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The Reception of Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Europe

UK, Spain, Italy, Poland, Denmark, France and Germany

Edited By Pablo Romero-Fresco

This is the first volume to deal specifically with the quality of subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) in Europe, with contributions from the UK, Spain, Italy, Poland, Denmark, France and Germany. Drawing on the results of the EU-funded project DTV4ALL, the book looks at the issue of quality in the reception of SDH in Europe as a combination of three factors: what viewers think about SDH, how they understand these subtitles and how they view them. The viewers’ preferences have been obtained through questionnaires and their comprehension has been analysed with tests, involving clips with SDH and questions. The viewers’ perception has been measured with eye-tracking technology, involving the analysis of 71,070 subtitles in what is so far the largest international eye-tracking study on subtitling. With this research, we have sought to obtain both subjective (preferences) and objective (comprehension and perception) data that can inform national guidelines on SDH. The book also introduces the notion of viewing speed and points to the existence of certain universals of SDH and subtitling that can contribute to advance our understanding of how different types of viewers from different nationalities view, process and understand subtitles as a means to access audiovisual content.
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← 8 | 9 →Introduction


Although not as visible as it could be outside the realm of Translation Studies, Audiovisual Translation Studies (AVTS) is now generally considered as a discipline in its own right. A myriad of research projects, conferences and publications bears witness to the vibrancy of research in AVT, which becomes stronger as it continues to develop and strengthen links with an increasingly broader range of related disciplines.

The research conducted for the present volume focuses on media accessibility, one of the most active areas within AVTS, and has its roots in a recent turn that has replaced the initial emphasis on the quantity of access services provided for audiences with sensory disabilities with an interest in the quality of these services. As is the case with an increasing number of publications resulting from this turn, the studies presented here adopt a scientific approach, rely heavily on technology (in this case, eye-tracking technology for the second part of the book) and have been developed within the overarching framework of a collaborative research project between academia and the industry: the Digital TV for All project.

Funded between 2010 and 2013 by the European Commission, the DTV4ALL project aimed at facilitating the availability of access services on digital TV in Europe and at making recommendations to relevant stakeholders for the improvement of these services. The partners ranged from broadcasters (RAI, Danish Broadcasting Corporation, Institut für Rundfunktechnik, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg and Televisió de Catalunya) to access services providers (Red Bee Media) and...

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