Monolingual Subtitling and Audio Description MA

This programme allows you to effectively use audiovisual technologies in order to give audiences access to relevant services and products.

Why Surrey?

This programme is dedicated to media access for people with sensory disabilities. It focuses on monolingual subtitling (captioning) for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and audio description, a form of narrative translation for the blind and partially sighted.

Programme overview

This is the only UK Masters programme dedicated to monolingual subtitling and audio description. You will learn from professionals and academics in a supportive environment, who will prepare you to work in a growing professional market, and help you get involved in the exciting new research opportunities emerging in these audiovisual disciplines.

Professional subtitlers and audio describers who are active in the market bring their real-world experience and standards into the classroom as tutors. Experienced academic staff with excellent research records in various areas of translation studies help you to develop a broad understanding of the current and future challenges of audiovisual translation. Modules are practice-based and focus on the ways in which fellow citizens/viewers with sensory impairment may have equal access to services and products. Regular seminars in our Translation Studies series, held throughout the year, provide additional insights from a range of experienced professionals.

The programme offers 24/7 access to computer labs and the latest professional audio description and subtitling software.

Module Overview

Programme Structure

C - Compulsory, O - Optional
Modules Credits MA
Intralingual Audiovisual Translation (Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing) 15 C
Audio Description 15 C
Audiovisual Translation Issues 15 C
Applied Linguistic Principles 15 C
Interlingual Subtitling 15 O
Economics / Business Translation 15 O
Scientific / Technical Translation 15 O
Creative Writing and Professional Practice 15 O
Ab initio Language for Translation Purposes 15 O
Translation of Persuasive Texts 15 O
Translating Cultures 15 O
Dissertation 60 C

Compulsory modules

Intralingual Audiovisual Translation (Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing: SDH)

In this module, you will learn how to produce intralingual subtitles in order to meet the needs of SDH viewers. The focus will be on acquiring skills for analysing the various components of audiovisual materials (speech, sound, text), developing strategies for transferring audio information to written form and learning to create subtitle files using professional subtitling software.

Audio Description (AD)

In audio description, additional narrative is inserted in films, TV programmes or theatre performances to describe actions, body language and other essential details, in order to increase the comprehension and enjoyment of audiovisual contents for blind and partially sighted people. In this module, you will learn how to produce effective audio descriptions, using professional AD software.

Audiovisual Translation Issues

In this module, you will learn about the various forms of audiovisual translation such as subtitling, dubbing, voice-over and audio description, their development, their major challenges, as well as their overall relationship to translation.

Applied Linguistic Principles

Drawing on pragmatic models of communication, this module will help you to develop an understanding of how verbal language and other modes of communication are used for the creation and comprehension of meaning.

Optional Modules

In addition to the compulsory modules, you will be able to select optional modules according to your specific interests. You can complement your skills in paper translation or audiovisual translation or you may learn a new language for translation purposes. Alternatively, you can take an option on creative writing (subject to availability) or explore issues of creativity in other areas, such as advertising.


You will have the opportunity to specialise in an aspect of the programme by writing a topic-based dissertation, or by doing a subtitling / audio description project with commentary. Successful completion of the module requires close collaboration with a supervisor and good planning and organisation skills.

Teaching Hours

Teaching: 10–12 hours per week

Private study: 28–30 hours per week

Dissertation: Approximately 600 hours

Professional recognition

There is no professional accreditation body for audiovisual translation. However, students may join the European Association for Studies in Screen Translation.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme director

Dimitris Asimakoulas

Find out more

General Enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions Enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months
  • Part-time: 24 months

Start date:

Sep 2014

Entry Requirements

Native English speakers: a minimum of a UK 2.2 honours degree in English, modern languages, journalism, applied linguistics or similar subject. Speakers of other languages: an equivalent to a minimum of a UK 2.2 honours degree in English or another relevant subject. In exceptional cases, alternative qualifications and professional experience may be considered. Non-native speakers of English will also have to meet the English language requirements specified for this programme.

English language requirements

IELTS minimum overall: 6.5

IELTS minimum by component:

Reading: 6.0 Writing: 7.0 Speaking: 6.0 Listening: 6.0

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2014 £6,330 £12,735
Part-time Sep 2014 £3,165 £6,370

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2014/15 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Surrey and Santander Scholarships

The University of Surrey are pleased to offer four scholarship schemes aimed at further enhancing our cultural diversity:

For more details

Tullow Oil Scholarship Scheme

The University of Surrey is delighted to announce it has recently been selected to participate in the Tullow Oil Scholarship Scheme.

For more details

Indonesia-UK DIKTI Scholarship Scheme

Open to lecturers and administrative staff at Indonesian universities.

For more details

Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumni of Surrey you could be eligible for a 10% discount on our Taught Masters programme fees.

For more details

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Discover your subject

Our networks


In lecturers, I mostly admired their practical approach to teaching and the valuable insights into the profession they shared with us.

Karolina Cisek-Ndlovu

Senior Project Manager, Comms Multilingual

What attracted you to choose Surrey and to study MA Translation here?

When choosing the University I considered available courses, their reviews as well as the cost of the course and the location of the University. I was wavering between Imperial College and Surrey, but the more I looked into Surrey's offer, the more I became convinced that with its focus and location, Surrey will be the right place for me to gain practical and theoretical background needed in the professional world.

What is your strongest memory of your time at Surrey – what do you picture first when you think of being here?

The strongest memory from Surrey I hold, is that of people I met there - fellow students, lecturers and staff alike. Everyone always seemed positive, open to others and happy to help. In lecturers, I mostly admired their practical approach to teaching and the valuable insights into the profession they shared with us. On the other hand, as students, we were also encouraged to work together and learn from each other. It was a great place to start life-long friendships in.

What is the one thing you would say about Surrey (or your course) to someone who doesn’t know anything about it?

The education offered by Surrey University is without a doubt of very high quality. As with anything else in life, a lot of course depends on the individual's motivation and focus on what they want to achieve. All the same Surrey gives many opportunities for professional development and personal growth making it easy for students to stay motivated and interested in the course.

How did you change as a person during your time as a Surrey postgraduate, and how has your time here influenced your life and career since then?

The beauty of the course was that it not only taught us how to translate, but also made us aware of how the whole translation industry works, thus making us professionally aware. The insight into the industry made me aware that there are other career options than freelance translation and helped me realise and specify my long term career goals. It was during the course that I made a decision about the career I wanted and have been successfully pursuing it since.

What has been your career highlight to date?

I think I can consider myself quite lucky. I was able to start a career in the profession quite soon after graduation, and on top of that, in a role and environment that turned out to be perfectly suited for my skills and personality. Every day gives me an opportunity to learn something new and keeps me stimulated. I suppose the greatest highlight of my career is being able to participate in a lot of high profile projects, being recognised in the industry as a professional and at the same time find my work extremely satisfying and enjoyable.

What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?

Translation is not an easy market, especially for those who are making a break. All the same, with enough focus, determination and dedication you can achieve what you set out for. If you want to be a freelancer, be a specialist; if aspiring to become a PM, multitasking developed to a very high level is an absolute must. Most importantly remember that the two things you will be mostly judged on is the quality of your work and your professionalism.

Our alumni