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The Translation of Multilingual Films in Spain


A large number of films and television series portray more than one language, in other words, they include different languages or significant linguistic variations. The translation of such texts poses certain challenges, since language variation can fulfil certain functions, such as stylistic, pragmatic or discursive. These texts are often referred to as multilingual (or polylingual, plurilingual or even heterolingual).

The TRAFILM project aims to describe the reality of the translation of multilingual audiovisual texts. We aim to discover professional and social practices along with the norms and criteria of this specific translation challenge. We also hope to validate and refine the theoretical models on audiovisual translation and multilingualism by describing and analysing a rich collection of data.


We analyse films in order to compare the norms and tendencies when rendering linguistic diversity for dubbing and subtitling. We deal with translations from English because of its prevalence in the audiovisual markets. Even though Spanish and Catalan are the target languages of the academic, professional and social context of the main research team, associate members are welcome to work in other target languages.

The project pays special attention to gathering a representative number of samples of how the phenomenon of multilingualism has been dealt with in 21st-century films. We do not restrict the number of language varieties that constitute the “third language,” i. e. the variety that is not the source or target language, since this research intends to analyse the functions of this variety in order to deal with the related criteria for its translation.

We also study the case whereby the presence of the “other” language happens to be exactly the same language as the main target language for the translation. For example, American English-language films which include scenes in Spanish, and their dubbed or subtitled versions for Spain. Thus, we intend to provide reliable data for refining existing theoretical models of multilingualism in audiovisual translation, and to compare tendencies across translation types.

Consultable database

The TRAFILM database consisting of excerpts from multilingual films spotted and transcribed, allows the user to search languages and language variations with a range of translation options. This database offers quantitative and qualitative data for research. It also provides audiovisual materials for translation training and foreign language acquisition.

You can browse the data gathered here:

Set of guidelines

The study of the TRAFILM database will result in a set of guidelines for translating multilingualism, including diverse translation options aimed at translators, trainers and trainees.

Become a member!

Are you interested in the research of multilingual films? Would you like to add your own examples of L3-instances in the Trafilm database? 

Join the team by expressing your interest here

Research team

  • Montse Corrius - UVIC
  • Eva Espasa - UVIC
  • Patrick Zabalbeascoa - UPF
  • Laura Santamaria - UAB
  • Stavroula Sokoli - HOU & CTI
  • Miquel Pujol - UVIC