Expertise in interlingual subtitling: applying the FAR model to study the quality of subtitles created by professional and trainee subtitlers


  • Ewa Ludera University of Warsaw
  • Agnieszka Szarkowska University of Warsaw
  • David Orrego-Carmona University of Warwick



subtitling, quality, expertise, eye tracking, FAR model


Subtitling quality is a rather slippery notion and its assessment in interlingual subtitling continues to present a challenge to subtitling trainers, broadcasters, language service providers and other stakeholders. Using unexplored data from a subtitling process research study by Orrego-Carmona et al. (2018), we examined the quality of interlingual English-to-Polish subtitles created by professionals and novices. First, we implemented Pedersen’s (2017) FAR model to assess the quality of subtitles created by the participants, predicting that professionals would achieve higher quality scores than novices. Then, we followed up the FAR model examination with a quantitative analysis of a set of quality parameters related to text condensation, which is considered a key skill in interlingual subtitling. Despite our hypotheses, professional subtitlers in our study did not gain higher scores in the FAR model analysis; they also made similar types of errors as novices. However, their expertise was demonstrated in better condensation skills. We have also discovered an interesting relationship between subtitlers’ age and their condensation skills. Our study may contribute to a fuller understanding of expertise in interlingual subtitling and provide subtitling trainers with clues about areas most problematic for students.