The project Subtitling in Action: Pragmatic Processes of Intersemiotic Translation offers a new pragmatic perspective onto processes and products of subtitling. Its central foci are the role of English in making televised Korean dramas accessible to a global audience; the changing paradigms of subtitle production and reception towards more participatory and collaborative practices; the dynamic participation structures of translated artefacts and their effects on cross-cultural communication. While the project draws on research in translation, it is grounded in English linguistics, the pragmatics of fiction and computer-mediated communication. Our aim is to bring linguistic questions about language in use to this research interface.

Principal investigators:

Miriam A. Locher

Thomas Messerli


Student interns:

Carmelo Cudemo, Giogia Egloff, Vera Geitz, Luca Lavina, Clara Vuille-dit-Bille


Further coder:

Andrea Wüst



Messerli, Thomas C., & Locher, Miriam A. (2019). ‘Lol while you watch’  How participatory viewers do humour in comments on Korean TV drama. Paper presented at the International Pragmatics Association, Hong Kong.


Locher, Miriam A. (2018). Moments of relational work in English fan translations of Korean tv drama: “Okay, unni. (Unni = sign of respect or ‘older sister’ from a girl”. Paper presented at the Symposium of Politeness, Valencia, Spain.

Locher, Miriam A. (2019). The pragmatics of fiction: From the challenges of politeness translations to the negotiation of culture in viewer comments on K-drama. Paper presented at the Invited lecture, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea.

Locher, Miriam A. (2019). The pragmatics of fiction: Making Korean TV drama accessible to an international audience. Paper presented at the Semiosis Lecture Series, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea.

Locher, Miriam A. (2019). Weaving voices in online communal TV watching of K-drama: English as a lingua franca, relational work and identity construction. Paper presented at the i-mean, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. (plenary)

Locher, Miriam A. (2019). Viewer meta-comments on relational work in Korean tv drama. Paper presented at the Symposium of Politeness, Cambridge, UK.

Locher, Miriam A., & Messerli, Thomas C. (2018). Participatory watching of telecinematic fiction in an international drama viewing platform. Paper presented at the VALS-ASLA: A Video Turn in Linguistics? Methodologie – Analisi – Applications, Basel, Switzerland.

Locher, Miriam A., & Messerli, Thomas C. (2018). Relational work and participation structures in interlingual subtitling from the perspective of pragmatics of fiction. Paper presented at the Georgetown University Roundtable in Linguistics, Washington, D.C., USA.




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