Subtitles as a tool to boost language learning? Children’s views and experiences of watching films and television programmes in other languages with interlingual subtitles

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There is growing concern about the steep decline in language learning in the UK over the last 20 years. A simple, inexpensive way to boost children’s learning of other languages in the UK and indeed in other countries could be to increase their exposure to subtitled audiovisual (AV) content in other languages. There is considerable evidence that subtitled AV content can aid children’s acquisition of other languages, enhance their literacy skills, and foster intercultural awareness. However, little attention seems to have been paid thus far to eliciting the opinions and experiences of children themselves of watching subtitled films and television programmes in other languages. This study aims to contribute to filling the gap. A cohort of 17 children aged 8-9 years took part in semi-structured interviews and participatory workshops and shared their views and experiences of viewing AV content in Spanish with interlingual subtitles in English. Although the sample size is small, the findings of this study support the proposal of providing children with greater access to subtitled AV content in other languages, since the children’s responses to the idea were overwhelmingly positive, and many felt that this would help them to learn languages and about other cultures in a fun way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-93
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Audiovisual Translation
Issue number1
Early online date21 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022


  • subtitling
  • language acquisition
  • media literacy
  • children
  • subtitles

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