Audiovisual translation and accessibility (SALIS)
WHAT IS THIS PROJECT ABOUT?
This project was first implemented in SALIS at DCU in 2018/2019. The idea, originally, was to integrate accessibility in the curriculum of foreign language learners and translation trainees and use it as a tool to enhance the students’ communicative awareness as well as boosting a more comprehensive set of skills. This project allows final year students to reflect on their role as mediators and improve communication through tasks involving audiodescription.
Audiodescription is a service used to describe all the contextual elements that a sighted person would normally take for granted -that is, information that a blind or visually impaired person could only experience through the description of the key visual elements.
Audiodescription therefore allows blind or visually impaired people to access the visual images at a theatre plays, television programmes, films, and other artistic forms. Through audiodescription students explore the challenges involved in the use of language to facilitate communication in their L1 and L2.
THE VALUE OF THIS PROJECT
The value of the project is threefold as the trainee translator and language learner: (a) becomes familiar with the difficulties involved in the communication process between different communities; (b) becomes aware of the importance to overcome such obstacles and promote tolerance in communicating in delicate situations; (b) makes an approach to audiodescription quality standards and implements them in an interlingual final task where they audio describe in the L2.
This proposal is distinctive in that learners become reflecting agents, and intra- and interlinguistic mediators. It is transformative as learners become aware of the communicating needs of different communities while generating a pluricultural space which has the potential to translate needs into action in our society and to co-constructing meaning.
This project is also aligned with the DCU strategic plan (2017-2022) as follows:
GOAL 1. Provides a transformative student experience: This project is particularly innovative in that it involves the active participation of the blind community, with whom DCU students interact and look for a common space for communication. This is relevant in Ireland, where audiodescription rates on television are very low (5% in RTÉ1 and RTÉ2) according to BAI (2019). One preliminary hypothesis of this project is that Irish students are probably not sensitised to the importance of audiodescription. Through this task learners will discover the potential of audiovisual translation in our society.
GOAL 6. Develop a global university: The co-participation of DCU and UJI (Spain) on this specific project entails a curricular replication between international partners, strengthening links.
GOAL 7. Nurture creativity and culture across the university: Learners will gain agency through mediating tasks; they engage in socio-cultural activities by (re)creating processes of communication and cooperation between blind and non-blind communities, defusing tensions in communication and ensuring effective solutions through task-based-learning activities. Learners will offer solutions using innovative technological tools which will help them explore the possibilities that arise at the intersections of the creative arts and technological innovation while enhancing their engagement.
GOAL 9. Pursue active engagement with our communities: this project fosters awareness on the blind community’s communicating challenges. The NCBI took active part, which translates into the engagement of DCU students with other communities -in fact, this was the first time many students had direct contact with the blind.
The project also focuses on:
- The Professional Development of All Those Who Teach - Promoting evidence-based, flexible, inclusive professional development for all those who teach, reflecting the contextual needs and drivers within and across higher education institutions.
- Teaching and Learning in a Digital World - Supporting those who learn, teach, and support learning to embrace and harness the potential of digital technologies with the goal of enhancing learning, teaching, and overall digital capability.
THE IMPACT OF THIS PROJECT
The project puts in value frameworks that look at language teaching and learning like the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Companion Volume (2020), Enriching 21st Century Language Education: The CEFR Companion Volume, Examples from Practice (2022) as well as plurilingual skills FREPA: A Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches to Languages and Cultures (2012). The tasks involve the use of multimodal material and digital literacies and it brings into the classroom the latest teaching trends that relate audiovisual translation, accessibility and language teaching and learning as significant resources in an increasingly sustainable teaching environment.
The preliminary results of the project and the pedagogical intervention were published by the Council of Europe in the volume Enriching 21st Century Language Education: The CEFR Companion Volume, Examples from Practice (2022) and presented in the 2019 Pluritav International Conference - Multilingualism, Translation and Language Teaching, organised by experts in audiovisual translation and language teaching and learning at the University of Valencia.
The newly redesigned tasks provided a new set of values and such findings will be published in 2022 and the project will be presented at the 1st International Conference on Didactic Audiovisual Translation and Media Accessibility (TRADIT 23).
Two publications on the project will follow.
The newly designed content can possibly be replicated in other DCU modules or other universities across Ireland.
Collaboration between SALIS in DCU and the NCBI (initiated in this project) will hopefully become a regular partnership which could contribute to advances in translation, (foreign) languages, education and accessibility, and also the field of the information of audiovisual and transmedia formats in the space of digital multicasting (eg. Broadcast Authority of Ireland).
WHO ARE THE RESEARCHERS BEHIND THIS PROJECT?
Dr Lucía Pintado Gutiérrez is an Assistant Professor at the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies in Dublin City University. She holds a European PhD on Translation in Language Education from the University of Valladolid (Spain) where she completed a BA in Translation and Interpreting, and an MPhil in Translation and Intercultural Communication.
Lucía's research background lies in translation and language teaching, focusing on the principles on how translation may be used as a tool in the foreign language classroom and also how it may be developed as a skill in the benefit of FL learners. Her interdisciplinary research is carried out through a framework of Translation Studies, Applied Linguistics and Cognitive Studies.
Her research also includes the nexus between translation and memory studies, focusing particularly on cultural artefacts during the Spanish Civil War, Franco's dictatorship and afterwards within literary translation.
Her research activity includes publications in top journals on these topics.
Dr Gloria Torralba is an Associate Professor at the Department of Pedagogy and Didactics of Social Sciences, Language and Literature in Universitat Jaume I (Castelló de la Plana, Spain), where she teaches Language and Literature Didactics. She holds a PhD on Audiovisual Translation as a tool for language acquisition.
In her research, there has been an evolution from the study of the audiovisual translator’s sociological profile to the role of audiovisual translation as a didactic tool. This multidisciplinarity is reflected in her main research interests, which include Language Acquisition, the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to language learning and improvement, and Audiovisual Translation. She is a member of the research groups TRAMA (Translation and Communication in Audiovisual Media) and GIEL (Language Teaching Research Group).
She has taught Audiovisual Translation at post-graduate level at the Universitat Jaume I, and at the universities of Valencia, Málaga, Las Palmas and Leipzig.
For over 15 years, she combined her teaching and research career with her job as a freelance translator for several TV channels and production companies. She has been part of television and research projects designed to promote multilingual learning among children.