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Juan Martínez Pérez

Since 1983, SWISS TXT - a subsidiary of the Swiss public broadcasting corporation (SRG SSR idée suisse) - has been providing subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing in three of Switzerland's national languages: French, German and Italian. Speech-recognition software has been used since 2008 to subtitle live television programmes in French, German and Italian. Two issues are at stake when subtitling: (1) how to subtitle real live events such as football games, chat shows, parliamentary debates and correspondents' reports, and (2) how deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers can follow the broadcasting of these events on television. The answers to both questions lie in live subtitles. Throughout the implementation and development of live subtitling, the aim has been to improve the service. This contribution describes the challenges posed by speech-recognition systems and the technology and techniques that - in collaboration with WDR Videotext and the engineers from FAB - have been developed at SWISS TXT. It focuses on ways to improve transmission speed and achieve an optimum display mode of respoken subtitles.


Iwona Mazur and Agnieszka Chmiel

The issue of interpretation in audio description (AD) continues to divide both AD practitioners and researchers. In this contribution, we look at interpretation from the point of view of narratological behaviour of sighted viewers. To this end, we analyse data from twelve languages collected in the Pear Tree Project - a research project in which sighted viewers were asked to watch a short film and subsequently recount what they saw. Linking our findings to AD, we find in our analysis that sighted viewers interpret visual events but they avoid extremely subjective interpretations or interpretations in which they pass moral judgments. Thus, we propose that instead of applying the binary opposition of objective versus subjective, we should be using an objectivity- subjectivity scale, which can help determine which interpretive descriptions are less subjective and can consequently be used in AD without running the risk of being patronising or spoon-feeding the sense to the visually impaired.


Dominique Bairstow and Jean-Marc Lavaur

This contribution explores the effects of language fluency and different types of subtitles (intralingual and interlingual) on film comprehension. In a first experiment, we examine the role of interlingual subtitles in two experimental conditions (with and without French subtitles). In this experiment, comprehension is assessed by a test just after viewing the sequence (images, dialogues and understanding of the situation). The results show facilitating effects of subtitling for the monolinguals and inhibitory effects for bilinguals. In a second experiment, the participants are divided into three groups depending on their knowledge of the oral language of the film (English). Subsequently, the participants are shown three versions of the sequence (non-subtitled, with English (intralingual) or French (interlingual) subtitles). The results indicate an interaction of both experimental factors. This implies an overall facilitating effect of subtitles for the beginner group (particularly when the subtitles are presented in the participants' first language), which is in contrast with a distracting effect for the advanced group (more so when both known languages are on-screen). A third study seeks to evaluate the opportunities that these different types of subtitles may provide in foreign language acquisition or consolidation.


Maria Pavesi

Address modes such as vocatives and second-person pronouns express social roles and interpersonal relationships while their shift indexes mutations in interactants' attitudes or status. Film provides a challenging context for the translation of these socio-pragmatic features since audiovisual dialogue is supposed to imitate spontaneous interaction while at the same time creating characters' identities and advancing narration. With reference to a selection of contemporary American and British films dubbed into Italian, this contribution focuses on the specific issue of transitions from formal to informal address in the target texts. English and Italian differ markedly in this respect, with the tu-Lei pronominal contrast in Italian forcibly making explicit what may be left implicit or undefined in English. It is shown that, far from simply deriving from linguistic features of the source text or conventions of the target community, the address strategies in translated texts may be motivated by attitudinal and diegetic changes expressed contextually and paralinguistically in the original audiovisual texts. Hence, pronoun shifts are shown to code a change in characters' mutual positioning linguistically, and to anticipate or amplify the emotional intensity of key narrative moments. However, they can also result from dubbing translators' creative interpretation of the developing action and interpersonal dynamics.


Nazaret Fresno

One of the most challenging aspects of audiovisual translation (AVT) is to make audiovisual media accessible to all. In achieving this aim, audio description (AD) plays an essential role, and comprehensive research in this area should be carried out. Currently, most AD research focuses largely on relevance, that is, the question that deals with what should be featured in the audio description. However, there are other important aspects still to be covered. This contribution presents a cognitive approach to the AD of fictional characters in films. In order to shed some light on the way in which we understand characters, the results of a simple empirical experiment based on viewers' recall will be presented. Finally, the possibility of applying such a perspective to AD will be discussed.


Veronica Bonsignori, Silvia Bruti and Silvia Masi

Greetings, leave-takings and good wishes are usually regarded as variously 'complex' expressions because of the array of socio-pragmatic meanings that are associated with them (cf. Coulmas 1979) and consequently represent an area of potential difficulty in translation. The present work builds on the premises of previous research (Bonsignori, Bruti & Masi 2011) and describes translating trends for greetings and leave-takings in film language and in translation. Relevant issues in translating trends especially concern the asymmetry of 'good forms', the coherence of register across turns and between characters, along with peculiar choices pertaining to idiolect and connoted slang varieties. Leave-takings, in particular, include 'formulae' with different degrees of 'fixity' as well as a vast range of expressions of phatic communion, which are here distinguished into two subsets. The present analysis is based on a corpus of fifteen recent films, where language varies diatopically, diachronically and diastratically. A pilot reference corpus containing five original Italian films is exploited to investigate the phenomena at issue in original (i.e. not translated) Italian film dialogue.


Carmen Mangiron

Over the course of the last four decades video games have become a world-wide entertainment phenomenon. One of the keys to the success of this multibillion-dollar industry lies in video game developers' drive to reach as many gamers as possible by designing games of universal appeal and localising them into different languages. However, in their race to make games as universal as possible, developers are leaving behind an important segment of the market: people with disabilities. Naturally, people with visual, auditory, cognitive and physical disabilities also enjoy playing games because of the fun and entertainment that such games provide. In addition, games can contribute to improving the quality of life of people with disabilties and to increasing their sense of inclusion. This contribution explores the current issues associated with games accessibility and explores new paths towards a design for all that strive to include rather than exclude gamers with disabilities, truly providing fun for all.


Minako O'Hagan

Addressing the overarching question of 'quality made to measure' in the context of audiovisual translation (AVT), this contribution turns the attention to the emerging model of crowdsourcing (Howe 2006, 2008) applied to translation where the members of the undefined 'crowd' act as volunteer translators. Advancing Internet technology has ushered in the second generation Internet age of Web 2.0, promoting user participation through large-scale online collaboration and social networking. Ranging from the fan translation of popular culture domains to the user translation of Facebook, translation has become an illustrative example of participatory culture (Jenkins 2006). Taking the case of's Open Translation Project, where video clips of high-profile speakers are subtitled by volunteers, this contribution explores implications for AVT of this newly emerging model, with a focus on the issue of quality. The findings indicate that organisers of crowdsourced translation indeed implement quality control measures. However, these are not motivated by the same set of principles that apply to traditional translation-quality measures, but privilege online collaboration and the wisdom of the crowd. Framing the general trend of user empowerment and user-based translation in the concept of abusive subtitling (Nornes 1999), this contribution points to the evidence of subtitles as "vulnerable translation" (Diaz Cintas & Remael 2007). The contribution highlights the increasing need for adaptability of the AVT community of practitioners and researchers facing dynamically changing digital environments, while calling for more dialogue between the AVT community and crowdsourcing organisers.