Audiovisual translation: types and main functions

Audiovisual translation is a complex type of translation given the varied nature of the content to be transcribed. Audiovisual works deal with different resources in addition to oral language, such as image, sound, voice register, music, colors, etc.

In the first place, you must know that audiovisual translation is a type of translation applied to any product intended to be used through a screen to where the content is essentially connected with sound (audio) and image (visual). It is also multimedia translation, due to the fact that it is transmitted through several formats, such as television, cinema, mobile devices, etc.

Because of its multidisciplinary nature, there are several types of audiovisual translation, which are explained below.

Types of audiovisual translation: functions, objectives and how it is applied

In this type of translation, the translator’s job depends on the characteristics of the audiovisual project. It is necessary to adapt the content to time and space so they are interpreted and/or subtitled, depending on the type, respecting the original work.


subtitling service consists of translating or transcribing the spoken text, placing a written text at the bottom of the image. The goal is for the viewer to be able to follow every scene without any problems. For this to happen, the translator must be able to adapt the text to reading speed, without losing its essence, context or rhythm. Subtitling is usual in formats such as:


  • Movies and series.


  • News.


  • Documentaries.



The aim of voice dubbing is replacing the dialog with that which will be performed by the dubbing actor in the target language. The translator must make everything feel natural and rational. To do so, it’s necessary to adapt expressions, double entendres and the cultural context maintaining the original meaning. It’s very common in:


  • Movies and series.


  • Animation.


  • Reality shows.


  • Documentaries.


  • Testimonies.



In this type of multimedia translation, the translator describes the content of the audiovisual product so blind or visually impaired people can experience it similarly to the rest of the viewers.

The aim is to communicate with words what is shown on screen, leveraging silences and adjusting to dialog without overlapping. It is widely applied and can be found in:


  • Movies and series.


  • Television.


  • Theater.


  • Documentaries.


  • Cultural events.



Video game users are among the most demanding consumers of the audiovisual field. Multimedia translation includes dialog, guides, instructions, technical texts and even those of a legal nature. Moreover, the translator carries out linguistic and cultural adaptation which is called video game localization, in order to adapt the product to the target market.

The complexity and broad nuances of audiovisual translation require counting on the experience and quality of the best specialized translators. If you have an audiovisual project and you need to guarantee the quality of multimedia translation, turn to a linguistic services company that provides the most appropriate technical equipment and team for each type.

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