The Use of Passive and Active Subtitles in Foreign Language Teaching: A View to their Teaching Potential




language learning, foreign languages, passive subtitling, active subtitling, audiovisual translation.


After years of rejection and criticism blaming on their entertaining nature as a source of distraction within the classroom, in recent decades audiovisual translation has been accepted as a tool for language learning. Real-life needs have shown that watching subtitled audiovisual materials enhances language acquisition and foster varied skills, so that it has gained a place in the classroom. Recently, one step forward has been taken in the use of this resource, moving from passive subtitles to active subtitling, in order to turn the target receiver —the foreign-language student— into a subtitler. The present article reviews the didactic possibilities of both activities, analyses the benefits of active subtitling, and presents some subtitling programmes whose features make them feasible for use as a teaching tool.

= 1998 veces | PDF (ESPAÑOL (ESPAÑA))
= 992 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Gloria Torralba-Miralles, Universitat Jaume I

Doctora en Traducción, Sociedad y Comunicación, Universitat Jaume i. Profesora asistente, Departament d’Educació, Facultat de Ciències Humanes i Socials, Universitat Jaume i. Campus del Riu Sec, E-12071 Castelló de la Plana (España)


Aráujo, V. (2008). The educational use of subtitled films in EFL teaching. En J. Díaz Cintas (Ed.), The Didactics of Audiovisual Translation (pp. 227-238). Amsterdam/Filadelfia: John Benjamins,.

Baltova, I. (1999). The effect of subtitled and staged video input on the learning and retention of content and vocabulary in a second language. Tesis doctoral presentada en Ontario Institute for Studies in Education de la Universitat de Toronto. Recuperado el 1 de abril de 2018, de

Bean, R. M. y Wilson, R. M. (1989).Using Closed Captioned Television to Teach Reading to Adults. Reading Research and Instruction, 28(4), 27-37.

Bird, S. y Willims, J. (2002). The effect of bimodal input on implicit and explicit memory: An investigation into the benfits of within-language subtitling. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23(4), 509-533.

Borrás, I. y Lafayette, R. (1994). Effects of multimedia courseware subtitling on the speaking performance on college students of French. The Modern Language Journal, 78(1), 61-75.

Bravo, C. (2008). Putting the Reader in the Picture: Screen translation and foregin-language learning. Tesis doctoral presentada en la Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona.

Caimi, A. (2006). Audiovisual Translation and Language Learning: The Promotion of Intralingual subtitles. The Journal of Specialised Translation, 6, 85-98.

Chaume, F. (2003). Doblatge i subtitulació per a la TV, Vic, España: Eumo.

Chaume, F. (2004). Cine y traducción, Madrid, España: Cátedra.

Cook, V. (2001). Using the first language in the classroom. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 57, 402-423.

Cummins, J. (2007). Rethinking monolingual instructional strategies in multilingual classrooms. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique appliquée, 10(2), 221-240.

d’Ydewalle, G y Gielen I. (1992). Attention allocation with overlapping sound, image and text. En Rayner, K. (Ed.), Eye movements and visual cognition: Scene perception and reading. Nueva York, Estados Unidos: Springer Verlag, 415-427.

D’Ydewalle, G., Muylle, P. y Van Rensbergen, J. (1985). Attention shifts in partially redundant information situations. En Groner, R., McConkie, G.W. y Menz, C. (Eds.), Eye movements and human information processing (pp. 375-384). Amsterdam, Holanda: Elsevier Scienc Publishers B.V. (North-Holland).

d’Ydewalle, G. y van Rensbergen, J. (1989). Developmental studies of text-picture interactions in the perception of animated cartoons with texts”. En Mandl, H. y Levin, J.R. (Eds.), Knowledge acquisition from text and pictures (233-248). Amsterdam, Holanda: Elsevier/North Holland.

Danan, M. (1992). Reversed subtitling and dual coding theory: New directions for foreign language instruction. Language Learning, 42(4), 497-527.

Danan, M. (2004). Captioning and subtitling: Undervalued language learning strategies. Meta, 49(1), 67-77.

Diao, Y., Chandler, P. P. y Sweller, J. (2007). The effect of written text on comprehension of spoken English as a foreign language. The American Journal of Psychology 120(2), 237-261.

Díaz Cintas, J. (1995). El subtitulado como técnica docente. Vida Hispánica 12, 10-14.

Díaz Cintas, J. (2010). Subtitling. En Y. Gambier y L. Van Doorslaer. (Eds.), Handbook of translation studies (pp. 344-349). Manchester, Gran Bretaña: St. Jerome,.

Díaz Cintas, J. (2012). Los subtítulos y la subtitulación en la clase de lengua extranjera. Abehache, Revista da Associação Brasileira de Hispanistas, 3, 95-114.

Díaz Cintas, J. y Muñoz Sánchez, P. (2006). Fansubs: Audiovisual Translation in an Amateur Environment. Journal of Specialised Translation, 6, 37-52.

Ellsworth, T. (1992). Waiter, a dish of satellite, please!: Integrating subtitled video into your teaching, English Teaching Forum, 30(3), 24-27.

Gambier, Y. (2007). Sous-titrage et apprentissage des langues. En Neves, J. y Remael, A. (Eds.), Linguistica Antverpiensia, 6, 97-113.

Garza, T. (1991). Evaluating the use of captioned video materials in advanced foreign Language learning. Foreign Language Annals 24(3), 239-258.

Goldman M. y Goldman, S. (1988). Reading with closed-captioned TV. Journal of Reading, 31(5), 458-461.

González-Iglesias, J. D. (2012). Desarrollo de una herramienta de análisis de los parámetros técnicos de los subtítulos y estudio diacrónico de series estadounidenses de televisión en DVD. Tesis doctoral presentada a la Universidad de Salamanca.

Huang, H. C. y Eskey, D. E. (1999). The effects of closed-captioned television on the listening comprehension of intermediate English as a Second Language (ESL) students. Journal of Educational Technology Sustems, 28(1), 75-96.

Incalcaterra McLoughlin, L. (2009). Subtitles in Translators’ Training: A Model of Analysis. Romance Studies 27(3): 174–185.

Ivarsson, J. (1992). Subtitling for the Media. Estocolmo, Suecia: Ljunglöfs Offset AB.

Karamitroglou, F. (1998). A Proposed Set of Subtitling Standards in Europe. Translation Jounal 2(2). Recuperado el 20 de abril de 2018, de

Koolstra, C. M. y Beentjes, J. W. J. (1999). Children’s Vocabulary Acquisition in a Foreign Language Through Watching Subtitled Television Programmes at Home. Educational Technology Research & Development 47(1), 51-60.

Koskinen, P., Knable, J., Markham, P., Jensema, C. y Kane, K. (1996). Captioned television and the vocabulary acquisition of adult second Language correctional facility residents. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 24, 359-373.

Kothari, B. y Bandyopadhyay, T. (2011). Can India’s literate read? International Review of Education, 56(5/6), 705-728.

Kothari, B. y Bandyopadhyay, T. (2014). Same language subtitling of Bollywood Film songs on TV: Effects on literacy. Information Technologies & International Development, 10(4), 31-47. Recuperado el 10 de abril de 2018, de

Kothari, B., Pandey, A. y Chudgar, A. R. (2004). Reading out of the ‘idiot box’: same language subtitling on TV in India. Information Technologies and International Development, 2(1), 23-44. Recuperado el 10 de abril de 2018, de

Krashen, S. (1985). The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. Nueva York: Longman.

Krashen, S. (1987). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Exeter: Prentice-Hall International.

Lambert W. E. y Holobow, N. E. (1984). Combinations of printed script and spoken dialogue that show promise for beginning students of a foreign language. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Journal canadien des sciences du comportement, 16, 1-11.

Lambert, W.E., Boehler, I. y Sidoti, N. (1981). Choosing the languages of subtitles and spoken dialogues for media presentations: Implications for second language education. Applied Psycholinguistics, 2(2), 133-148.

Lertola, J. (2012). The effect of subtitling task on vocabulary learning. En Pym, A. y Orrego-Carmona, D. (Eds.), Translation research projects 4 (pp. 61-70). Tarragona, España: Intercultural Studies Group.

Lertola, J. (2013). Subtitling New Media: Audiovisual Translation and Second Language Acquisition. Tesis doctoral presentada en la National University of Ireland, Galway

Lertola, J. (2015). Subtitling in Language Learning: Suggestions for Language Teachers En Y. Gambier, A. Caimi y C. Mariotti (Eds.), Subtitles and Language Learning (pp. 245-267). Berna, Suiza: Peter Lang.

Malmkjaer, K. (1998). Translation and Language Teaching. Manchester: St Jerome.

Markham, P. (1989). The effects of captioned videotapes on the listening comprehension of beginning, intermediate, and advanced ESL students. Educational Technology 29(10), 38-41.

Marzà, A. y Torralba G. (2015). Incidental Language Learning through Subtitled Cartoons: Is it Possible in a Dubbing Country? En Gambier, Y., Caimi, A. y Mariotti, C. (Eds.), Subtitles and Language Learning (pp. 199-220).Berna, Suiza: Peter Lang,

Neuman, S. y Koskinen, P. (1992). Captioned Television as Comprehensible Input: Effects of Incidental Word Learning in Context for Language Minority Students. Reading Research Quarterly, 27(1), 94-106.

Neves, J. (2004). Language Awareness through Training in Subtitling. En Orero, P. (Ed.), Topics in Audiovisual Translation (pp. 127-139). Amsterdam, Holanda: John Benjamins,.

Parlato, S. (1986). Watch your Language: Captioned Media for Literacy. Silver Spring, MD: T.J. Publishers.

Pavakanun, U. y d’Ydewalle, G. (1992). Watching foreign television programs and language learning. En Engel, F.

L., Bouwhuis, D. G. y d’Ydewalle, G. (Eds.), Cognitive Modelling and Interactive Environments in Language Learning (pp. 193-198). Berlín, Alemania: Springer-Verlag,.

Perego, E y Ghia, E. (2011). Subtitles Consumption according to Eye Tracking Data. En Incalcaterra McLoughlin, L., Biscio M. y Ní Mhainnín, M. Á. (Eds.), Audiovisual Translation:Subtitles and Subtitling. Theory and Practice. New Trends in Translation Studies, 9 (pp. 177-196). Berna/Frankfurt, Suiza/Alemania: Peter Lang.

Rees, T. (1993). Closed captions in the classroom. Artículo inédito. Northampton, MA: International Language Institute of Massachusetts.

Romero-Fresco, P. (2009). More Haste Less Speed: edited vs verbatim respeaking. Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics (VIAL), VI, 109-133.

Ryan, S. (1998). Using films to develop learner motivation, The Internet TESL Journal, 4(11). Recuperado el 1 de abril de 2018, de

Sokoli, S. (2006). Learning via Subtitling (LvS). A tool for the creation of foreign language learning activities based on film subtitling. Actes MuTra 2006 - Multidimensional translation: Audiovisual translation scenarios, Copenhage: University of Copenhagen. Recuperado el 10 de abril de 2018, de

Sokoli, S., Zabalbeascoa, P. y Fountana, M. (2011). Subtitling Activities for Foreign Language Learning: What Learners and Teachers Think. En Incalcaterra McLoughlin, L., Biscio, M. y Ní Mhainnín, M. Á. (Eds.), Audiovisual Translation: Subtitles and Subtitling. Theory and Practice. New Trends in Translation Studies, 9 (pp. 219-242). Berna/Frankfurt, Suiza, Alemania: Peter Lang.

Talaván, N. (2006). Using subtitles to enhance foreign language education. Porta linguarum, 6, 41-52. Recuperado el 1 de marzo de 2018, de

Talaván, N. (2007). Learning Vocabulary through Authentic Video and Subtitles. TESOL-SPAIN Newsletter 31, 5-8.

Talaván, N. (2010). Subtitling as a Task and Subtitles as Support: Pedagogical Applications. En Díaz Cintas, J., Matamala, A. y Neves, J. (Eds.), New Insights into Audiovisual Translation and Media Accessibility (pp. 285-299). Amsterdam, Holanda: Rodopi.

Talaván, N. (2011). A Quasi-experimental Research Project on Subtitling and Foreign Language Acquisition. En Incalcaterra McLoughlin, L., Biscio, M. y Ní Mhainnín, M. Á. (Eds.), Audiovisual Translation Subtitles and Subtitling. Theory and Practice (pp. 197-217). Berna, Suiza: Peter Lang.

Talaván, N. (2013). La subtitulación en el aprendizaje de lenguas extranjeras. Barcelona: Octaedro.

Talaván, N. y Ávila-Cabrera, J. (2015). First insights into the Combination of Dubbing and Subtitling as L2 didactic tools. En Gambier, Y., Caimi, A. y Mariotti, C. (Eds.), Subtitles and Language Learning (pp.) 149-172. Berna, Suiza: Peter Lang,.

Talaván, N. y Rodríguez-Arancón, P. (2014). The use of reverse subtitling as an online collaborative language learning tool. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 8(1), 84-101. Recuperado el 1 de marzo de 2018, de

Torralba, G. (2016). L'aprenentatge de llengües a través de la traducció audiovisual: la subtitulació com a eina per a l'adquisició de lèxic en llengua estrangera. Tesis doctoral presentada en la Universitat Jaume I de Castellón de la Plana (España).

Vanderplank, R. (1988). The value of teletext sub-titles in language learning. ELT Journal, 4(4), 272-281.

Vermeulen, A. (2003). La traducción audiovisual en la enseñanza de idiomas. Actas del Segundo Congreso Internacional de Español para Fines Específicos, 159-168. Recuperado el 1 de abril de 2018, de

Wagener, D. (2006). Promoting independent learning skills using video on digital language laboratories. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 19(4-5), 279-286.

Williams, H. y Thorne, D. (2000). The value of teletext subtitling as a medium forlanguage learning. System, 28(2), 217-228.

Winke, P. P., Gass, S. y Sydorenko, T. (2010). The effects of captioning video for foreign language listening activities. Language Learning and Technology, 14(1), 65-86.



How to Cite

Torralba-Miralles, G. (2020). The Use of Passive and Active Subtitles in Foreign Language Teaching: A View to their Teaching Potential. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 25(1), 231–250.



Theoretical Articles

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.