Zoë Pettit

Professor Zoë Pettit BA Hons, Maîtrise, DEA, PhD, PGCE (PCET), MCIL, SFHEA

Deputy Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Professor of French and Translation Studies

Key details

Professor Zoë C Pettit

Deputy Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Professor of French and Translation Studies


Professor Zoë Pettit is Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Greenwich. Previous senior roles at the University include, Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (2018-2021), Head of the Department of Literature, Language and Theatre (2014-2018) and Director of Learning and Quality of the School of Law, Humanities and Social Sciences (2009-2014).

After an International Baccalaureate from Waterford Kamhlaba, United World College of Southern Africa in Swaziland, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and French at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. This was followed by an Honours degree in French, and thereafter, postgraduate studies in France at Paul Valéry University, Montpellier III, where she first developed an appreciation of literary translation while researching French-English translations of Flaubert’s 19th century novel, Madame Bovary. This led to a Doctorat d’Etudes Anglo-américaines (PhD) on audiovisual translation, specialising in the interlingual subtitling and dubbing of different audiovisual genres (film, television series and documentary). At the time, audiovisual translation was a growing but relatively new area of enquiry. It has expanded exponentially to become an established and recognised area of Translation Studies. Professor Pettit has been part of this journey from the mid-1990s onwards.

More recently she has been working on the subtitling and dubbing of multilingual films and television series, with an ongoing interest in multimodality, and the role of both verbal and non-verbal elements in the meaning making process. Interdisciplinarity is an important feature of her approach which aligns with Professor Pettit’s strong belief, more generally, in the value of the links that exist between disciplines in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, helping us always to understand and engage better with our world and each other. Her love of language(s), French, translation, literature and film is rooted in the fact that all enable access to different, and diverse, stories and worlds, widening horizons and connecting people in valuable ways.


Membership of professional associations

  • MCIL, Member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists
  • Member of ESIST, European Association for Studies in Screen Translation
  • Member of EST, European Society for Translation Studies

External examiner

  • University of Leeds, MA Audiovisual Translation Studies (2011-12 - 2015-16)
  • London Metropolitan University, BA Applied Translation, MA Applied Translation and MA Interpreting, (2008-09 to 2011-12)

Ad hoc reviewer for the following journals

  • Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, Taylor and Francis
  • Parallèles, University of Geneva
  • Journal of Audiovisual Translation

Research / Scholarly interests

  • Audiovisual Translation
  • Interlingual Subtitling and Dubbing
  • Multimodality
  • Verbal and Non-verbal Communication
  • Translation Studies

Dr Pettit carries out research within the rapidly expanding discipline of audiovisual translation, a recognised field of enquiry within Translation Studies. Her research focuses on the dynamics of translating the multimodal audiovisual text, with reference to interlingual English/French subtitling and dubbing. More recently, her focus has shifted to South African film, investigating features such as code-switching and the translation of multilingual films. Whilst she often focuses on linguistic elements of the chosen translations, the multimodal context is emphasised throughout. She has published in international and peer-reviewed Translation Studies journals (Meta; JosTrans; Perspectives: Studies in Translatology) and specialist publications on audiovisual translation (Traducto; Topics in Translation/Multilingual Matters). She has also presented papers at international conferences on audiovisual translation. Her work intends to foster an appreciation of the way in which the audiovisual elements interact with translated items in a multimodal context. The aim is to generate a better understanding of translation processes which in turn will enhance quality and accessibility to audiovisual products and by extension, improve the target viewer's experience.

Invited Research Seminars:

2012 Imperial College London (Centre for Co-Curricular Studies): "Audiovisual Translation and Multilingual Films: A South African Perspective".

2011 Aston University (Languages and Translation Studies/Institute for the Study of Language and Society): "Audiovisual translation: subtitling and dubbing a multimodal text".

Recent publications

Book section

Pettit, Zoë and , (2019), Translating multilingual films in a South African context. Bloomsbury Academic. In: , , In: Dror Abend-David (ed.), Representing Translation: The Representation of Translation and Translators in Contemporary Media. Bloomsbury Academic, New York (1st) . pp. 152-178 . ISBN: 9781501333873 (doi: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/representing-translation-9781501333873/) NB Item availability restricted.