Who we are

The Untertitelforum – AVÜ e.V. is an organisation launched by audiovisual translators based in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, working into and out of a variety of languages. Initially an initiative, founded in May 2011, it has gone from strength to strength and in November 2016 it has turned into an association. It is also a member of AudioVisual Translators Europe (AVTE).

Unlike dubbing or text translation, subtitles are viewed with the original language, making subtitling the most visible form of translation. At the same time, the goal of professional subtitlers is to make their subtitles as invisible as possible. To achieve this they must:

  • cue the in and out-times of the subtitles (decide when they appear and disappear) with extreme precision, carefully positioning them around the shot changes of each scene
  • translate and condense dialogue while retaining the essence of the original
  • transfer the culture of one language into another
  • convey speech register and linguistic idiosyncrasies while taking into account time and space constraints

The catch: this should all cost as little as possible. This mindset has caused prices to plummet over the last ten years, sometimes by as much as 50 percent. It’s hardly surprising then that many experienced subtitlers have thrown in the towel and the quality of subtitles has suffered over the years.

The founding members of the Untertitelforum – AVÜ e.V. are not only united by a passion for their profession, but also by the poor working conditions they face on a daily basis. However, instead of just sitting around and moaning about the situation, they decided to form an interest group. This website is the first step of a long-term campaign to promote high-quality subtitling and fair working conditions and features texts written by various members of the initiative.

Untertitelforum members also organize regular get-togethers in Berlin, Leipzig and the Rhineland. Anyone interested in learning more about subtitling and our initiative is welcome to come along. Join our mailing list to find out when and where.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Untertitelforum!

For more information in English on subtitling, go to the website of SUBTLE, a UK-based organisation formed by professional subtitlers to promote high-quality subtitling: www.subtitlers.org.uk.