In recent years, Translation Studies as a research area has embraced new emerging fields such as media accessibility, which is one of the priorities of our modern inclusive society. Media accessibility may be defined as “a set of theories, practices, services, technologies and instruments providing access to audiovisual media content for people that cannot, or cannot properly, access that content in its original form” (Greco 2016, p. 11, Szarkowska et al. 2013). It is most frequently understood as making media accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired (through audio description) and to deaf and hard-of-hearing people (through SDH, sign language interpreting, respeaking and other forms of live subtitling). Based on Jakobson’s (1966) tripartite division of interpreting the verbal sign, media accessibility represents all three translation types: interlingual (e.g. interlingual subtitling), intralingual (e.g. SDH, respeaking), and intersemiotic (sign language interpreting), including its reverse form (audio description). Preferably, media accessibility should be accounted for from the very inception of the production process and cater to the needs of as many potential users as possible, in line with the Universal Design paradigm (e.g. Ellis 2016, p. 42).
So far, the focus in the practice of media accessibility (especially regarding audio description and SDH) has been on the quantity of content made available. Now the focus is shifting towards the quality, and in order to provide high-quality media accessibility, appropriate training is needed. This special issue of Linguistica Antverpiensia New Series – Themes in Translation Studies entitled “Media accessibility training” will focus on the issue of training media accessibility experts, including audio describers, respeakers, live subtitlers, SDH authors, accessibility managers and other new professionals who, like “traditional” translators, contribute to making our society fully inclusive.
Media accessibility has been prioritized both on the international level (e.g. the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive) and through numerous national regulations. As broadcasters, theatre directors, event organisers and managers are busy providing or even exceeding their media accessibility quota, audiovisual translation scholars conduct research into the quality of accessible content (e.g. the UMAQ project: Understanding Media Accessibility Quality), the professional profile of audio describers (e.g. the ADLAB PRO project: A Laboratory for the Development of a New Professional Profile), the professional profile of accessibility managers or coordinators (e.g. the ACT project: Accessible Culture and Training) and competences of interlingual live subtitlers (e.g. the ILSA project: Interlingual Live Subtitling for Access). As a result, more research is generated on media accessibility, its quality and training. Providing state-of-the-art training programmes to future respeakers, (live) subtitlers, audio describers and accessibility managers is an important factor in striving to create accessible media content. With so many new research projects and training initiatives, we believe that a special issue of Linguistica Antverpiensia New Series – Themes in Translation Studies devoted to “Media accessibility training” will bring together those at the forefront of such novel and exciting developments. The result will be a volume encompassing cutting edge pedagogical models and best practices in the robustly developing and strongly desirable field of media accessibility. The projects mentioned above and many more left unmentioned are now underway, as scholars are designing curricula, developing and testing training materials. The special issue is to serve as an attractive outlet for scholars and trainers to share their newly developed ideas, methods and materials.
The issue will include papers that combine the constantly evolving field of media accessibility with current pedagogical models that harness modern technology. We welcome contributions from Translation Studies, other domains that deal with media access and interdisciplinary contributions. We would like this special issue to map the current situation regarding media accessibility training both in academic and non-academic contexts, to highlight recent developments and to help authors share their best practices in the area of training media accessibility experts. More specifically, we would like this special issue to include papers devoted (but not limited) to the following aspects of training in media accessibility:
- course content,
- teaching and training methods (such as e-learning, blended learning, MOOCs, flipped classroom, project-based and autonomous learning, etc.) and theoretical models (such as situated learning, the emergentist model, etc.),
- competences and skills, profiles, learning outcomes,
- development of appropriate training materials,
- assessment and certification,
in the following areas of media accessibility:
- audio description (including AD for the screen, live events, museums, educational content, audio introductions, audio-subtitling, etc.),
- subtitling for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and sign language interpreting,
- respeaking and other ways to produce intra- and inter-lingual live subtitling,
- accessible filmmaking, accessible theatre and other forms of universal design.
We would like academics and trainers in the field of media accessibility to share their experiences to date in order to disseminate information about successful training initiatives so that other trainers can benefit from best practices.
Ellis, G. (2016), Impairment and disability: Challenging concepts of ‘normality’. In A. Matamala & P. Orero (Eds.), Researching Audio Description. New Approaches (pp. 35-45). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Greco, G. M. (2016). On Accessibility as a Human Right, with an Application to Media Accessibility. In A. Matamala & P. Orero (Eds.), Researching Audio Description. New Approaches (pp. 11-33). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Jakobson, Roman. (1966). On linguistic aspects of translation. In R. A. Brower (Ed.), On Translation (pp. 232-239). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Szarkowska, A., Krejtz, I., Krejtz, K., & Duchowski, A. (2013). Harnessing the potential of eye-tracking for media accessibility. In S. Grucza, M. Płużyczka, & J. Zając (Eds.), Translation Studies and Eye-Tracking Analysis (pp. 153-183). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Practical information and deadlines
Proposals: abstracts of approximately 500 words, including some relevant bibliography, should be submitted by 1st of June 2018. Please send your proposals to Agnieszka Chmiel (firstname.lastname@example.org), Gert Vercauteren(email@example.com) or Iwona Mazur (firstname.lastname@example.org)s
Acceptance of proposals: 1st of July 2018
Submission of articles: 1st of December 2018
Acceptance of articles: 28th of February 2019
Publication: November-December 2019
Original publication: https://lans-tts.uantwerpen.be/index.php/LANS-TTS/announcement/view/10