can be found at: 


Students with impairments:

Are asked to discuss privately with the course convenor (face–to-face and/or by email) any impairment-related requirements regarding delivery of course content or course assessments. Please contact the Course Coordinator as soon as possible if you have any impairment-related needs.


Complaint procedures:

The University of Auckland seeks to encourage the prompt and informal resolution of all students’ learning and research grievances as they arise. Students should be aware that support is available through either their class or faculty representative, the Student Advocacy Network or their Students' Association. For detailed information on academic disputes and complaints, see

Well-being always comes first

We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.

Course summary:

Date Details Due