ACCESSOR: Accessibility and Audiovisual Translation in the Media and Cultural Sector - Practices, Needs and Innovation

The principle of equality is becoming a priority for many countries in the EU, also integrated in Ursula von der Leyen’s political guidelines for 2019-24: “Too many European citizens feel like they have different opportunities in certain parts of Europe than they do in others. We need use all the tools at our disposal to put this right” (2019: 12). In this context, interest has grown to render audiovisual material and cultural content accessible to as wide an audience as possible. This is also motivated by recent legislative changes such as the European Accessibility Act, desire to implement principles set out in Art.30 and 20 of the UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities, but also the creative, educational and economic potential accessibility brings. However, the quality and quantity of audiovisual translation such as subtitling, and access services such as captioning, audio description or easy language translations across the EU is very uneven, in Central and Eastern Europe often insufficient. This leads to a pressing need, but also an opportunity, to investigate, develop and implement audiovisual translation and accessibility practices in newer contexts by drawing inspiration from good practices already established in contexts with strong tradition, while also capitalizing on their ability to innovate.

ACCESSOR brings together HAITrans, CODHUS - Centre for Corpus Related Digital Approaches to Humanities - at the Romanian West University of Timișoara, University of Nitra in Slovakia, cultural partner Asociaţia Solidart - Teatrul Basca, as well as associations interested in researching and implementing media and cultural sector access services and audiovisual translation. Initial case-studies are from from Romania and Slovakia, countries where access services are largely under-developed and unexplored. ACCESSOR responds to HAITrans (Translation) technology for accessibility (R3) and Translation technology didactics (R4) research areas. It will use methods such as corpus gathering and corpus investigations, questionnaires, case studies, interviews and technology explorations to contribute to:

1. Research 

  • investigate the media and cultural sector accessibility and audiovisual translation practices and needs in specific Central and Easter European countries;
  • gather and develop digital resources such as specialist monolingual and interlingual corpora, terminological resources, case studies and examples of good practice;
  • investigate existing technological resources, training needs and opportunities;

2. Capacity building 

  • contribute to the development of guides for audiovisual translation and access services provision; 
  • develop and/or contribute to specialist training in areas such as subtitling, audio description and captioning; 
  • raise awareness in society at large; 

3. Development 

  • explore technological solutions to support audiovisual translation and access services provision; 
  • contribute to the implementation of audiovisual translation and access services in cultural contexts.

ACCESSOR Initiative 1: EU DGT funded Translating Europe Worshop Series - From Translation to Accessibility: EMT Train the Trainer Summer Schools

In March 2021 a consortium was formed between the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania, Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administração do Porto, Portugal, Università degli studi Internazionali di Roma, Italy, the University of Vienna, Austria and the University of Antwerp, Belgium, all members of the European Master's in Translation (EMT) a network overseen by the the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission.

The purpose of the consortium is to provide a framework withing which Translating Europe Worshops (TEW) could be organsied to share expertise and good practice in audiovisual translation and media accessibility training across Europe, with a main focus on training strategies, curriculum development, tools and technologies integration, respecting the characteristics of both national as well as international requirements of the market. The series of TEW workshops titled From Translation to Accessibility: EMT Train the Trainer Summer Schools, intends to develop the capacity of training institutes in this area in various regions, focusing on current/potential trainers, in order to provide them with an opportunity to gain valuable expertise from all over Europe. Furthermore, the events are also a useful place to share research findings and obtain feedback. The key topics reflect mainly strategic and technological challenges in AVT/media accessibility training and research, but also tips on how to proceed in initiating and introducing practice-oriented training reflecting the most recent developments in the area (e.g. in integration of translation technologies, translation and accessibility in the creative sector, specialised AVT, web and digital content accessibility, etc.).

The project looks to contribute to the ACCESSOR Research and Capacity building objectives.

Project duration: 2021 - 2024

Funding: the organisation of the Translating Europe Worshop is supported by funding from the Directorate-General for Translation representatives in the EU Member States

The first consortium TEW: From Translation to Accessibility, titled Technologies and Practices in AVT and Media Accessibility Training was led by Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, and took place online on June 4th, 2021. A recording of the session is available here

The second consortium TEW: From Translation to Accessibility, titled AVT Workflows and the Role of Automation was led by The Università degli Studi Internazionali di Roma, and took place online on May 24th, 2022. The programme, as well as further details, can be accessed here.

The third consortium TEW: From Translation to Accessibility, titled Translation and Accessibility in the Cultural Sector was led by The University of Vienna, and took place online on February 1st, 2023. The programme, as well as further details, can be accessed here.

For further information about the consortium TEW: From Translation to Accessibility events see the News and Events page of this website.   

ACCESSOR Initiative 2 – International Theatre Festival Collaboration

The Sibiu International Theatre Festival, the third biggest theatre festival in Europe, features work translated from and into a variety of languages including Romanian, English, French, Japanese and German. Most performance translations are presented as surtitles displayed at the top or the side of the stage, and provide access to the festival to thousands of festival goers.

Alina Secară and Dragoş Ciobanu collaborated with the Sibiu Festival Translation Coordinator and, in addition to contributing their know-how on surtitling they also joined the team of translators and contributed translations using English and Romanian. They also shadowed the Festival’s team of translators, interpreters and surtitlers in a unique opportunity to witness authentic translation and surtitling work. The authentic data on theatre translation and surtitling from this large international theatre festival fits with the team’s teaching and research agenda, and will contribute to the chapter “Surtitles in the Theatre and the Opera” by Secară, to appear in the Handbuch zur Audiovisuellen Übersetzung. Arbeitsmittel für Wissenschaft, Studium, Praxis edited by the University of Geneva Prof. Alexander Künzli and the ZTW Prof. Klaus Kaindl.

The project looks to contribute to the ACCESSOR Research, Capacity building and Development objectives.

Project duration: 2022

Sibiu International Theatre Festival Surtitles

Sibiu International Theatre Festival Surtitles