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Remael, Aline, Pilar Orero and Mary Carroll (eds) (2012). Audiovisual Translation and Media Accessibility at the Crossroads. Media for All 3.

Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, pp. 439, €88, $119. Hb: 978-90-420-3505-8.

The Media for All book series, stemming from the respective series of international conferences, has promptly become a point of reference for the field of Audiovisual Translation (AVT) and Media Accessibility, regardless of its short history. The first edited volume, published in 2007 (by Díaz Cintas, Orero and Remael), has been an attempt at offering more visibility to the emerging discipline of accessibility, focusing mostly on monolingual subtitling for the d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) and audio description (AD). Three years later, the second volume (edited by Díaz Cintas, Matamala and Neves) made transparent the interrelationship between AVT and accessibility, which is now established in this third edited volume, reflecting their hand in hand development.

More specifically, this volume has come as a result of the third international conference Media for all: Quality made to measure held in October 2009 by the Artesis University College in Antwerp (Belgium). Still, as the editors admit in the introduction (16) and the title of this volume suggests, the selection of the contributions have broadened its focus in order to accommodate the most recent technological developments that are inherently related to the nature of the field of AVT and Media Accessibility. Furthermore, the new title reflects the multidisciplinary approach that is now widely adopted in the field and which is also evidenced in the plurality of topics included in this volume, as well as in the versatility of its contributions.

The final selection of nineteen contributions has been deftly divided into three sections: (1) Extending the Boarders of AVT, (2) Interpreting Sight and Sound and (3) The Discourses of AVT. As may be seen, no distinction has been made between AVT and Media Accessibility in accordance with the title and spirit of this publication.

The first section comprises some recently integrated practices in AVT, namely, crowdsourcing applied to translation (contribution by Minako O'Hagan), video games accessibility (contribution by Carmen Mangiron), the use of graphic emoticons as a universal symbolic language (contribution by Junichi Azuma), and accessibility in the context of online publishing (contribution by Lucile Desblache).

The second section is oriented towards more established practices, however revisited under a new scope, such as live subtitling with specific emphasis on respeaking (contributions by Pablo Romero-Fresco and Juan Martínez Pérez), AD focusing on the description of fictional characters (Nazaret Fresno), and interpretation of AD from the standpoint of viewers (Iwona Mazur and Agnieszka Chmiel). Finally, sign language interpreting is discussed in the light of the television drama genre (contribution by Alex McDonald).

The third and most compact section of this volume has been divided in three subsections, each of them touching upon the well-known AVT practices and concepts from different perspectives. The first subsection, named “AVT Classics Revisited,” consists of two contributions: the first on voice-over (Monika Woźniak) and the second on surtitling (Anika Vervecken). The second subsection, titled “Bilingualism, Multilingualism and its Consequences,” offers views on bilingualism as reflected in the use of anglicisms in subtitling (Henrik Gottlieb) and as a potential didactic tool (Dominique Bairstow and Jean-Marc Lavaur). The two following contributions in this subsection (by Anna Vermeulen and Vincenza Minutella) also address different types of multilinguism and some of their challenges. Finally, the last subsection, namely “AVT, Film Language and Corpora,” is concerned with the use of corpora in AVT research either with respect to specific linguistic phenomena in dubbing (contributions by Maria Pavesi; Veronica Bonsignori, Silvia Bruti and Silvia Masi; and Maria Freddi) or concerning relevant issues in AD (Catalina Jiménez and Claudia Seibel).

Compared to its predecessors, the number of innovative practices discussed here is noticeably raised, as well as the quantity of contributions focusing on audience reception. Indeed, it seems that the long debated 'experimental turn' in AVT has been bearing its first fruits and reception is nowadays assessed on its various levels (see Gambier 2009: 22-23). The methodology also differs in order to serve the purposes of each individual research. For example, Romero Fresco's contribution has been based on a survey conducted with regard to the preferences of d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers in the UK in the context of live subtitling, following his previous work (cf. 2010; 2011), which also involved an eye-tracking experiment. In the same vein, Nazaret Fresno presents some preliminary findings in viewers' character perception extracted from the implementation of questionnaires, which are of specific relevance to AD. The underlying issue of such attempts is the improvement of quality in AVT, which as the editors suggest (15) should by no means be left aside.

Overall, theory and practice are perfectly balanced in the work of each individual contributor, resulting in a volume which is of equal interest both to AVT scholars and practitioners. What is more, this publication is specifically efficient in keeping its readers up-to-date with the latest trends in the rapidly evolving field of AVT and Media Accessibility. Finally, the treatment of traditional and more recent modalities of AVT as a unified whole by the editors brings forth the issue of a critical juncture between the various disciplines involved in the work of the audiovisual translator.

  • Díaz Cintas, Jorge, Pilar Orero and Aline Remael (eds) (2007). Media for All. Subtitling for the Deaf, Audio Description, and Sign Language. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi.
  • Díaz Cintas, Jorge, Anna Matamala and Josélia Neves (eds) (2010). New Insights into Audiovisual Translation and Media Accessibility. Media for All 2. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi.
  • Gambier, Yves (2009). “Challenges in research on audiovisual translation.” Anthony Pym and Alexander Perekrestenko (eds) (2009). Translation Research Projects 2. Tarragona: International Studies Group, 17-25.
  • Romero-Fresco, Pablo (2010). “Standing on quicksand: Viewers' comprehension and reading patterns of respoken subtitles for the news.” Jorge Díaz Cintas, Anna Matamala and Josélia Neves (eds) (2010). New Insights into Audiovisual Translation and Media Accessibility. Media for All 2. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 175-194.
  • (2011). Subtitling through Speech Recognition: Respeaking. Manchester: St Jerome.

Aikaterini Tsaousi, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, CAIAC (Catalonia's Ambient Intelligence and Accessibility Center)