Research team

Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies (TricS)

Expertise

I am a researcher and trainer in the domain of Audiovisual Translation, with a specific interest in Media Accessibility. While Audio Description for the blind and visually impaired constitutes my specific research area, I have built expertise in a broad range of topics within the domain of accessibility. Moreover, I aim to approach my research topics from an inclusive perspective keeping the principles of Universal Design and Interdisciplinarity in mind. Current research interests include: linguistic and multimodal aspects of audio description, computer-aided translation of audio description; integrated acces for the (scenic) arts; technology for acces and the study of translations as complex, emerging phenomena. A close collaboration with stakeholders is a key factor in my research and teaching activities. Through our OPEN Expertise Centre for Accessible Media and Culture, we aim to bridge the gap between academia and the work field and play an active role in the realisation of an inclusive society.

Towards an inclusive Covid-19 crisis communication policy in Belgium: the development and validation of strategies for multilingual and media accessible crisis communication 01/02/2021 - 31/03/2022

Abstract

The interdisciplinary project subsidized by Sciensano aims to develop an effective strategy for more inclusive (digital) crisis communication, which takes account of the socio-linguistic diversity of Belgium and actively battles information inequality. The focus lies on how government communication about Covid-19 information during the pandemic can be improved through bespoke (re)translations and accessible media and language tailored to linguistic minorities' needs and specific needs groups. These needs include the information's linguistic/multimodal form, the communicative channels and dissemination measures.

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Towards a greater accessibility of audiovisual media: exploring machine translation for audio description from English into Dutch. 01/05/2020 - 30/04/2024

Abstract

A key concern within Translation Studies is the profound impact of technological developments on the dynamic human-machine interactions. In this respect, the introduction of neural machine translation systems has had a profound influence on the study and practice of translation. The role of technology is particularly outspoken in the area of focus of the present project, namely Audio Description (AD). AD is an access service that translates images into words, which are inserted in between the music, sound and dialogue of the original audiovisual source text so that audiences who (cannot) see, still have access to the text's content. Despite technology being key in AD research and practice, machine translation for audio description has not been studied yet. Due to recent EU legislation, however, Flemish audiovisual content providers will have to drastically increase the amount of AD that they provide. The translation of existing English descriptions of foreign films and series into Dutch with the use of machine translation systems is an obvious avenue to be explored to meet these new legislative demands. However, limited preliminary research suggests that current machine translation systems do not generate an acceptable quality level for AD, because these systems have not been developed to meet the specific exigencies of this text type. ADs pose domain-specific translation challenges. It is a multimodal and intersemiotic type of translation and constitutes a unique transfer of information between semiotically distinct modes of communication; a fact that has not been taken into account in current research and a fact that poses methodological challenges given the lack of translation studies frameworks to study technology for multimodal text types such as AD. Against this background, the current project aims to explore machine-assisted translation for AD and the exigencies of audio description versus the possibilities of technology and human input, following three research objectives: • Applied objective: to explore the effectiveness and efficiency of machine translation for audio description into Dutch. • Strategic objective: to explore what innovative optimizations could improve the quality level of machine translation for audio description. • Fundamental objective: contribute to the discussion about the interdisciplinary and methodological challenges related to the study of technology and its interaction with humans in Translation Studies more generally, and for multimodal texts specifically. The project is a mixed-methods study, combining human-centered approaches and automatic evaluation methods with product as well as process-oriented research. It includes the human and machine evaluation of a corpus of translated audio descriptions, as well as an experiment with professional audio describers. This will allow us to gather data about the types of errors in the machine translation output, the number of errors made, the number and types of corrections made by professional describers and the time spent on correcting machine translation output. The text analysis and experiment will be supported by a thorough, interdisciplinary literature study, setting our findings off against current insights in literature and against the newest developments in machine translation research. The project constitutes a first step to gather fundamental knowledge regarding the study of technology for multimodal text types and strategic knowledge to start developing machine translation for audio description more systematically.

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Consultancy and online workshop on subtitling. 14/09/2020 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

What will you learn in this workshop? This practical workshop will focus on learning and practicing the basics of subtitling, from a foreign language (practice material will be in English and French) to Dutch. Specifically, the workshop will focus on translating subtitles on the basis of a template, with a focus on feature films on the one hand (in preparation for the LUX Prize) and informative films on the other hand. Who are the trainers? The OPEN Expertise Centre for Accessible Media and Culture will provide practical and administrative support for the workshop. The workshop will be given by Nina Reviers, and Sabien Hanoulle, with the cooperation of Gert Vercauteren. Who is the workshop for? This workshop is aimed specifically at the translation team within the Directorate of Citizen's language, which focuses on subtitling. It concerns both the principal subtitlers within this service and translators from the translation service who assist them in their assignments.

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Audio-description in Dutch: A corpus-based study into the linguistic features of a new, multimodal text type. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

The project presented here is a corpus-based study of the linguistic features of a new, multimodal text type within Audiovisual Translation (AVT): Audio-description (AD) for the blind and visually impaired. The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to describe the lexico-grammatical features of AD-scripts and examine the role they play in the specific communicative function of the text. The object is to explore one of the key-issues in AD research: How are images put into words and what are the implications for the language use in AD? A recent pilot study confirmed the hypothesis that the language of AD contains distinctive grammatical (morpho-syntactic) and lexical features and that these specific patterns can be identified by corpus analysis. Firstly, the current project aims to develop an extensive and varied text corpus of AD scripts of Dutch audio-described films and series. Secondly, this text corpus will provide the basis for quantitative linguistic research, aiming to identify the prominent lexico-grammatical features of the text type. Finally, the quantitative analysis will be combined with a qualitative analysis of the (communicative) function of these features. In this last stage, special attention must be paid to the multimodal nature of the text type, since the AD-script only makes sense in combination with the dialogues, music and sound effects of the original film or series with which it forms a coherent whole. A qualitative analysis into the (communicative) function of the features will explore the unique interaction between the language of AD and the other channels of the audiovisual text. Ultimately, the project's ambition is to conduct an extensive linguistic audience design oriented analysis of the AD-discourse. This will allow us to identify the features that characterise the AD text type, will clarify how these linguistic and stylistic features are used to ensure maximum communicative efficiency, and how these features are related to the function and multimodal character of AD. The project presented here is a pioneer in the field: AD has become an international research topic recently but for Flanders and the Netherlands no study of AD is available yet. In addition, it can offer the basis for future application-oriented studies. AD in Flanders is in its infancy (public broadcaster VRT only started with its first audio-described series in January 2012). In brief, basic research projects like the one presented here support the development of a local AD tradition in Flanders that meets international quality standards.

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