Interlingual respeaking: a potential new career path for language professionals?

Respeaking is a widely used technique to provide monolingual subtitling for the deaf and hard of hearing in many settings, especially on television. By contrast, interlingual respeaking (IRSP, i.e. respeaking between two languages whereby respeakers listen to live input in a source language and simultaneously translate it to a speech recognition software that turns it into written subtitles) is an emerging practice that is attracting interest both from industrial and academic stakeholders. It is an extremely challenging task crossing over disciplines such as subtitling, intralingual respeaking and (simultaneous) interpreting and involving human-machine interaction. The talk will firstly characterise IRSP, its potential areas of application and current demand for the service. Secondly, the talk will report on the insights gained from SMART (Shaping Multilingual Resources with Respeaking Technology), a project conducted by the universities of Surrey, UNINT and Vigo to assess the performance of subject groups with different backgrounds (simultaneous, consecutive, dialogue interpreting, subtitling and intralingual respeaking) to determine which skill set can best support the acquisition of IRSP competence. 26 subjects, all new comers to IRSP, were introduced to IRSP through the same 8-hour crash course and performed two IRSP tasks (English into Italian). Qualitative and quantitative data were collected, analysed and triangulated, namely micro-analysis of performances rated via the recent NTR model for IRSP quality assessment (Romero-Fresco & Pöchhacker 2017); users’ reflective comments; pre-/post- experiment questionnaire data. This pilot experiment is part of a wider project that will apply the same mixed-method approach to a population of professionals to address urgent questions for the industry, concerning the IRSP feasibility and how to train prospective IRSPeakers in a time-efficient manner. The talk will reflect on the implications of the study for language professionals, on IRSP as a potential career path and how findings can inform the design of effective courses.

Annalisa Sandrelli holds an MA in Conference Interpreting (English and Spanish) from the University of Trieste. Prior to joining UNINT as Lecturer in English Language and Translation in 2008, she taught at the universities of Bologna at Forlì and Trieste (2002-2007) and she was Marie Curie TMR Fellow (1999-2002) and Lector in Italian (1996-2002) at the University of Hull.

Over the years she has taught a variety of modules in Interpreting, Audiovisual Translation, Audio-description and Respeaking, which she first introduced at UNINT in 2014. She also taught English Respeaking on the first-ever MA in Media Accessibility (University of Macerata). She has published widely on Interpreting, Audiovisual Translation, and Computer Assisted Interpreter Training (CAIT) in international journals such as The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, Meta, Tradumàtica, Intralinea, Status Quaestionis; she recently co-edited a Special Issue of the Journal of Pragmatics (Elsevier) on participation in interpreter-mediated interaction. She has taken part in several EU-funded international projects (Building Mutual Trust, Qualitas, Understanding Justice, on legal interpreting) and national projects (EPIC- European Parliament Interpreting Corpus, University of Bologna).

After taking part in project SMART (Shaping Multilingual Access with Respeaking Technology), funded by the University of Surrey, she is now leading SMART2 (funded by UNINT), with the same partners (Surrey, UNINT and Vigo). She is also coordinating the DubTalk/TVTalk project on audiovisual translation (UNINT and University of Pisa). She is co-founder of the LARIM interpreting research group and of the Eurolect Observatory; she is also a member of the CLC (Centro di Ricerca Linguistica su Corpora) and of the Galician Observatory for Media Accessibility (GALMA). She has given talks and workshops on audiovisual translation in Italy and around the world, in both academic (international conferences) and non-academic settings (e.g. Venice International Film Festival, Turin “Accessible Documentary” course, etc.).