Subtitles in virtual reality: Guidelines for the integration of subtitles in 360º content

Keywords: subtitles, virtual reality, immersive media, 360º content, hearing impairment, subtitling strategies


Immersive content has become a popular medium for storytelling. This type of content is typically accessed via a head-mounted visual display within which the viewer is located at the center of the action with the freedom to look around and explore the scene. The criteria for subtitle position for immersive media still need to be defined. Guiding mechanisms are necessary for circumstances in which the speakers are not visible and viewers, lacking an audio cue, require visual information to guide them through the virtual scene. The aim of this reception study is to compare different subtitling strategies: always-visible position to fixed-position and arrows to radar. To do this, feedback on preferences, immersion (using the ipq questionnaire) and head movements was gathered from 40 participants (20 hearing and 20 hard of hearing). Results show that always-visible subtitles with arrows are the preferred option. Always-visible and arrows achieved higher scores in the ipq questionnaire than fixed-position and radar. Head-movement patterns show that participants move more freely when the subtitles are always-visible than when they are in a fixed position, meaning that with always-visible subtitles the experience is more realistic, because the viewers do not feel constrained by the implementation of subtitles.

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Author Biographies

Belén Agulló, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Ph. D. in Translation and Intercultural Studies, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. eLearning Director and Lead Media Researcher, Nimdzi Insights, Spain.

Anna Matamala, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Ph. D. in Applied Linguistics, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain. Associate professor, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain


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How to Cite
Agulló, B., & Matamala, A. (2020). Subtitles in virtual reality: Guidelines for the integration of subtitles in 360º content. Íkala, 25(3), 643-661.
Empirical Studies