Quality Assessment in Audio Description: Lessons Learned From Interpreting

Quality Assessment in Audio Description: Lessons Learned From Interpreting

Louise Fryer
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5225-3.ch007
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Audio description (AD) is one of the younger modes of translation. It shares many similarities with interpreting, although AD users have specific needs because they are blind or partially sighted. As quality is of concern in both fields, this chapter explores the overlaps to see what can be learned for AD from research already carried out in interpreting. Macro and micro criteria suggested for each discipline are compared, and describer competencies are discussed in the context of AdlabPRO, a European research project that seeks to define the professional profile of an audio describer and develop training materials and courses. The chapter concludes that assessment protocols and rating scales developed for interpreting might be adopted for AD, after appropriate adaptation to accommodate areas where the fit is incomplete. These include synchrony and the need for the AD to be considered, not in isolation, but in relation to the existing audio elements of the source text (ST).
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Gouadec (2010, p. 270) argues, “Quality in translation is both the quality of an end-product (the translated material) and the quality of the transaction (the service provided).” He acknowledges that only the quality of the service-provision transaction has been benchmarked through a number of standards, the best known being EN 15038— a quality standard specifically written for the translation industry. “The basic idea is that the quality of the transaction is ‘good’ if and when both the provider and providee are satisfied with the translation provision process and, of course, its result” (Gouadec 2010, p. 270). This fits happily with the marketing model that Ingrid Kurz (1989, 1993, 2001) has applied in relation to quality in conference interpreting, to which the discussion will turn below. Yet, as observed above, there is a third aspect of quality to consider: namely, the skills and performance of the trainee whose work needs to be assessed for pedagogical purposes.

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