The Role of Text-Type and Genre in the Analysis of Subtitles: Towards Measuring How Green the Media Are

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Pilar Orero
Alexander Shvets


The United Nations agency UNESCO issued in 2009 the Paris Declaration on Broadcast Media and Climate Change: A Public Service Remit where the role of communication was underlined as vital in informing and educating the public about the realities of climate change and the costs of inaction. Citizens are informed of the environmental crisis through media channels. By integrating the topic of sustainability into all television programming, from children’s programmes to reality TV shows, we can elevate this once-peripheral issue to a prominent position in the public consciousness.

Understanding, measuring, and effectively reporting the degree to which the topic of sustainability is featured in broadcast media is challenging (McDonagh and Orero forthcoming). While some analyses and methodologies exist, these can be difficult to implement and time-consuming. Currently, there are no automatic tools to measure large language-based broadcast corpus data. Some companies have developed their own private methodology. Seeking to remedy this critical oversight, the goal of this paper is to propose the use of subtitles as a tool and explain the singularity of subtitles as a text type. At present subtitles are already used to mine information, which is the second part of the article. As a text type, subtitles features need to be taken into consideration. The final part defines the objective of our research: to use subtitles as a metric to measure the frequency, topic coverage, and accessibility of sustainability-related content in television. By drawing on subtitling data, we can measure the degree to which sustainability is discussed and presented in the wider broadcast mediascape. These data are expected to be instrumental in drafting reports, guidelines, and recommendations on sustainability for broadcasting in the region with the possibility of influencing national and international policy. By using subtitles as measurable raw data to develop metrics to gauge the quantity of sustainability-related content in broadcast television, we can better understand how climate change is currently covered. Armed with this knowledge, we can develop strategies and benchmarks to promote sustainability as a concept and contribute towards Net Zero targets.

Article Details

How to Cite
Orero, P., and A. Shvets. “The Role of Text-Type and Genre in the Analysis of Subtitles: Towards Measuring How Green the Media Are”. Linguaculture, vol. 14, no. 2, Dec. 2023, pp. 209-25, doi:10.47743/lincu-2023-2-0323.
Specialised Genres in Translation
Author Biographies

Pilar Orero, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Pilar ORERO, PhD (UMIST, UK), works at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain) in the TransMedia Catalonia Lab. She has written and edited many books, near 100 academic papers and almost the same number of book chapters – all on Media Accessibility. Leader and participant on numerous EU funded research projects focusing on media accessibility. She works in standardisation and participates in the UN ITU IRG-AVA - Intersector Rapporteur Group Audiovisual Media Accessibility, ISO, SAGA, and ANEC. She has been working on Immersive Accessibility for the past 4 years first in a project called ImAc, which results are now further developed in TRACTION, MEDIAVERSE, MILE, and has just started to work on green accessibility in GREENSCENT. She led until December 2022 the EU network LEADME on Media Accessibility. She is the Co-Chair of Study Group on Accessibility and Inclusion in the ITU Metaverse Focus Group.

Alexander Shvets, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Dr. Alexander SHVETS is a Lead Researcher at the Natural Language Processing Group (TALN) at UPF. He earned his Diploma in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from the Siberian Federal University and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Russian Academy of Sciences. His research interests lie in the areas of multilingual content extraction, with application to text understanding, natural language generation, and dialogue management. His recent papers include studies on computational lexicography and hate speech analysis. In the past thirteen years, Dr. Shvets has been actively participating in various European and national research projects in dialogue management, opinion-driven design, disaster management, and scientometrics, being the UPF team coordinator in several of them.


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