16/01/2014, by CLAS
Subtitling for Beginners in the Department of French and Francophone Studies
Earlier in December, the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies (CLAS) welcomed a group of burgeoning local Year 11/12 language students for a taste of academic life here at the University of Nottingham. During their half-day ‘taster’ visit, the students attended a French-English subtitling mini-lecture and workshop led by Drs Pierre-Alexis Mével and Dalida Agri from the Department of French and Francophone Studies.
The session started with a very informative introductory mini-lecture on subtitling, including the strict industry rules and regulations to which subtitlers worldwide must adhere. The students seemed to grasp this with ease and were eager to get started with their translating. Dr Mével then introduced the material to be worked on – a seven minute episode of 90s French comedy series Un gars, une fille (A guy, a girl), starring Jean Dujardin and Alexandra Lamy. After some training the students then set to work, with the help of a transcript, using the University’s specialist subtitling software (WinCAPs) to translate the existing French subtitles into English – with very impressive results! There were also current French ERASMUS students on hand for any semantic problems and help with translation difficulties.
All the students responded really positively to the experience as a whole, saying that they were pleasantly and proudly surprised that they understood a lot more French than they had anticipated and that their initial expectations had well and truly been exceeded. The WinCAPs software was also very user-friendly and the students were able to produce their subtitles with very little tutorial – a great success for both CLAS and the students!
All-in-all the experience was a very novel and fun way to introduce prospective university students to how lectures may differ from their current classroom life. Subtitling is likely to be something that students have never experienced before and using the professional software also gives CLAS an opportunity to showcase some of the wide-ranging facilities our students have at their disposal.
Part of CLAS’ Widening Participation programme for schools and colleges, this style of mini-lecture and interactive workshop is a great way to not only engage future students but also inspire them. The choice of source material (a comedy series) also helped keep the experience fun as well as engaging, and gave them a hands-on taste of what they could actually be studying and producing in years to come, should they choose the University of Nottingham for their journey into higher education.