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The Translation of Multilingual Films in Spain

Project description

A remarkable number of films and television series display more than one language; they include different languages or a language with significant internal variation. of such texts poses important challenges, since language variation can manifest itself in different forms and fulfil certain functions, which could be 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 existing theoretical models on audiovisual translation and multilingualism by describing and analysing a rich collection of data.


We analyse film translation in order to discover and describe features and tendencies that arise from rendering linguistic diversity for dubbing, subtitling and accessibility. We focus primarily with translations from English, but other languages can be added to the database. 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. There is no restriction on the number or type of languages that constitute the “third language,” i. e. the variety that is not the main language of the source text, since this research intends to analyse the forms and functions of this variety in order to better understand the scope of criteria for dealing with it in audiovisual translation.

We also study the case whereby the presence of the “other” language (L3) happens to be exactly the same language as the main target language for the translation (L2). For example, when English-language (L1) films which include scenes in Spanish (L3), are dubbed or subtitled into Spanish (L2). 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 consists of excerpts from multilingual films, spotted and transcribed, and it allows the user to search languages and language variations along with a range of search criteria related to relevant variables for this kind of audiovisual multilingual phenomena. 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
  • Guillermo Parra - UPF