A PhD in Song Translation… by Tim Reus

Frozen_defense Tim ReusOn 8 June 2020, MA Translation graduate Tim Reus defended – via Zoom! – his PhD dissertation “Musical, visual and verbal aspects of animated film song dubbing: Testing the triangle of aspects model on Disney’s Frozen” at University of Jyväskylä in Finland.

To celebrate this occasion, Dr. Reus wrote a post for our Blog! If you’re interested in song translation, dubbing, or Frozen, you can download his dissertation here

“After my Bachelor degree in English, I wasn’t too excited about academic life. Sometimes I thought I’d like to be a professor, but then came some administrative difficulties (which meant that I couldn’t complete my honours programme) and an arduous BA thesis process… When I was finally done, I just wanted to get away from university life. But then my Master’s degree in Translation happened, and here we are, six years after that BA thesis, with a completed PhD dissertation and an academic sword — yes, a sword, because that’s what you get when you do a PhD in Finland! (It’s awesome and I can highly recommend it). So what happened?

117591063_294027048358512_1731373983807999946_n     The PhD Sword…. 


For me, it all came down to support and a sense of community. During my Bachelor’s, I didn’t feel particularly invested, but during my Master’s in Translation at Leiden University I found both. We were a close-knit group of fellow students and friends, most of whom I still talk to even though I’ve been living in Finland for over four years now. And by the time the MA thesis process started, I had found a topic I enjoyed and a supervisor who was also excited about it. With the support of Lettie Dorst, I delved deep into the world of song translation and dubbing, testing how useful various song translation models are to animated musical film song dubbing. In other words: I watched Frozen a lot.


That year reignited my interest in academia to the point of moving to Finland to pursue a PhD. In all honesty, I was also at a low point in my life, with a relationship of eight years just ending, but I’ve heard that that’s not a prerequisite for doing a PhD… So I wrote a PhD proposal, sent it to a Finnish scholar who specialised in theatre translation (which is relatively close to musical film translation, and the field is so niche/new that that relative closeness was close enough), and left the Netherlands in early 2016.

102463433_277179020137185_8036252851585941504_n The university

For me, the PhD process has been inextricably intertwined with my experiences moving abroad. I was figuring out what a PhD was and what I needed to do at the same time as I was finding my way in a new country. In the beginning, I knew nothing. I did some courses, read a lot of books and articles, and tried to arrange my ideas and references and the feedback I received from the research group into something coherent. That was my first year.


After that, I was forced to attend and present at a conference (which was nice, but at a much more immediate level also terrifying) and I started doing actual research. More watching Frozen, analysing songs, adjusting my methodology, and continuing to gather sources to cite. I wrote two articles, one of which is still “under review” by a journal. I have abandoned hope, but may some day revisit it to have it published somewhere else. At the same time, I got to know the country and city I lived in. I walked around, made friends, celebrated Vappu and Juhannus (summery holidays with barbecues, saunas, forest lakes and cottages, for the uninitiated), and in general, found a great new home.

101853032_262925218153319_2685374885315739648_n  Sauna cabin in the woods…

Since then, I’ve attended another conference, given guest lectures, done research so in-depth that it sometimes made me wonder what the point was, started learning Finnish (which I, frustratingly, still don’t speak any better than B1), connected with my peers, supervised BA theses and assessed MA theses, published more articles, moved to another apartment in the same city, applied for and received study grants, met a fantastic girlfriend, and wrote a dissertation. I realise that this sounds a bit braggy, but I’m just proud of what I did. It’s also been hard, often, and I’ve felt uncertain countless times and made countless socio-cultural and academic faux-pas that people had to correct for me.


And I’ve had so much help, too. My supervisors have been great, as has my ex-supervisor who helped me enter this path in the first place. It’s surprising how much just one year of studying can change. During my Master’s, I did a full 180. And I couldn’t be happier that I did — best decision of my life. The only downside is that I, as a 30-year-old man, am now suspiciously excited about anything Frozen…”



Leiden Translation Talk by Hanna Pięta on Indirect translation

Interested in Indirect translation? The Leiden Translation Talks series invites you to join us for our next lecture on Wednesday 24 June 2020 at 15:00 hrs (Amsterdam time). Our invited speaker Hanna Pięta (postdoctoral teaching and research fellow) will talk “About translating translations”.

Join us on this online live session via this link: Please check beforehand that you are able to open the link. No software installation is needed.

Link to recorded session:

About the speaker:

Hanna Pieta_rev

Hanna Pięta is a postdoctoral teaching and research fellow at the University of Lisbon (Portugal). She is head of Research Group on Reception and Translation Studies (at the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies), co-coordinator of the international network of indirect translation researchers (IndirecTrans) and associate editor of Scopus-indexed Anglo Saxonica journal. She is now writing a textbook on how to translate well via a third language (Routledge 2022, with Rita Bueno Maia and Ester Torres-Simón) and she is co-editing What Can Indirect Translation Do for Translation Studies. Special Issue of Target 34 (2022, with Laura Ivaska and Yves Gambier).

MA Translation Live Q&A for prospective students!

Thinking of doing an MA in Translation at Leiden University?

Join our MA Translation Live Q&A!

Are you interested in our 1-year MA in Translation at Leiden University’s Faculty of Humanities? On Tuesday 26 May, from 14:00-14:30 hrs, our lecturers, students and Coordinator of Studies Else van Dijk will host a Live Q&A.

Prior to the Q&A you will receive links to recorded presentations of the specialisations and the thematic routes. During the Live Q&A you will be able to ask all your questions about the programme.

Interested? Please register to join:

The MA Translation in Leiden offers 4 different specialisations in Translation:

  • Legal translationspecialisations MA Translation
  • Medical translation
  • Literary translation
  • Multimodal translation & Subtitling


The programme combines courses on translation research, practice and professional tools.

You will also take a thesis seminar that will guide you through the process of writing an MA thesis in Translation and do an obligatory 10 EC work placement at a company as a translator, editor, terminologist, subtitler or project manager.

staff MA Translation

We are currently exploring opportunities for students to focus on other language combinations than English-Dutch. We particularly welcome students who know Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian or German.

We hope to see you in September 2020!


Leiden Translation Talk by Rita Menezes on Revising subtitles

Interested in Revision of subtitling? The Leiden Translation Talks series invites you to join us for our next lecture on Tuesday 26 May 2020 at 15:00 hrs (Amsterdam time). Our invited speaker Rita Menezes (subtitler, lecturer and PhD student at Lisbon University) will talk about “When it comes to revising subtitles… From practice to theory and back again”.

Join us on this online live session via this link: Please check beforehand that you are able to open the link. No software installation is needed.

You can now watch the recorded session here:

About the speaker:


Rita Menezes is a researcher at University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies, CEAUL/ULICES, and is currently working on her PhD dissertation in Translation Studies, specialisation in Audiovisual Translation.
She has a BA in Translation and Interpretation in 2001 and a MA in Relationship Marketing in 2016. Rita has been a professional translator and reviser specialised in Audiovisual and Marketing; since 2002, she has been working with high profile clients in subtitling, quality control and transcreation. She has also been involved in translator’s training since 2014.
Her main research interests are Subtitling, Revision and Quality Control, Cognition and Creativity.

Leiden Translation Talk – Sonia Vandepitte – Slides

Yesterday we had the pleasure of hosting another Leiden Translation Talk with Sonia Vandepitte (Ghent University) about Quality in Translation. We had 75 participants from all over the world with a strong presence from Portugal and China.

For those interested in the slides of the presentation, you can find them here: Vandepitte TQ whose balance.

In our next Leiden Translation Talk we will discuss revision practices in subtitling with your guest speaker Rita Menezes. We hope to see you there!

Leiden Translation Talk by Sonia Vandepitte on Quality in Translation.

Interested in Quality? The Leiden Translation Talks series invites you to join us for our next lecture on Wednesday 29 April 2020 at 15:00 hrs (Leiden time). Our invited speaker Sonia Vandepitte (Ghent University) will talk about “Translation quality: creating whose balance?”.

Join us on this online live session via this link: Please check beforehand that you are able to open the link. No software installation is needed. 

About the speaker:


Sonia Vandepitte is a full professor at the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication at Ghent University, director of the Master of Translation programme and head of the English section. She teaches English, translation studies, translation into and from Dutch and has experience with coaching student translation companies. Publication topics include metonymic expressions in translation, translation competences, international translation training projects and translation and post-editing processes. She is currently involved in reading and translation processes of translation problem-solving. She is also investigating peer feedback and other collaborative forms of learning in translation training.

Slides Leiden Translation Talk Assis Rosa

Dear all,

First of all a very big thank you once again to prof. Assis Rosa for being willing to present her Leiden Translation Talk via Zoom. It was a first for us in Leiden, and despite a few technical hiccoughs (apologies for the confusion regarding the password!), the session was a great success, with 88 people from all over the world signing in!

Attached to this Blog post you’ll find the slides that were used for the presentation, with permission (please do treat as copyrighted material).

Our next Leiden Translation Talk, by prof. Sonia Vandepitte, will most likely also have to be a virtual rather than a physical talk, so keep an eye on our Blog and Twitter account for updates!

Hoping you all stay safe and in good health, 

The Leiden Translation team

Lettie Dorst, Tony Foster, Susana Valdez and Katinka Zeven


Leiden Translation Talks goes Zoom! Online talk by Alexandra Assis Rosa on Audiovisual Translation and Research.

Dear all,

Now that most of us are confined to our own homes, the Leiden Translation Talks series would like to offer everyone around the world who’s interested in #AVT and #translation the opportunity to join us for our April lecture by Alexandra Assis Rosa on Audiovisual Translation and Research.

Join us on Zoom, on Thursday 2 April 2020 at 16:00 hrs (Leiden time). The lecture will be hosted on Zoom via this link: Please install the free software and join us! (We advise you to test the link before the lecture.)


About the speaker

Assis RosaAlexandra Assis Rosa holds a doctorate and the post-doctoral title of “Agregação” in Translation Studies (University of Lisbon, Portugal). She is tenured Assistant Professor of English Linguistics at the Department of English, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon (FLUL), Portugal. There she teaches Media, Scientific and Technical Translation, English Linguistics and Discourse Analysis at graduate level, as well as Translation Studies, Translation and Text Linguistics, Translation and Applied Linguistics, Audiovisual Translation, and Research Methodologies at post-graduate level.  Since 1997 she is a member of the University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies, and researcher of the Research Group on Reception and Translation Studies. Her main areas of research are Descriptive Translation Studies, English Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, and Discourse Analysis. Within Translation Studies her research focuses mainly on translation norms in both literary and media translation, indirect translation and retranslation. Her publications encompass the translation of forms of address and linguistic variation in literary and audiovisual fiction, censorship in translation, reader profiling, indirect translation and retranslation. She has co-edited Voice in Retranslation. Special Issue of Target 27:1 (John Benjamins, 2015), East and West Encounters: Translation in Time. Special Issue of Journal of World Languages (Routledge, 2016), and Indirect Translation: Theoretical, Terminological and Methodological Issues. Special Issue of Translation Studies (Routledge, 2017).



Leiden Translation Talk: Irene Cenni on Multilingualism 2.0

Please join us for the next Leiden Translation Talk on Wednesday 26 February. Due to a change in our teaching schedules, the talks will be held from 17:15-18:15 hrs from now on. Room: Lipsius building, Cleveringaplaats 1, room 228

On 26 February Irene Cenni will talk about: Multilingualism 2.0: online translation tools and language policies on social media platforms.



At present, the existing 2.0 Web is far more multilingual than was ever anticipated in the early days of the Internet (Hale, 2014; Hale & Eleta, 2017). Indeed, the increasing variety of languages is a phenomenon that signals the end of the first stages of the digital era in which the Internet was characterized by English-language dominance (Leppänen & Peuronen, 2012).

In this talk I will present the emerging topics in multilingual research applied to 2.0 platforms. In particular, I will offer an overview of the language policies, and the related  use of translation tools, adopted by five popular platforms: Wikipedia, Facebook, Instagram, and TripAdvisor.

For most 2.0 platform providers multilingualism constitutes an opportunity (to grow their users’ base) but also a challenge. Typically, these platforms do not opt for an English-only rule, but rather develop linguistic policies and include machine translation in order to accommodate their multilingual users (Cenni & Goethals, 2017). The case of TripAdvisor is particularly striking, not least because it is characterized by the coexistence of two divergent multilingual strategies on the same platform.

Keywords: multilingualism online, 2.0 platforms, language policy, online (machine) translation, user-generated content


Bio note

Irene Cenni is a PhD candidate with teaching mandate at the department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication (Ghent University, Belgium) where she is affiliated to the research group MULTIPLES-Language in Society. Her PhD project focuses on the investigation of pragmalinguistic features of computer-mediated tourism discourse, with close attention paid to hotel reviews (and responses) posted on TripAdvisor. She adopts a cross-linguistic perspective analyzing user-generated content written in Italian, English and Dutch. Her research interests include pragmatics, sociolinguistics, intercultural communication, translation and second language acquisition/teaching. She currently teaches courses on Italian L2, business and intercultural communication and translation at Ghent University both at Bachelor and Master level.