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Volume 3, Issue 2, 2007

This issue looks at Media Accessibility and Audiovisual Translation with a special focus on Spain.


Media Accessibility: Issues and Standards of Audio Visual Translation in Spain and Beyond
Hassan Mustapha
Alhosn University

The impact of Spanish Language in Southern Europe has enriched literature not just in that corner of the world but extended to the World Wide Web. Spanish competes with French, German and English as a language of communication and education. Overseas demand for learning the language for cultural and applied purposes is overtaking the availability of qualified teachers, translators and interpreters. Witness in this respect the contributions being made by the Cervantes Institute both in Spain itself and abroad.

Given the rich complexity of current day Spanish with all the depth of its history, this volume takes a wise course of action by focusing mainly on vital communication areas of Media Accessibility and Audiovisual Translation.

Away from Spain but staying with the media thread and in a part of the world with strong historical links with the country, this volume turns its attention to digital developments in the media and the current screen oriented Arab “society characterized by its young population” with a wide ranging interest in “infotainment” and a growing use of digital sources, at the expense of printed media, as well as primary fixed line or mobile telephones and gradually, radio broadcasts....

Research on Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: TOP SECRET?
Verónica Arnáiz
Universidad de Valladolid

Research on Audiovisual Translation has lately enjoyed a boom in academia due to the great increase in the market of multimedia products and technological advances. In many countries such as Spain, where dubbing has traditionally been the official translation technique, subtitling, a minor and socially marked discipline, is claiming its place. The increasing social awareness for universal accessibility has given rise to a specific subtitling practice for those with hearing problems: the Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDHH). This discipline, first practised in Spain in the early 1990s, has scarcely been studied and, thus, its research is in its infancy. The practice is not easy to classify given the lack of a theoretical framework which leads us to a vastly heterogeneous output. This paper provides a brief overview of the practice in Spain and explains the difficulties encountered when tackling research. The outcome is an attempt to map the situation in Spain which ironically comes to the conclusion that a discipline purporting to promote accessibility has in fact become a ‘restricted area’ of study: A Top Secret.

Teaching Proposals for the Unit “Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing” within the Subject Audiovisual Translation (English>Spanish)
Ana Pereira and Lourdes Lorenzo
Universidade de Vigo

The teaching of translation, an activity that positions itself mainly in the sphere of praxis, must be carried out through a combination of theory, phenomenological description, professional case studies and critical analyses of actual translations and translation processes (Hurtado, 1999; Bartrina, 2001; Gentzler, 2003; Kelly, 2005). Bearing this educational framework in mind, and following the line of previous work (Lorenzo and Pereira, in press), our intention is to suggest different teaching approaches for the unit “Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing” (SDH), included in the subject Audiovisual Translation (English>Spanish) taught as part of the Translation and Interpreting Degree offered by the Universidade de Vigo (Spain). Since this unit has only recently been added to the audiovisual translation syllabus in Spanish universities, we believe this can be useful as a springboard for new activities. We will begin by locating the SDH unit within the subject and within the curriculum, and we will then set out the unit’s specific objectives and contents. To conclude, we will describe the teaching methods applied, and we will provide examples of those tasks we consider most appropriate in order for students to acquire a basic knowledge of SDH.

Audio Description in Catalonia
Anna Matamala
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

When talking about audio description (AD), one normally thinks about the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany as three of the most active countries, being English and German the languages used. However, Spain —and Catalonia in particular— should not be underestimated since AD is gaining momentum and more and more projects —both professional and academic— are being carried out. This article aims to review the state of the art of AD in Catalonia, and more specifically the state of the art of AD in Catalan, in order to give it the place it deserves in the international arena.

Audio Description Precursors: Ekphrasis and Narrators
Joaquim Pujol and Pilar Orero
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

This article looks at two audio description techniques widely used since the beginning of television. While it is true that research in the field has just started, with no PhD to date, we believe we should take into consideration the many studies and range of experience which already exist, since this may shed some light on the topic and broaden the insight of new research. We believe that much can be learned and put into good use from those observations made by classical scholars instead of developing a new terminology and inventing new parameters for what seems to be considered a new practice.

Media Accessibility Standards in Spain
José Luis Fuertes and Loïc Martínez
School of Computer Science
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Standards play an important role in the goal of universal usability: they can specify accessibility requirements for products and services and they are essential for legislation, public procurement and education. This paper presents current media accessibility-related standardization activities in Spain, developed by AENOR. Specifically, these are the standards for teletext subtitling in television (UNE 153010:2003), audio description (UNE 153020:2005), sign language in computing networks (PNE 139804) and web content accessibility (UNE 139803:2004). The paper concludes with a description of future work for these four standards.

Audiovisual Translation in the Arab World: A Changing Scene
Muhammad Y Gamal
University of New South Wales

The digital revolution of the 1990s has changed the way people see and seek information and education. Today in the Arab world, many people resort to screens to get their information, to do their business and to seek entertainment. This paper examines the changing scene where Arabic is being adapted to the digital applications of the new era of multimedia, online sites of major newspapers, satellite channels and DVDs. It highlights the significance of the audiovisual culture in a society characterized by its young population.

The Translator as Editor: Subtitle Translations for Chinese Films
Leong Ko
The University of Queensland

Much has been said about the features and constraints and guidelines for film subtitle translation. It is commonly acknowledged that subtitle translations are influenced by factors such as time, space on the screen, and speed of dialogue. Some research in this field has therefore suggested that film subtitling is really a combination of translation and interpreting, or more interpreting than translation (or even sight translation), as it is claimed that some subtitle translations bear more similarity to interpreting methods than to translation. However, in practice, the subtitle translator works with retrievable material, be it written scripts in print, subtitles on the screen or movie dialogue. The translator has plenty of time and opportunity to retrieve such material in the source language in order to change, modify, correct and polish the translation. This situation is therefore completely different from interpreting, where the interpreter has essentially only one immediate chance to deliver an interpretation of the speaker’s words. The research presented in this article looks into the practice of subtitling for Chinese films as well as the practices of a Chinese film distributor in Australia in dealing with subtitle translation before screening Chinese films. The result of the research suggests that film subtitling exhibits the characteristics of editing. This editing role is played by the translator or the film distributor.

Book Review
Gary D. Robson's The Closed Captioning Handbook
Ali Darwish
Central Queensland University

Several research papers and a handful of books have been published on media accessibility in the last three decades, but perhaps none since Robert G. Baker’s groundbreaking publication Handbook for Television Subtitlers (1984) rises to The Closed Captioning Handbook in quality, variety, detail and above all recency. As the world moves towards open multimedia systems, increased global connectivity and real-time interactivity, new issues of accessibility arise which leave both seasoned specialists and beginners puzzled by the pace of technological advances and the complexity of human needs for accessible media. Old technologies are quickly being phased out and new readily available and easy to use software is enabling specialists and amateurs alike to provide captions and subtitles in both monolingual and bilingual environments. Looking for answers, one should not go farther than the present publication. A handbook indeed—rather a treasure box that contains a wealth of information about various aspects of closed captioning.


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