Hayley is a Research Fellow contributing to the ESRC-funded SMART project, which investigates how respeaking technology can provide multilingual access. She holds an MA in Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Studies from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Roehampton, in which she explored training for interlingual respeakers to provide access for a wide audience. Hayley is a member of the international research group GALMA, the Galician Observatory for Media Access, where she contributes to respeaking certification and delivers training courses for pre-recorded subtitling and interlingual respeaking. She also works as a freelance language and accessibility specialist and provides services in Spanish to English translation, subtitling, respeaking and training.
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As audiovisual material is increasingly and globally streamed live, there is a growing demand for this live content to be made accessible in a foreign language. This calls for interlingual live subtitling, which is intended for both foreign-language and hearing-impaired viewers, illustrating the wide and inclusive notion of Media Accessibility (MA) where access is needed for audiences with and without disabilities (Romero-Fresco, 2018). This paper begins with an overview of interlingual respeaking including research, demand and training. Empirical results of interlingual respeaking experiments are presented with an emphasis on the task-specific skills required, which have been validated through experimental research. Then, a research-informed training model for interlingual respeaking is presented that acts as a framework upon which to base the proposal of a training course. This is regarded as an essential step to help consolidate interlingual respeaking as a viable access service and to produce quality live subtitles to benefit a wide audience.
Respeaking is an effective way to make live and pre-recorded television, as well as live events, accessible to a wide audience. Respeakers use speech recognition software to repeat or paraphrase what is heard through a microphone in a robotic voice while enunciating punctuation and adding colours or labels to identify the speakers. Until now, most respeaking has been done within the same language (intralingual respeaking). As a recent development, interlingual respeaking has the potential to provide a new access service for a wider audience, including those with hearing loss, language learners, foreigners, migrants, refugees etc. To ensure quality, respeakers must receive systematic and appropriately designed training. As part of the EU-funded project Interlingual Live Subtitling for Access (ILSA), whose goal is to develop a training course for interlingual live subtitlers, this paper presents the results of the largest experiment on interlingual respeaking conducted so far. The aim was to identify the skills required for interlingual respeaking and determine the best-suited professional profile for an interlingual live subtitler to inform training. The results show a varied and complex landscape where subtitlers and interpreters must learn different skills to perform effectively as interlingual respeakers.
Intralingual respeaking has been widely practiced since 2001 (Romero-Fresco, 2011), however, interlingual respeaking (from one language into another) is yet to take off. As a hybrid form of subtitling and interpreting, interlingual respeaking calls upon skills used in both professions. To transform this mode of audiovisual translation (AVT) within Media Accessibility (MA), a programme must be created to train future interlingual live subtitlers (ILSers). This paper presents the results of the first ever study on interlingual live subtitling (ILS), in which 10 participants interlingually respoke three short videos using a language combination of English and Spanish. The main areas of research in this project are feasibility, quality and training. Before expanding training in this area, ILS must be deemed feasible and an effective method of assessment must be in place to determine its quality. The average accuracy rate of the study is 97.17%, with the highest accuracy rate reaching the 98% threshold with 98.33%. The initial results point to ILS as feasible providing a training programme is put in place to build upon existing task-specific skills and develop new ones to ensure interlingual live subtitles of good quality are produced.
Research and training in respeaking are still lagging behind professional practice. One of the consequences of this lack of training opportunities is the UK government’s refusal, in 2016, to use the Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA) to provide for respoken subtitles, arguing that respeaking was not a qualified profession. In order to tackle this issue, the Galician Observatory for Media Accessibility set up LiRICS, the Live Respeaking International Certification Standard, which aims to set and maintain high international standards in the respeaking profession. In 2019, after assessing the online certification process proposed by LiRICS, the Department of Education in the UK concluded that it meets their requirements and that LiRICS-certified respeakers are eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances funding. This article outlines, first, the current provision of respeaking training around the world and the assessments of live subtitling quality carried out to date, both of which inform the LiRICS online certification process presented here. The focus is then placed on the actual certification process, including a description of the tests, the platform used and the quality assurance process. This is followed by an analysis of the respeakers’ performance, which has been shown to be in line with current professional standards.