Writing and Language Studies Faculty Publications and Presentations

Subtitling speed in Media Accessibility research: some methodological considerations

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Media Accessibility researchers who analyze existing subtitled materials or who create them in the lab for experimental purposes often report on the average subtitling speed of their samples as a measure to describe the rate at which their materials were delivered to viewers. However, they not always describe the methodology behind their calculations, which may be problematic because the literature shows no uniformity in the way that the average subtitling speed is estimated. This paper delves into the notion of average subtitling speed as used in Media Accessibility research. It first looks at the role of subtitling speed in guidelines issued by the industry and regulators. Then it moves on to explore how the average subtitling speed is approached in the scholarly literature, which shows three different methods to calculate this parameter. The comparability and interchangeability of those methods is then analyzed from a statistical standpoint. A reflection follows on the use of the average subtitling speed as a measure to inform about the speed of subtitling samples, before concluding with some methodological recommendations that may help improve the way that the average subtitling speed is reported in scholarly works.


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