New perspectives in Audiovisual Translation - AAVV - E-Book

New perspectives in Audiovisual Translation E-Book




The aim of this book is to contribute to the dissemination of current research carried out by young scholars who are starting to build promising careers in the field of audiovisual translation. Although it is by no means an exhaustive collection of state-of-the-art approaches to AVT, this publication offers a carefully chosen list of research perspectives that are worth exploring in the current technologised landscape that this area of translation has become. Therefore, it represents a select yet judicious group of studies, with the added strength that the contributions presented here are not limited to academic circles, but rather offer different points of view from various angles, given the diverse profiles that characterizes the authors. Thus, each chapter deals with the subject of AVT from an academic, educational or professional perspective. As diverse as their approaches are, all the young authors who have collaborated to create this volume offer enriching perspectives that reflect the potential that AVT still has today and the prospective studies that are worth undertaking to continue enriching the field of AVT.

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Antonia Sánchez Macarro

Juan José Martínez SierraUniversitat de València, Spain


Professor Enrique Bernárdez

Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Professor Anne Burns

Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Professor Angela Downing

Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Dr Martin Hewings

University of Birmingham, Great Britain

Professor Ken Hyland

University of East Anglia, Great Britain

Professor James Lantolf

Penn State University, Pennsylvania, USA

Professor Michael McCarthy

University of Nottingham, Great Britain

Professor Eija Ventola

Aalto University, Finland

Dr. M. Mar Rivas

Universidad de Córdoba, Spain

© The authors © 2021 by the Universitat de València

Design and typeset: Celso Hdez. de la FigueraCover design by Pere Fuster (Borràs i Talens Assessors SL)

ISBN (PAPER): 978-84-9134-924-2

ISBN (EPUB): 978-84-9134-925-9

ISBN (PDF): 978-84-9134-926-6

Digital edition


1  A Brief Overview of Current Approaches to AVT Studies and Practices

José Fernando Carrero Martín & Laura Mejías-Climent

2  Audiovisual Translation Migrates to the Cloud: Industry, Technology and Education

Alejandro Bolaños García-Escribano

3  Audiovisual Translation for Inclusive Language Education: The Case of the EOI Centres of the Valencian Community

Beatriz Reverter Oliver

4  Trans* Representations and Translations: Two Pictures, Two Spaces, Two Moments

Iván Villanueva Jordán & Antonio Jesús Martínez Pleguezuelos-77

5  May the Intertextuality Be with You. The Translation of Star Wars Comics

Yeray García Celades

6  Approaching the Concept of Localisation and its Place in Translation Studies

Arturo Vázquez Rodríguez

7  Technology as a Driving Force in Subtitling

Rafaella Athanasiadi-

8  Media Accessibility Services at the Valencian regional TV Station À Punt Mèdia. A Professional Overview

María López Rubio & Valentí Martí Sansaloni

9  Linguistic Variation in Netflix’s English Dubs: Memetic Translation of Galician-Spanish series Fariña (Cocaine Coast)

Lydia Hayes

Notes on Contributors

LAURA MEJÍAS-CLIMENT holds a PhD in Translation by the Universitat Jaume I and a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting by the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, with the award for the best academic record and the Special Doctoral Award. She is an Assistant Professor at UJI and member of the research group TRAMA. She has taught at the Universidad Pablo de Olavide and ISTRAD. She also teaches a module in the postgraduate course Experto en Traducción y Localización de Videojuegos (ISTRAD) as well as the Master’s Degree in Audiovisual Translation (Universidad Europea de Valencia). Furthermore, she has taught in the USA thanks to a Fulbright scholarship. She holds a Master’s Degree in Audiovisual Translation from the Universidad de Cádiz/ISTRAD and a Master’s Degree in Translation and New Technologies from the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo/ISTRAD. Moreover, she studied the Master’s Degree in Secondary Education and Languages (MAES) at the Universidad de Sevilla. She has worked as translation project manager and professional translator, specialized in the field of audiovisual translation. Her lines of research focus on Audiovisual Translation, specifically, on translation for dubbing and video game localization.

JOSÉ FERNANDO CARRERO MARTÍN is a PhD Candidate at the Universitat de València. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interlinguistic Mediation and a Master’s degree in Creative and Humanistic Translation from the same institution. He is a part-time lecturer at the Department of Language Theory and Communication Sciences of the Universitat de València and at the Instituto Superior de Estudios Lingüísticos y Traducción (ISTRAD), a collaborator at the research group CiTrans, and has organized multiple conferences and edited various books. Fernando is also a freelance translator with experience in audiovisual translation and video game localization, technical and touristic translation, interpreting, and project management. Furthermore, he has also performed text coding assignments for the CORPES XXI (Corpus del Español del Siglo XXI) of the Real Academia Española de la Lengua. He was president of AETI (the Spanish Translation and Interpreting Student Association) and is a board member of La Xarxa (the Valencian Community Translation and Interpreting Association). His research interests include audiovisual translation history and theory, translation professional environment, and more.

ALEJANDRO BOLAÑOS GARCÍA-ESCRIBANO is Lecturer (Teaching) in Audiovisual Translation and Programme Director at University College London, UK, where he teaches (audiovisual) translation and Spanish language and culture at both the Centre for Translation Studies (CenTraS) and the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies. He holds an MSc in Audiovisual Translation and a PhD in Translation Studies from CenTraS. His research revolves around the pedagogical potential of cloud subtitling and the latest innovations in audiovisual translation education. He also works as a freelance translator and subtitler.

BEATRIZ REVERTER OLIVER earned her international PhD in Languages, Literature, Culture and its Applications in 2019 (Universitat de València). She also holds a BA in Translation and Interlinguistic Mediation, for which she received a Regional Academic Excellence Award in 2013. In addition, she pursued a Master’s Degree in Creative and Humanistic Translation in 2015 and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education Teaching in 2017 as well, for which she received two Extraordinary Master’s Degree Awards. Beatriz is currently a collaborator at the research group Citrans and has published various articles and book chapters focused on the role of mother tongue, translation and audiovisual translation in foreign language teaching, as well as in inclusive education. In addition, she has been part of the PluriTAV research project, aimed at exploring the role of audiovisual translation for the development of plurilingual competences. She has worked as a translator and, primarily, as a French and Spanish language teacher, both in Spain and France. She currently works as a French teacher in secondary education and as a part-time lecturer at the Instituto Superior de Estudios Lingüísticos y Traducción (ISTRAD) while continuing her research work at university. Her main areas of research involve inclusive foreign language teaching and learning, audiovisual translation in foreign language teaching, translation professional environment, and accessibility in the media.

ANTONIO J. MARTÍNEZ PLEGUEZUELOS holds a PhD in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Salamanca. His main research topics are translation and identity and translation and gender and LGBT+ studies. He has published different articles and book chapters on these topics, apart from the book Traducción e identidad sexual: reescrituras audiovisuales desde la Teoría Queer [Translation and Sexual Identity: Audiovisual Rewritings from Queer Theory] (Granada: Comares, 2018). He currently works as a lecturer at the Complutense University of Madrid. He is part of the official research group TRADIC. Traducción, Ideología y Cultura (U. of Salamanca).

IVÁN VILLANUEVA-JORDÁN is a research full professor at Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (Lima, Peru). He has conducted research on discourses and performances of drag queens in Lima. His doctoral research addressed the translation and multimodal construction of gay masculinities in contemporary telefiction. His current research interests are audiovisual translation, LGBTQ+ studies, and translation research pedagogy.

YERAY GARCÍA CELADES is an audiovisual translator. He holds a Degree in Translation and Interpreting from the Universidad de Alicante and has completed his Master’s Degree in Audiovisual Translation from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2018 and his Master`s Degree in Editorial Translation from the Universidad de Murcia. His End-of-Degree Project and his End-of-Master’s Project focused on intertextuality in superhero films, a topic on which he is developing a doctoral thesis. He is currently working as a freelance translator and has translated to Spanish documentaries like Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, series like The Movies That Made Us or Doom Patrol and books like Thomas Quick: How to become a serial killer. He writes about audiovisual translation in his blog Luces, cámara, ¡traducción!

ARTURO VÁZQUEZ RODRÍGUEZ holds a degree in English Studies from the Universitat de València (2013), institution in which he also completed a Master’s Degree in Creative and Humanistic translation in 2014. One year later, he enrolled in a PhD program and in 2018 obtained his PhD with a thesis titled Translation errors in video game localization: a comparative study between indie and non-indie video games directed by Dr. Juan José Martínez Sierra. Arturo has already worked for two of the top ten major technology and language service providers in the industry as a Localization Engineer. Nowadays, he continues to do so in Madrid.

When RAFAELLA ATHANASIADI finished her bachelor with distinctions in English Language and Literature at the University of Cyprus in 2014, she opted for a translation-oriented career. She studied specialized translation with translation technology at University College London and after submitting her MSc dissertation she was offered to publish it (The applications of MT and TM tools in subtitling: A new era?). She also published an article based on her MSc research with the title Exploring the potential of machine translation and other language assistive tools in subtitling: A new era? In addition, she is the co-author of the research paper Streaming platforms and AVT training in a peripheral context: Asymmetries calling for pivot audiovisual translation (2023, forthcoming). She also submitted recently her PhD thesis with the title Mapping the area of subtitling technologies from a sociological standpoint and exploring didactic implications for subtitlers’ training. Her research interests revolve around subtitling technologies, translation sociology and AVT didactics.

MARÍA LÓPEZ RUBIO holds a BA in Translation and Interpreting from the Universitat Jaume I (Castelló, 2017) and a Master’s Degree in Medical Translation from Universitat Jaume I (2018). During her BA studies, she got a collaboration grant in the audiovisual translation research group TRAMA, led by professor Frederic Chaume Varela. She was awarded the final-year prize (2017) by Universitat Jaume I, the extraordinary prize ‘Capitania General de València’ (2017) for the best academic records, and the prize Ernest Breva (2013-2017), by Universitat Jaume I, for her academic career. She has participated as a speaker in conferences such as SELM (on modern languages), IALIC (International Association for Languages & Intercultural Communication), Media for All, and PluriTAV International Conference. She has worked in the service of audiovisual accessibility at the Valencian regional television channel À Punt, in charge of Audiodescription for the blind and visually impaired and Subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing. She is currently enrolled in the Doctoral Programme in Language, Literature and Culture and its Applications at Universitat de València, where she is writing her PhD thesis, directed by professors Beatriz Cerezo Merchán and Juan José Martínez Sierra. Thanks to a predoctoral research grant, she is working as a full-time research and teaching fellow in the Department of English and German Philology at Universitat de València.

VALENTÍ MARTÍ SANSALONI is an audiovisual and literary translator. He gained his degree in Translation and Interlinguistical Translation in Universitat de València and his master’s degree in Literary and AV Translation in Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He has translated so far two books, from English into Catalan and from Spanish into English, and also five movies for dubbing, while he has subtitled about fifteen movies, as well as some episodes of TV soap operas, mainly from English and French into Catalan and Spanish. Since 2018, he does both live and pre-prepared subtitling for À Punt. Besides translating, he has also transcribed for CORPES XXI (Corpus del Español del Siglo XXI), from Real Academia Española, for PRESEEA (Project for the Sociolinguistic Study of Spanish from Spain and America) and for the commissions of both the Valencian and the Catalan regional Parliaments.

LYDIA HAYES is a final-stage PhD Candidate in the Centre for Translation Studies (CenTraS) at University College London (UCL). She previously studied at the Universidad de Salamanca and Trinity College Dublin. Lydia has been lecturing in Spanish-English translation to master’s students at the University of Bristol since 2020, and formerly taught Spanish oral language at UCL (2018-2021). Her research delves into accents and cultural identities in original and dubbed versions, in dual directionality between English and Spanish. She collaborates with dubbing companies in the UK and is a freelance translator.

A Brief Overview of Current Approaches to AVT Studies and Practices

JOSÉ FERNANDO CARRERO MARTÍN& LAURA MEJÍAS - CLIMENTUniversitat de València, Universitat Jaume I

Audiovisual translation (AVT) is on the rise. Over the last twenty years, the world has seen a complete transformation of the film and media industries. The arrival of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV) in the 2000s and video-on-demand (VoD) in the 2010s, with platforms such as Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Disney + and Apple TV+ reshaping the traditional audiovisual landscape, has had a direct impact on AVT as a profession, turning it into one of the most profitable industries in the language service business (Carrero Martín et al. 2019: 1), a trend that only seems to be growing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (Shevenock 2020: online). Furthermore, the European Union’s Directive (EU) 2018/1808 establishes that «Member States shall ensure that media service providers of on-demand audiovisual media services under their jurisdiction secure at least a 30% share of European works in their catalogues and ensure prominence of those works.» As a result, European production and distribution on the aforementioned VoD platforms is on the rise (Aguado-Guadalupe and Bernaola 2019: online), which is likely to have a positive effect on AVT as it will increase the need to translate content from a wide variety of languages.

Likewise, the video game industry has also seen dramatic growth. It is estimated that the current video game market generates $159.3 billion in revenue, with the $200 billion mark expected to be hit by 2023 (Wijman 2020: online). Thus, it is not farfetched to predict the continued growth of video game localization, an already important industry, with companies like Keywords Studios among the top 10 language service providers in 2020 (Common Sense Advisory: 2020). As the Globalization and Localization Association (2019: online) states: «Gaming companies need translation and localization to maximize their global reach [...] making products and services more relatable to customers who speak different languages, with different cultural backgrounds.»

Moreover, media accessibility practices have also flourished over the last 10 years. For instance, EU 2010/13/EU and EU 2019/882 have made subtitling for the deaf and the hard-of-hearing, audio description and sign-language interpreting common practices in European broadcasts, both public and private. As for the United Kingdom, laws regulating accessibility on public television are also in place (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights 2014: online). In fact, Reverter Oliver (2019: 161) points out that the UK is one of the leading countries with regard to accessibility. As for future trends, Mangiron (2021: 107) also points to video game accessibility.

This boom, however, has not just occurred in the professional landscape. As Bogucki and Díaz-Cintas (2020: 11) state, «[t]he most obvious change that we have observed in the last three decades or so is the progressive shifting of AVT from the margins to the centre of the academic debate, in a rather rapid fashion and after somewhat sluggish beginnings.» It is undeniable that audiovisual translation has flourished in recent years, as demonstrated by the increasing and fruitful academic production, and said growth coincides with the requirements of audiovisual and mass media technologies. A considerable number of high-quality publications and research projects have taken place in recent decades and a new journal devoted exclusively to AVT was even established in 2018, the Journal of Audiovisual Translation, demonstrating this already standalone discipline’s capacity for growth and enrichment. But interest in AVT research goes even further. As Carrero Martín et al. (2019: 1) state, multiple conferences, seminars and courses on AVT have proliferated during the last two decades.

Likewise, this situation reflects an increase in the graduate and postgraduate offer in AVT studies. Although «AVT training was not incorporated into higher education translator training curricula until just over twenty years ago», dating back to the late 1980s and 1990s (Cerezo Merchán 2019: 468), nowadays, a high number of «educational programmes focused on AVT [...] are part of the curricular offerings at many universities around the world» (Bogucki and Díaz-Cintas 2020: 19). Consequently, with the rise of this graduate and postgraduate education, the number of doctoral dissertations on AVT has grown dramatically. According to the data collected by Pérez Escudero (2018: 173), up to 280 doctoral dissertations on AVT studies were written between 2001 and 2017, a number which, when compared to the 50 written between 1967 and 2000, serves as proof of the current upward trend of AVT in translation studies. It is also interesting to point out that despite the main AVT research seemingly being centralised in Spain – followed by the United Kingdom, Brazil, Italy and the United States –, nearly 50% of these doctoral dissertations were written in English (Pérez Escudero 2018: 185-186).

Many of these doctoral projects have shed light on different aspects of the blossoming field of AVT, as demonstrated by monographs such as those edited by Martínez Sierra (2017, 2012). This book aims to contribute to this ever-growing landscape of new research projects and the avenues that young researchers in AVT are opening. We intend to contribute to the further dissemination of increasing research on the different and varied forms of AVT in which new generations of researchers work and which can complement and expand the approaches and methodologies that have already been developed in recent years. The aim of such a collection of contributions is to shed some light on the most recent research trends in audiovisual translation, localization and media accessibility, giving an account of the preferences that young researchers in the field demonstrate with their projects, and to point out the main needs in the research and professional scope that AVT might reflect.

It is commonly known that AVT represents not only a fruitful field of study, but also an ever-growing professional practice. This dual approach is demonstrated by the authors’ profiles, who not only carry out cutting-edge research in the field, but also work as professional translators themselves, as enriching as this perspective might be. Various aspects and modes of AVT will be brought to the forefront from different perspectives, demonstrating how broad and flexible this discipline has become in recent years, encompassing not only the «most traditional» audiovisual products and their translation (such as movies, TV shows and series), but also some other products such as comics, interactive audiovisual products (video games) and accessible products.

As pointed out by Chaume (2018), there are essentially four methodological turns that can be identified in the already mature discipline of AVT, together with transversal aspects influencing the foci of AVT research, with new technologies being one of the most prominent components, as demonstrated by some of the authors’ contributions to this book. To some extent, the different pieces of research gathered in this volume respond to most of the methodological turns that AVT has experienced throughout its relatively short but event-filled history: cultural approaches are touched on by Hayes – who analyses linguistic variation to convey cultural identity – and Villanueva Jordán and Martínez Pleguezuelos’ approach combines two case studies to analyse gender representations in audiovisual products. A sociological standpoint can be identified in Bolaños Garcia-Escribano’s work reviewing the current use and impact of Cloud technologies in AVT processes and Athanasiadi’s more theoretical approach toward the importance of technological advances in the development of the subtitling industry throughout history. The sociological relevance of AVT and its application in inclusive language education is also manifested in Reverter Oliver’s study, while a more traditional descriptive methodology is used by García Celades to approach intertextuality in comics. Vázquez Rodríguez addresses the issue of defining localization in the current AVT landscape from a purely theoretical standpoint, while López Rubio and Martí Sansaloni´s approach is eminently professional, drawing on their own experience to describe modern accessibility practices in regional TV and multilingual products.

Although varying in nature and approaches, this book represents a very limited selection of what is being done nowadays in academia, but the strength of the sum of the contributions presented here is precisely derived from the fact that they are not restricted to academic circles, but rather offer an overview on research, professional and educational perspectives. Research in AVT is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary (Szarkowska and Wasylczyk 2018) and it is expanding to all spheres of society. It is essential that the long-standing gap between the AVT industry and academia be bridged (Bogucki and Díaz-Cintas 2020: 22) and the multifaceted nature of this book aims to reflect that connection. It is by no means an exhaustive collection of current approaches to AVT, but rather a carefully selected list of research perspectives that are worth exploring in the current technologised landscape of AVT.

More precisely, this book is divided into eight additional chapters following the present one. As introduced, each of them deals with the subject of audiovisual translation from an academic, educational or professional perspective. As diverse as their approaches may be, all the young authors who have collaborated to create this volume offer enriching perspectives that reflect the potential that AVT still has today and the prospective studies that are worth undertaking to continue enriching the AVT landscape.

After this initial overview of the current state of AVT, the second chapter is Audiovisual Translation Migrates to the Cloud: Industry, Technology and Education, written by Alejandro Bolaños García-Escribano. These pages offer an examination of the current state of Cloud technologies in AVT, a still-developing trend in the AVT professional landscape that could optimise current practices considerably. Not only does this chapter deal with the industry implications of this cutting-edge technology, but it also advocates for the introduction of Cloud-based toolkits in the AVT classroom in order to meet the demand for tech-savvy, well-trained language professionals.

The third chapter of the book is entitled Audiovisual Translation for Inclusive Language Education: The Case of the EOI Centres of the Valencian Community by Beatriz Reverter Oliver. The study described here explores the applications of AVT for sensory-disabled students in foreign language (FL) classrooms. The author analyses possible uses of AVT to adapt teaching materials for sensory-disabled students. Then, a theoretical review of the main studies on AVT and FL teaching is conducted – which are converging areas as demonstrated by current projects such as PluriTAV, developed at the Universitat de València. Finally, the results of a study carried out in order to explore the current role of AVT in an inclusive FL classroom – with special emphasis on subtitling for the deaf and the hard-of-hearing and audio description – are presented.

The fourth chapter of the book is Trans* Representations and Translations: Two Pictures, Two Spaces, Two Moments, written by Iván Villanueva Jordán and Antonio Jesús Martínez Pleguezuelos. Here, the authors address the representation of trans* subjects in two audiovisual products, each one establishing specific cases of gender, race and class in different temporal and spatial contexts: the documentary Paris Is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990) and the short film Loxoro (Claudia Llosa, 2011). Subsequently, two translation analyses are performed in order to observe what changes may or may not have occurred in both discourses, paying special attention to the use of language for expressing specific gender and sexual identities outside the traditional binary structure and their reflection in subtitling.

The fifth chapter of the book, written by Yeray García Celades, is entitled May the Intertextuality Be with You. The Translation of Star Wars Comics. These pages offer a study on intertextuality and translation. The author discusses the concept of intertextuality (a textual property that arises when a text refers to other texts) and its importance in the translation of derived products. Then, the Star Wars saga is introduced in the study, focusing on how intertextuality (references, quotes, character names and more) has been preserved in the translation of the current line of comics from this popular franchise and what translation techniques have been employed to do so.

Approaching the Concept of Localisation and its Place in Translation Studies is the sixth chapter of the book, written by Arturo Vázquez Rodríguez. The author takes a close analytical look at localisation, a current term that is widespread in both the translation industry and academia, but which lacks a unique, unanimous definition. Here, the author performs a theoretical review of some of the attempts at defining the concept, distinguishing and grouping different theoretical approaches toward localisation. Furthermore, the relationship and similarities of the concepts of localisation and translation are discussed, as well as localisation’s place in the AVT and translation studies landscapes.

The seventh chapter of the book, written by Rafaella Athanasiadi, is entitled Technology as a Driving Force in Subtitling. Here, the author performs a historical review of the relationship between subtitling and technology, starting with the birth of sound films and television, continuing with the arrival and impact of home video (particularly DVD) and digital television, and finally moving to the current audiovisual landscape in the form of video-on-demand platforms. Moreover, current working processes and software are explored and future subtitling trends in the form of translation memories and machine tanslation post-editing, among others, are also discussed.

The eighth chapter of the book, written by María López Rubio and Valentí Martí Sansaloni, is Media Accessibility Services at the Valencian regional TV Station À Punt Mèdia. A Professional Overview. As the title itself states, this chapter presents a professional overview of the main working processes and strategies employed by the accessibility team at the Valencian regional TV station À Punt Mèdia. The authors conduct a brief historical review of the history of AVT accessibility in Spain, focusing on the Valencian Community, to then offer a thoughtful look at how the subtitling staff works at this public regional TV station, including guidelines, software and some other professional aspects which are worth exploring. Moreover, audio description tasks are also described and the importance of media accessibility is discussed.

To conclude, the last chapter is entitled Linguistic Variation in Netflix’s English Dubs: Memetic Translation of Galician-Spanish series Fariña (Cocaine Coast), written by Lydia Hayes. This chapter deals with the rise of international production and the English dubbing of foreign original shows pioneered by the video-on-demand giant Netflix. After an insightful look at dubbing’s current status as the new mainstream AVT mode for English-speaking audiences, the author analyses the foreignising strategy used in the English dubbing of the Spanish TV series Fariña, known as Cocaine Coast in the Anglophone market, including the use of a wide variety of Hispanic accents in order to convey connotations of cultural identity.

This book’s readership is expected to be as varied as the authors themselves, encompassing a wide range of professionals and researchers not only in the field of AVT, but also in translation studies, language teaching and communication studies, as well as translation trainees who have just begun researching and are interested in discovering the current AVT landscape. As stated, this book intends to contribute to the dissemination of current research carried out by young scholars who are starting to build promising careers in the field of AVT. The various chapters that compose this volume touch on different AVT modes, approaches and methodological perspectives, and they can be considered the appropriate starting point for enriching projects that will contribute to the ever-growing landscape of AVT studies and professional practices.


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Audiovisual Translation Migratesto the Cloud: Industry,Technology and Education




Audiovisual translation (AVT) has grown extensively in the past few decades, moving from the margins to the mainstream of translation scholarship, and so has the AVT market, which continues to grow by leaps and bounds worldwide (MESA 2019).

In an industry spearheaded by fast-paced technological developments, the demand for tech-savvy and well-trained language professionals is an enduring reality nowadays. Translators are expected to excel at language-related tasks in professional settings by putting their technological literacy into practice. The AVT industry constitutes an ever-changing landscape (Baños and Díaz-Cintas 2015), so professionals need to become more imaginative to keep abreast of a growing list of innovations and remain employable. Today, the newest technologies in the AVT industry are taking the form of browser-based platforms and systems as well as other tools made available through the internet and thus occurs the steady migration of translation workbenches and workflows to the cloud.

The nature and evolution of the AVT profession have far-reaching implications in its teaching. First, there is a greater need for well-trained localisers and translators that specialise in AVT; secondly, honing translation competences and providing trainees with a well-informed education and authentic training practices, including situational experiences, need to be prioritised; and, thirdly, industry conventions and software ought to have a wider presence in training environments. In short, the teaching of AVT in higher education and other educational settings should ultimately aim to satisfy the latest industry demands by using cutting-edge technology, where possible, in the classroom. This chapter aims to depict the status quo of industry technologies in order to justify and legitimise the proposal of a comprehensive inclusion of new technologies, with an emphasis on cloud-based systems, in AVT education.


Academic and professional landscapes of AVT in the 21st century

Although AVT remained practically untouched by scholars until the early 1970s (Pérez-González 2014), it is now considered a solid, relevant research field in academia. As a matter of fact, the literature has grown exponentially, leading to a significant body of published research (Pérez-Escudero 2018) as well as the expansion of AVT specialised training in higher education (Bolaños-García-Escribano and Díaz-Cintas 2019).

All AVT practices share at least one common denominator: the audiovisual text. It is understood that an audiovisual text is received aurally and visually at the same time and is conditioned by the interaction between the verbal and non-verbal signs, thus giving rise to four main components that are common to all audiovisual texts, i.e. the acoustic and visual channels and verbal and non-verbal signs (Zabalbeascoa 2008). For some scholars, however, audiovisual texts are far more complex and can be composed of up to fourteen different codes, thereby reinforcing the multimodal nature of AVT (Gambier 2013). These categories, further discussed by Delabastita (1989), allow for a better understanding of AVT practices, which can be subsumed depending on how the linguistic transfer is made.

AVT practices are usually divided into two main groups: revoicing and subtitling. Whereas in revoicing the original soundtrack is replaced with a newly recorded or live soundtrack in the target language, subtitling operates by maintaining the original speech and images, which are accompanied by written snippets of text that correspond to synched translations or (quasi) transcriptions of the original dialogue. Both groups of AVT modes include accessibility sub-practices, which can be used to bridge linguistic and cultural barriers or to facilitate access to audiovisual productions for audiences with sensory impairments, such as the deaf and the hard-of-hearing and the blind and the partially sighted. Irrespective of the target audience and the type of transfer, all practices inherently demand the use of technologies that allow the translator to embed, insert, or superimpose their translation onto the original text, which is a timely reminder that the very concept of translation is becoming progressively blurry in light of the many shapes AVT has taken in the past few years (Chaume 2018).

The evolution of translation as a discipline is inextricably linked to technological advances. Translation has overgrown rudimentary translation methods and ergonomics, leading to more versatile and dynamic work environments brought about by digital technologies. AVT is no exception, as it has traditionally required a great deal of technology, including the use of specialised software (e.g. subtitling systems) and equipment in dedicated workplaces (e.g. dubbing studios). In recent years, AVT professionals have also experienced a greater inclusion and wider application of translation-memory and machine-translation tools in the profession (Georgakopoulou 2012).

Audiovisual consumption has changed significantly in the last few decades due to the rapid development of new technologies (Chaume 2018) and, in turn, the creation of new mass media channels and widening of audiences. One of the main developments that transformed the audiovisual landscape irreversibly across the globe was the introduction and spread of DVDs at the turn of the century, which permitted the inclusion of several subtitle templates and dubbed soundtracks within the same storage format. Today, the potential held by the internet for the distribution and localisation of audiovisual programmes has been repeatedly discussed by scholars; over a decade ago, Díaz-Cintas (2009) mentioned how the internet had contributed to the sharing of open-source software among subtitlers (both professionals and non-experts) as well as to expanding the degree of control audiences have over audiovisual products. It has also allowed for a rapid transformation of broadcasting by those embracing new video-delivery systems. Digital television later paved the way for a new era of audiovisual consumption and novel distribution methods, such as paid-subscription streaming platforms whose content is available on demand, hence the term video on demand (VoD). These and other services that formerly used cable or satellite now rely exclusively on internet connection, i.e. over the top (OTT) format. In short, the internet has profoundly changed the current mediascape as we know it.

As one form of internet-based television, VoD either «provides users with access to a traditional channel or network’s existing library including new content once it becomes available on the linear schedule» or «employs organizational schemes that are best understood as cultivating or curating content libraries» (Wayne 2018: 729). VoD services, which encompass the likes of Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO and Netflix, among others, have grown exponentially, particularly in the last decade or so, and are expected to continue expanding. As Grandinetti (2017) points out, VoD platforms have also led to major changes in viewing habits; for instance, there has been a swift move from prime-time to an any-time viewing culture, subsequently encouraging and nurturing binge-watching behaviours.

In Europe, VoD usage rates have accelerated steadily since 2012, and sharply since 2014; furthermore, it has been found that VoD consumer revenues in the EU soared from €919 million in 2010 to €2.5 billion in 2014 (Croce and Grece 2015). VoD viewing rates have experienced a spike across the board during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the USA, for example, reporting a 32% increase in membership subscriptions in March 2020 and VoD viewership growing up to 57% for some UK providers (Forte 2020).

It goes without saying that VoD platforms have stimulated the language industry, too, since their content needs to be localised in a myriad of languages and be made accessible to cater for people with sensory impairments. As recounted by some scholars, the popularisation of VoD platforms has had far-reaching implications in subtitling workflows (Georgakopoulou 2012) and has also given rise to new dubbing trends (Ranzato and Zanotti 2019). Orrego (2018) explored the many effects participatory culture has had in today’s consumption habits, where audiences’ demands, preferences and viewing habits have impacted localisation practices. Be that as it may, recent trends in audiovisual consumption seem to reinforce the ubiquity of translation, whose screen presence is more prominent now than ever before (Díaz-Cintas 2019).

In the latest official report on the size and wealth of the language industry in Europe, it was found that, back in 2008, the value of the language industry within the EU was €8.4 billion, of which €568 million represented the sector of language technology tools and €633