by Graciela Cuello
Two major events on audiovisual translation were held last October. Planning a trip that involves academic activities raises the question: is it worth the effort and stamina it takes? One of them was Languages & The Media, in Berlin, and the other was CITA, in Madrid.
In my opinion, a professional should go through that experience once in a lifetime to see where one’s standards stand in this long (or short) career path. It is a lonely trip, as it brings up rather striking questions: am I in line with my colleagues from other countries? Will I be fit to apply newly acquired knowledge to my present development? Are we up to the challenges of the 21st Century?
In our collective scene, students, translators, broadcasters, accessibility managers, reviewers, and researchers coexist with a common aim: to get empowered and deliver top-notch audiovisual end products. For anyone interested in attending an international conference but still doubtful about the importance of such an effort, I would say that these spaces provide a globalized framework of how new technologies are affecting the provision of these services globally. Audiovisual translators know how fast these trends are evolving.
Languages & The Media, held in Berlin on October 3-5, was an enriching three-day conference. A session on live subtitling, chaired by Elena Davitti, University of Surrey, UK, was a unique opportunity to listen to two keynote speakers: Zoe Moores, University of Roehampton, UK, with her superb presentation: From Television to Live Events – Guidelines for Increasing Accessibility Through Respeaking. The beauty of it lay in the studies they are currently carrying out on the core skills respeakers need, Respeaking and UK regulations.
Hayley Dawson, University of Roehampton, UK, followed with Identifying the Task-Specific Skills Required for Interlingual Respeaking: An Empirical Approach. The project she is currently involved in, which is part of the EU funded project Interlingual Live Subtitling for Access (ILSA), aims to create a training program to shape the training of future interlingual respeakers.
Two examples illustrate how important it is to make room in our busy lives to keep up with the latest studies being carried out in various audiovisual disciplines and being explained by researchers themselves. Striving for quality requires academia.
A second audiovisual experience was provided by CITA, Madrid, October 19th and 20th. Debates and panels on Spain’s audiovisual industry provided thought-provoking ground for reflection as well as subtle and not-so-subtle disagreement. The panel on Language Supervision in Audiovisual Translation (La supervisión linguística en la traducción audiovisual) brought together Candace Whitman’s experience as supervisor of all facets of foreign versions of American films – linguistic, theatrical, technical with renowned partners Victoria Tormo and Cristina Pérez, among others, shedding some light on the same situation in Spain.
Unlike Languages & The Media, where academia ruled, CITA’s panels focused on the audiovisual industry in Spain and its quality parameters, from first script reading to final delivery to distributors. Speakers shared how they work, what criteria they have for thumbs-up, and why they raise the localization bar higher by the minute.
There was a final concern present throughout the conference regarding competition, fees and market. “We are the market, and we make the audiovisual market” were triggering thoughts aiming to create associations in the defense of the audiovisual professional.
So, should we get on the plane or not? I guess the answer is Yes! In order to grasp this evolving industry it is essential that we attend international conferences. On our way back home we will have learned a little bit more on the importance of defending our profession and on how to get the end-client to value and respect our jobs.
This was a very good reason to leave our well-known reality for a few days and go global.