Oct 2009

Conference presentation

I have just returned from the 3rd International Conference "Media For All" Quality Made to Measure held in Antwerp where I gave a presentation with Iwona Mazur on the Pear Tree Project. The abstract is below.

Towards a common European quality audio description: Final report on the Pear Tree Project

Audio description (AD) has been developing very unevenly across Europe. In some countries (e.g., the UK) AD has already come of age, whereas in others (e.g., Poland) it is still in its infancy. As a result, countries belonging to the former category have worked out national AD standards and practices (which, however, differ from country to country and so does the quality of ADs), whereas countries in the latter group are lagging far behind with no principles in place to guide audio describers in their work. Given the above considerations and in view of the European Commission’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive of 11 December 2007, which explicitly mentions the right of people with disabilities to enjoy accessible media services, including such access by means of audio description, AD practitioners and researchers across Europe have become aware of the growing need to develop and standardise AD guidelines in Europe to ensure consistent high-quality AD practice. However, before streamlining European AD standards and practices, a number of issues have to be addressed, the most essential one being whether relevant cross-linguistic and cross-cultural differences in Europe are insignificant enough to enable the development of such common European AD guidelines. In order to answer these questions a methodology proposed by Wallace Chafe (Chafe 1980) concerning the way representatives of various cultures and languages perceive and describe moving images was adopted by a group of AD researchers across Europe in the so-called Pear Tree Project. Participants from Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Greece, France and the UK were asked to watch a six-minute film and recount what they saw. The obtained data was then subjected to comparative lexical, discourse and narrative analysis to uncover both similarities and differences in the way in which the representatives of the languages and cultures concerned process visual information. The test results as well as their analyses will be presented in this paper. Subsequently, the authors will attempt to provide an answer to the question whether creating common European audio description guidelines is a feasible undertaking.

New publications coming up

My article entitled "Episodic and semantic memory as sources of background knowledge in conference interpreting" will soon appear in Translation Studies in the New Millenium while my article entitled: "Interpreting Studies and psycholinguistics - a possible synergy effect" (based on a conference presentation delivered at EST Congress in Ljubljana in 2007) will be published by Benjamins in a volume Why Translation Studies Matters (edited by D. Gile, G. Hansen and N.K. Pokorn) in early 2010.