Research Outputs

Overview per Research Area

Between 2017 and 2020, project partners addressed the different Research Areas (RA) across the following Work Packages (WP):

  • WP1 (January-August 2017: Compilation of a catalogue of target group requirements;
  • WP2 (Sept 2017-February 2019): Compilation of a catalogue of existing technology and methods.
  • WP3 (March-November 2019): Standardisation and evaluation of methods and products.
  • WP4 (Dec 2019-March 2020): Development and implementation of a research-based curriculum and pedagogy in Barrier-free Communication.
  • WP5 (April 2020-Dec 2020): Consulting and standardisation of services in Barrier-free Communication.

Use the drop-down menus for an overview of the outputs per Research Area.

RA1: Audio Description and RA2: Combining Audio Description, Audio Introduction and Text-to-Speech (Read-aloud) Technology


WP1: Various tests were designed and implemented, several case studies were evaluated, and an anonymous online survey was conducted with the target population to assess the communication needs of younger – especially students – as well as older visually impaired and blind people according to the degree of their impairment. Additionally, a survey with visually impaired people was conducted to examine their use of text-to-speech systems.

WP2: Following the analysis of the existing guidelines for descriptive (Benecke 2014) and interpretative Audio Description (AD) (Fix 2005; Fryer 2016), and the analysis of existing AD scripts – currently almost exclusively available for feature films –, relevant linguistic findings were applied to the design of tests with the target groups. One test (Häberlin and Maurer 2017) was conducted to investigate participants’ (n=12) perception of the effectiveness of Audio Introduction for the comprehension of an educational film. The test results suggest that Audio Introduction (AI) – by anticipating contents that are only visually represented in the film and cannot be gathered from the film soundtrack – clearly improves the comprehension of relevant and often crucial information. Additionally, ad-hoc AIs were produced for a series of documentaries, educational and information films.

As far as the software-aided production of AD is concerned, the user manuals of three commercial AD software applications, i.e. Starfish Advantage, SwiftAdept, MAGPie, were created.

WP3: Further research was carried out to test interpretative AD (Fix 2005, Fryer 2016) vs. descriptive AD (Benecke 2014). Results from tests with the target group suggested that information transfer in interpretative AD is more effective. It seems that interpretative AD facilitates the understanding of the central message of a film. Moreover, blind participants evaluated the interpretative AD as more informative than the descriptive AD (Jekat & Carrer 2018, 56). These findings were confirmed in Storrer (2019). Results from Storrer’s (2019) study also showed that interpretative AD allowed for a better understanding of the film, even though participants of the target group claimed to prefer descriptive AD.

Given the increasing role of private providers of AD, several studies analysed Netflix-produced AD (e.g. Scaburri Schurter et al. 2019, Castelli & Jovanovich 2019). Scaburri Schurter et al. (2019) found for example that, contrary to Netflix rules, interpretative elements as well as the introduction of the viewer’ perspective are used in Netflix-produced AD.

Additional tests were carried out to analyse AIs. Results confirm the findings obtained in WP2, i.e. in most of the cases, AI facilitates film comprehension. AI should however be considered as complementary to AD and should not replace AD. Furthermore, since AIs are primarily delivered orally (as it is AD), linguistic findings regarding AD should be applied when creating AIs, e.g. use of present tense, short sentences instead of complex sentence structures, accurate descriptions (cf. Benecke 2014).

As far as the software-aided production of AD is concerned, an additional tool was evaluated, i.e. Frazier (Video to Voice n.d.). Frazier is a web-based software application with integrated text-to-speech technology. The production process using Frazier is associated with time savings and reduced costs. In addition, synthetic voices offer the opportunity to make audio description more widely available.

Considering the increasing demand for AD (especially for educational films), these aspects seem particularly relevant (Gerster 2018). An evaluation of Frazier by advanced Master students confirmed that the tool is very user-friendly and intuitive. Frazier is being used in the Barrier-free Communication / Audiovisual Translation profile (MA in Applied Linguistics) at the ZHAW. New features will be continuously assessed (e.g. multilingual productions through the use of machine translation).

WP4: ZHAW modules on AD were assessed by the ZHAW team in collaboration with an expert from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF). Building on this cooperation, both internal and external lecturers, researchers and practice partners were involved in course design and delivery. In the spring semester of 2020, a new profile (Barrier-free Communication / Audiovisual Translation) was introduced in the Master’s programme in Applied Linguistics (Specialisation in Professional Translation), focusing on in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge transfer in the field of AD (and other areas such as Easy-to-Read and live-subtitling).

Among the core skills that should be developed in AD training are textual and writing skills (in particular, production of comprehensible texts). Trainees should also be offered the opportunity to gain knowledge of language and/or country-specific AD guidelines. This is particularly important when translating AD scripts.

WP5: An ever-growing demand for expertise in AD production at higher education level in Switzerland has been clearly noticed throughout the Project. Based on the work accomplished within RA1 and RA2, consultancy and expert services are offered by the ZHAW team. Furthermore, ZHAW project members have been actively contributing to the preliminary activities of the ZHAW Barrier-free Communication Lab. In collaboration with research and practice partners, as well as target groups, the Lab’s goal is to support public institutions, organisations and private companies in implementing individual solutions in accessible communication.

References

  • Benecke, Bernd. 2014. Audiodeskription als partielle Translation. Modell und Methode. Berlin: LIT.
  • Castelli, Isabel; Djiana Jovanovich. 2019. “Analisi comparativa dell’audiodescrizione RAI e Netflix di Suburra – La Serie (2017).” Unpublished Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2019.
  • Fix, Ulla, Ed. 2005. Hörfilm. Bildkompensation durch Sprache. Berlin: Schmidt Verlag GmbH & Co.
  • Fryer, Louise. 2016. An Introduction to Audio Description. London: Routledge.Gerster, Marina. 2018. “Softwaregestützte Audiodeskription mit Frazier.” Unpublished Master’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2018.
  • Häberlin, Daniel; Maurer, Corinne. 2017. “Verstehen, ohne zu sehen. Die Audioeinführung und ihr Beitrag zum Verständnis eines Sachfilms.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.
  • Jekat, Susanne J.; Carrer, Luisa. 2018. “A Reception Study of Descriptive vs. Interpretative Audio Description”. In Proceedings of the Second Barrier-Free Communication Conference 2018, Geneva, 9-10 November 2018. Geneva, Switzerland: University of Geneva, 54–56. https://bfc.unige.ch/files/8415/4171/9232/Jekat_Carrer_BFC2018.pdf.
  • Scaburri Schurter, Paola; Studer, Gina; Zwahlen, Julia. 2019. “Deutschsprachige Audiodeskription bei Netflix. Eine exemplarische Analyse anhand der Serien Dogs of Berlin und Bad Banks.” Unpublished Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2019.
  • Storrer, Monika. 2019. “Deskriptive vs. interpretative Audiodeskription: Eine empirische Untersuchung mit Blinden und Menschen mit Sehbehinderung.” Master’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2019.
  • Video to Voice. n.d. “Text-to-Speech Audio Description.” https://www.videotovoice.com/en/text-to-speech-audio-description/ (retrieved 12/02/2021).

 

RA3: Live-Subtitling: Respeaking and Speech-to-Text Interpreting via Keyboard


WP1: An online survey with hearing-impaired and deaf people was designed and conducted in German-speaking Switzerland (Jekat and Lintner 2018). Further data on the structures of information transfer in Live-Subtitling were also collected in French-speaking Switzerland and compared to Live-Subtitling in German-speaking Switzerland (cf. Scherrer and Lehner 2017).

Additionally, Live-Subtitling for sign language users with sign language as their first language (L1) was assessed via an online survey with the target group. Results suggest that:

a) professional sign language interpreters best provide access to and exchange of information with people who have no knowledge of sign language as they interpret in both directions (sign to spoken, spoken to sign).

b) reading live subtitles can be a barrier for the target group, since transcribed spoken language entails both a change of mode (from spoken to written) and, frequently, a change of language (from L1 sign language to L2 spoken language);

c) when Speech-to-Text Interpreting is provided via keyboard, sign language users would need additional speed writing skills during conversations (e.g. in a classroom setting) whenever they wish to ask or answer a question.

WP2: Sample studies on the production of live subtitles via either Speech-to-Text Systems (i.e. through Respeaking with FAB Subtitler Live) or via keyboard (with Text-on-Top) were carried out. The aim of these studies was, on the one hand, to assess which method is better suited for university teaching; on the other hand, to establish how existing software can support Live-Subtitling. Results revealed differences as well as similarities between the two methods. For instance, both methods can be applied remotely via video conferencing software. In this case, speakers in a classroom setting can be subtitled, provided they are connected to an appropriate microphone, i.e. spontaneous questions or comments would be missed by hearing impaired students.

WP3: Standardisation of live-subtitling was based on recent research results, which indicated that live-subtitling via keyboard or speech-to-text appears to be as complex a process as simultaneous interpretation (cf. Jekat 2019a,b; Jekat 2021, forth.). The overall insight is that 1:1 transfer is not possible due to time pressure, redundant utterances in live speech or structural differences between two languages (cf. Jekat & Dutoit 2014, “condensation matters”). Therefore, interpretation strategies, such as anticipation or decalage, have to be taken into consideration in live-subtitling. Other issues include the comparison of the central methods for live-subtitling (keyboard vs. speech-to-text) and the use of augmented reality features in live-subtitling. As to the comparison of keyboard vs. speech-to-text methods, Jekat (2021, forth.) claimed that both methods should be grouped under the term “written interpretation” since, in both cases, the underlying transfer process is very close to simultaneous interpretation (cf. also Gassner 2017). The first empirical study on the comparison of live-subtitling output texts via keyboard vs. speech-to-text was carried out by Eichmeyer-Hell (2021, forth.). She found out that speech-to-text live-subtitling (also called respeaking) provided more effective information transfer than live-subtitling via keyboard. Further research on this topic seems to be desirable. As to the effect of augmented reality feature in live-subtitling, Dreier (2017) showed that access to and reception of live music broadcasts by people with hearing impairments is very limited because live-subtitles of songs mostly consist of previously stored song lyrics, even though in some cases lyrics are personalised or changed in the actual broadcast (e.g. in the Swiss broadcast «I schänk Dir es lied»). Dreier (2019) also claimed that features of augmented reality like colours related to different moods (e.g. pink for a romantic mood) of a melody, or visual representations of the rhythm of a song might enhance access to live subtitled music broadcasts.            

WP4: As there is a growing market for live-subtitling in Switzerland, research concerning the training of live-subtitlers at the ZHAW was combined with insights from practice. Training was designed, performed and evaluated in collaboration with SwissTXT and Blick.tv, who were looking to employ highly trained live subtitlers.

Professional training includes:

  • A basic introduction to the theory of interpretation, including interpretation strategies and the theory of live-subtitling. As already mentioned above, live subtitling is as complex a process as simultaneous interpretation due to the parallel monitoring of the output combined with corrections via keyboard. Distinctive aspects concerning live-subtitling, on the one hand, and, on the other, classic subtitling and sign language interpreting were also discussed. In fact, the processing of live-subtitles may pose a problem for sign language users with sign language as L1, who often prefer sign language interpreting, or for people with low competence in the local language, who in turn might prefer classical subtitling with less text (cf. Jekat 2019a; Zbinden 2019a,b).
  • A basic introduction to quality management including NER Star, used by SwissTXT, and QUIT, based on project-related research (cf. Jekat & Dutoit 2014).
  • A broad introduction to language technology and software available for the production of live-subtitles. Trainees regularly used this software during the course.
  • Knowledge concerning the heterogeneity of the target group, including authentic input from members of the target group (inclusive and participative training, cf. Jekat 2019b).
  • Input on practical methods and solutions used both at SwissTXT –– as a central provider of live-subtitling in Switzerland –– and at Blick.tv (cf. Zbinden, 2019a,b).  
  • Memory training for interpreters, professional attitude, job management, ethics of interpretation (cf. Jekat 2019c).

The second part of the course consisted in implementing the contents from part one (i.e. theory to practice). Participants had to perform live-subtitling via speech-to-text (also called respeaking) or keyboard for at least 90 hours, based on the working conditions set by SwissTXT (i.e. remote live-subtitling via server with and without visual connection to the respective event or lecture). In this phase, candidates had to apply and to reflect on the interpretation strategies presented in the theoretical part of the course.

The course assessment involved two research-informed short papers on live-subtitling, and a 5-minute live-subtitling session, both evaluated by the ZHAW (according to the following criteria: adequacy of information transfer, loss of information, consistency of the whole text, errors).

WP5: The concept of the above-described professional training course was used for the standardisation and implementation of further courses. Most of the graduates were eventually offered a job in the field.

References

  • Dreier, Nathalie. 2017. “Zugang zu Musiksendungen für Menschen mit Hörbeeinträchtigung. Beschaffenheit und Rezeption von Musikuntertiteln im Schweizer Fernsehen”. Master’s dissertation, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), Switzerland, 2018.
  • Dreier, Nathalie. 2019. “Conveying music to the deaf and hard of hearing – potential ways to enhance the audiovisual experience”. Research proposal for a doctoral dissertation. Unpublished Paper, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), Switzerland.
  • Eichmeyer-Hell, Daniela. 2021, forthcoming. Speech recognition (Respeaking) vs. the Conventional Method (Keyboard): A quality-oriented comparison of speech-to-text interpreting techniques and addressee preferences. In Proceedings of the 3rd Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication (BfC 2020), Online Conference, June 29–July 4, 2020, edited by Susanne J. Jekat, Steffen Puhl, Luisa Carrer, and Alexa Lintner. Winterthur: ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences. https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-3001.
  • Hartmann, Seraina; Holenweger, Melanie. 2017. “Sprachliche Phänomene in der deutschen Standardsprache bei Gehörlosen. Eine Untersuchung struktureller Unterschiede zwischen der deutschen Gebärdensprache und der deutschen Standardsprache am Beispiel von Blogbeiträgen, geschrieben von Gehörlosen.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.
  • Jekat, Susanne J. 2014. “Respeaking: Syntaktische Aspekte des Transfers von gesprochener Sprache in geschriebene Sprache.” In Sprache barrierefrei gestalten: Perspektiven aus der Angewandten Linguistik, edited by Susanne J. Jekat, Heike Elisabeth Jüngst, Klaus Schubert and Claudia Villiger, 87-108. Berlin: Frank & Timme.
  • Jekat, Susanne J. 2019a. “Theorie des Schriftdolmetschens”. Presentation slides, “Schriftdolmetschen” module, MA in Applied Linguistics, Autumn Term 2019, ZHAW/IUED: Winterthur.
  • Jekat, Susanne J. 2019b. “Menschen mit Hörbehinderungen und ihr Zugang zu Informationen”. Presentation slides, “Schriftdolmetschen” module, MA in Applied Linguistics, Autumn Term 2019, ZHAW/IUED: Winterthur.
  • Jekat, Susanne J. 2019c. “Aspekte des Dolmetschverhaltens”. Presentation slides, “Schriftdolmetschen” module, MA in Applied Linguistics, Autumn Term 2019, ZHAW/IUED: Winterthur.
  • Jekat, Susanne J. 2021, forthcoming. “Schriftdolmetschen”. In Handlexikon Hörgeschädigtenpädagogik, edited by Thomas Kaul and Annette Leonhardt. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
  • Jekat, Susanne J.; Dutoit, Lilian. 2014. “Evaluation of live-subtitles.” In Subtitling and Intercultural Communication European Languages and Beyond, edited by Beatrice Garzelli and Michaela Baldo, 329-339. Pisa: ETS Verlag.
  • Scherrer, Corinne; Lehner, Andrea. 2017. “Respeaking Löschung, Einfügung und Ersetzung in deutsch- und französischsprachigen Live-Untertiteln. Vergleich einer Sendung auf SRF und RTS.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.
  • Zbinden, Lilian. 2019a. “SwissTXT ACCESS SERVICES. Untertitelung und Schriftdolmetschen”. Presentation slides, “Schriftdolmetschen” module, MA in Applied Linguistics, Autumn Term 2019, ZHAW/IUED: Winterthur.
  • Zbinden, Lilian. 2019b. “SwissTXT ONLINE Schriftdolmetschen”. Presentation slides, “Schriftdolmetschen” module, MA in Applied Linguistics, Autumn Term 2019, ZHAW/IUED: Winterthur.

RA4: Easy-to-Read and Plain Language


WP1: The communication needs of people with temporary cognitive impairments were assessed through an online questionnaire. Five case studies were considered: temporary cognitive impairment a) due to multiple sclerosis, b) due to Crohn’s disease, c) due to stroke, d) latent cognitive capacity. People without cognitive impairments (e.g. with very low knowledge of the local language) were tested against their ability to focus attention on one specific visual or textual stimulus.

Furthermore, several corpus analyses were conducted to:

  • investigate information loss in the simplified versions of the party programmes of the German federal elections (Jekat et al. 2017; Krähenbühl 2018);
  • assess the application of Easy-to-Read guidelines in texts of a political nature (D’Agostino et al. 2016; Schüpbach 2017);
  • compare news articles in Easy-to-Read, Plain and Citizen-oriented Language (Schüpbach 2017);
  • evaluate the comprehensibility of texts in Easy-to-Read Language for L2 speakers of German at the language levels A1, A2 and B1 (Wohlgensinger 2017);
  • investigate the image-text relationship in Easy-to-Read texts (Parli & Schmid 2017);
  • analyse the loss of information during the translation of medical texts into Easy-to-Read Language (Parli & Schmid 2017; Nüssli 2018);
  • investigate the representation of the concept of Leichte Sprache (or Easy-to-read Language) in the Swiss-German press (D’Agostino 2018).

WP2: The corpus analyses conducted within Research Area 4 revealed that target texts in Easy-to-read German (Bütikhofer & Chau 2019; Ferrante et al. 2020) and Italian (Carrer 2021, forth.) often present several inconsistencies at the linguistic level, as well as at macro and micro-typographical level, ranging from layout issues to ineffective text-image relationship (Manser et al. 2020; Carrer 2021, forth.). Ferrante et al. (2020) concluded that whether and to what extent non-adherence to Easy-to-read guidelines has an impact on comprehension by the target groups depends largely on each individual’s type of disability. Similarly, Carrer’s (2021, forth.) experimental study confirmed that, on the one hand, standards for Easy-to-read Italian (Inclusion Europe 2009) are essential to guide the translator’s work. On the other hand, their claim to universal validity is indeed problematic, as the extent to which a language construction is functional varies depending on the target communicative (cf. also Balling 2013; Bock 2018; Bredel & Maaß 2019). Therefore, high comprehensibility can only be achieved through a careful consideration of the target communicative situation.

Special Education teachers in the French-speaking Canton of Vaud were asked to complete a survey about their knowledge of Easy-to-Read and their opinion on its potential in the classroom (Casalegno, Bouillon & Rodríguez Vázquez 2019). A series of interviews and observations were also carried out to draft a report on the current education system (Casalegno, Bouillon & Rodríguez Vázquez 2020) as part of a broader investigation into Easy-to-Read materials' effectiveness in improving primary school students' reading comprehension.

The new Neural Machine Translation (NMT) paradigm was also explored as potentially efficient tool to facilitate access to Easy Language (EL) texts to larger segments of the population, particularly when resources are limited. A series of comparative studies about Easy Language NMT across different text domains and languages were conducted by the UNIGE team (Kaplan et al., 2019; Kaplan, 2021; Rodríguez Vázquez et al. 2021, forthcoming). Findings showed that DeepL is the most performant system, and that Spanish and administrative texts in particular seem to present more challenges. The evaluation of the MT output in terms of linguistic accessibility indicates that the highest number of issues are found at a lexical and stylistic level. Although MT systems do not generate EL texts of acceptable quality yet, our study highlights the potential of this tool, as well as the challenges of creating multilingual content that is accessible for all.

WP3: Building on results from WP2, Jekat et al. (2020) advocated a change of perspective in Easy-to-read Language research. More specifically, they recommended that the written language production by members of the target groups be systematically analysed in the context of current Easy-to-read Language guidelines and text comprehensibility research. Exemplary text analyses (Jekat et al. 2020) have shown that primary target groups have higher writing skills than it is normally assumed. These preliminary findings provide new insights into how to produce texts in Easy-to-read German and Italian that are (and look) as close to Standard Language as possible at both macro and micro-typographical levels. It is also intended to ultimately contribute to reducing stigmatisation of texts in Easy-to-read Language and, thus, foster a more positive perception of Easy-to-read Language and its potential (cf. also Maaß 2020).

Furthermore, Prof. Susanne J. Jekat cooperated with DIN Spec for the development of a DIN Norm (i.e. standardisation) for Leichte Sprache (or Easy-to-read German).

Finally, ZHAW team members contributed to the Swiss chapter of a forthcoming handbook on Easy-to-read Languages in Europe (Parpan et al. 2021, forth.). This was a very relevant joint effort to evaluate and standardise current methods and initiatives in Easy-to-Read Language research, education and training, and practice Swiss-wide.

WP4: In the spring term of 2020, the MA profile in Barrier-free Communication / Audiovisual Translation was introduced. The ZHAW project members actively contributed to this restructuring, thus responding to the changing demands of the profession. At the end of the programme, students receive the following title: MA in Applied Linguistics, Specialisation in Barrier-free Communication. The Barrier-free Communication / Audiovisual Translation profile includes one Barrier-free Communication module per semester (12 ECTS in total). Theory and practice sessions are dedicated to several BfC methods, such as Audio Description, Audio Introduction, Written Interpretation and Easy-to-read and Plain languages. A 90-hour final project allows students to specialise in one BfC method. At the end of the programme, students acquire both theoretical and practical knowledge and are ready for the profession.

In 2019, a theoretical introductory course in Leichte Sprache was also developed for the newly founded ZHAW ILC Institute of Language Competence.

WP5: An ever-growing demand for expertise in Easy-to-read Language translation in Switzerland has been clearly noticed throughout the Project. Based on the work accomplished within Research Area 4, consultancy services and professional development initiatives are regularly offered by ZHAW project members. Latest training activities on Easy-to-read and Plain Languages include workshops at the Department of Justice of the Canton of Zurich, Lionbridge Switzerland and the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER). Furthermore, ZHAW project members have been actively contributing to the preliminary activities of the ZHAW Barrier-free Communication Lab. In collaboration with research and practice partners, as well as target groups, the Lab’s goal is to support public institutions, organisations and private companies in implementing individual solutions in accessible communication.

References

  • Balling, Laura W. 2013. Does Good Writing Mean Good Reading? An Eye-tracking Investigation of the Effect of Writing Advice on Reading. Fachsprache, 35(1-2), 2-23. https://doi.org/10.24989/fs.v35i1-2.1340.
  • Bock, Bettina M. 2018. “Leichte Sprache” – Kein Regelwerk. Sprachwissenschaftliche Ergebnisse und Praxisempfehlungen aus dem LeiSa-Projekt. University of Leipzig. https://ul.qucosa.de/api/qucosa%3A31959/attachment/ATT-0/  [retrieved 13/01/2021].
  • Bredel, Ursula; Maaß, Christiane. 2019. Leichte Sprache. In Handbuch Barrierefreie Kommunikation, edited by Christiane Maaß and Isabel Rink, 251-267. Berlin: Frank & Timme.
  • Bütikofer, Beatriz; Chau, Thuy Duyen. 2019. “Das ist mein Recht. Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz in Leichter Sprache: Qualitative Textanalyse von verständniserschwerenden Textstellen und deren Auswirkungen auf das Textverständnis von Menschen mit Behinderung”. Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2019.
  • Calzado, Maura; Steffen, Jennifer. 2016. “Die Bedeutung des Gütesiegels von Inclusion Europe.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2016.
  • Carrer, Luisa. 2021, forthcoming. Translating into Easy Italian. An analysis of health-related texts and their impact on comprehension by people with intellectual disabilities. Graduate Papers in Applied Linguistics. Winterthur: ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften. http://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-2804
  • Casalegno, Elisa; Bouillon, Pierrette; Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia. 2019. “A Survey on the Learning Materials for Children with Special Needs: Building a Case for Easy-to-Read in the Classroom.” Presented at: Easy-to-Read Language Research (Klaara 2019). Helsinki, Finland. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:123519
  • Casalegno, Elisa; Bouillon, Pierrette; Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia. 2020. An Overview of Inclusive Education in the Canton of Vaud: Legislation, Organisation and Scientific Evidence [Project report]. University of Geneva. Geneva, Switzerland. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:144566
  • D’Agostino, Dario; Lintner, Alexa; Soland, Corinne. 2016. “Gendergerechtes Schreiben im Kontext der Leichten Sprache.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2016.
  • D’Agostino, Dario. 2018. “Der Deutschschweizer Mediendiskurs um die Leichte Sprache. Eine linguistische Diskursanalyse.” Master’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2018.
  • Ferrante, Sara; Servideo, Linda; Superti-Furga, Carlotta. 2020. “Ko ro na wi rus. Eine Analyse von Informationen und Hygienemassnahmen in Leichter Sprache während der Corona-Krise.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2020.
  • Inclusion Europe. 2009. Informazioni per tutti. Linee guida europee per rendere l’informazione facile da leggere e da capire per tutti. https://www.leggofacile.it/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Informazionipertutti.pdf [retrieved 01/02/2021].
  • Jekat, Susanne J. 2019. Übersetzung in Leichte Sprache: Informationsveränderung und Informationsverlust. In ASTTI Jahrestagung: Übersetzen und Dolmetschen in anderen Kontexten, Book of Abstracts, Bern, Switzerland, 15 November 2019.
  • Jekat, Susanne J.; Hagmann, David; Lintner, Alexa. 2020. Texte in Leichter Sprache: Entwicklungsstand und Hinweise zur Qualitätsoptimierung. In Fachkommunikation – gelenkt, geregelt, optimiert, edited by Franziska Heidrich and Klaus Schubert, 175–194. Hildesheim: Universitätsverlag.
  • Jekat, Susanne J.; Germann, Esther; Lintner, Alexa; Soland, Corinne. 2017. “Parteiprogramme in Leichter Sprache: Eine korpuslinguistische Annäherung.” In “Leichte Sprache” im Spiegel theoretischer und angewandter Forschung, edited by Ulla Fix, Bettina Bock and Daisy Lange, 229-246. Berlin: Frank & Timme.
  • Kaplan, Abigail; Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia; Bouillon, Pierrette. 2019. “Measuring the Impact of Neural Machine Translation on Easy-to-Read Texts: An Exploratory Study.” Presented at: Conference on Easy-to-Read Language Research (Klaara 2019). Helsinki (Finland). https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:123648
  • Kaplan, Abigail. 2021. “Suitability of Neural Machine Translation for Producing Linguistically Accessible Text: Exploring the Effects of Pre-Editing on Easy-to-Read Administrative Documents.” Master’s thesis, supervised by Silvia Rodríguez Vázquez, University of Geneva, Switzerland (UNIGE), 2021.
  • Krähenbühl, Maria. 2018. “Informationsveränderung durch Übersetzung aus Standard- in Leichte Sprache. Eine quantitative und qualitative Analyse von Bundestagswahlprogrammen am Beispiel Flüchtlingspolitik.” Master’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2018.
  • Maaß, Christiane. 2020. Easy Language – Plain Language – Easy Language Plus. Balancing Comprehensibility and Acceptability (Easy – Plain – Accessible, Vol. 3). Berlin: Frank & Timme.
  • Manser, Julia; Peter, Layla; Sidoli, Fabienne. 2020. “Bildpraxis in Leichte-Sprache-Texten: Eine Korpusanalyse zur Verwendung von Bildern in der Leichten Sprache.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2020.
  • Nüssli, Nathalie Dominique. 2018. Übersetzen in die Leichte Sprache: Übersetzungsprobleme, Übersetzungslösungen und Auswirkungen auf das Textverständnis von Menschen mit Downsyndrom. Eine qualitative Analyse am Beispiel von Texten zum Thema Gesundheit. Graduate Papers in Applied Linguistics. Winterthur: Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften. http://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-3344.
  • Parli, Michelle; Schmid, Janine. 2017. “Alles klar? Informationsverluste in Texten in Leichter Sprache zum Thema Schwangerschaft.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.
  • Parpan-Blaser, Anne; Girard-Groeber; Simone; Antener, Gabriela; Arn, Christina; Baumann, Rita; Caplazi, Alexandra; Carrer, Luisa; Diacquenod, Cindy; Lichtenauer, Annette; Sterchi, Andrea. 2021, forthcoming. Easy Language in Switzerland. In Easy Language in Europe, edited by Ulla Vanhatalo and Camilla Lindholm. Berlin: Frank & Timme.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia; Kaplan, Abigail; Bouillon, Pierrette; Griebel, Cornelia; Azari, Razieh. 2021, forthcoming. "La traduction automatique des textes faciles à lire et à comprendre (FALC) : une étude comparative’. META Journal. Special issue ‘Les nouvelles méthodologies de la traductologie de corpus : La révolution empirique en traductologie", edited by Meng Ji and Michael Oakes.
  • Schüpbach, Alex. 2017. “Verständlichkeit von Abstimmungsunterlagen. Ein Vergleich der Erläuterungen des Bundesrates und der easy-vote-Abstimmungshilfe mit dem Kontinuum Leichte Sprache – Einfache Sprache – Bürgernahe Sprache.” Master’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.
  • Wohlgensinger, Céline. 2017. “Wie leicht ist Leichte Sprache? Eine Masterarbeit über das Verständnis von Texten in Leichter Sprache für L2-SprecherInnen des Deutschen auf den Sprachniveaus A1, A2, und B2.” Master’s thesis, supervised by a, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.

RA5: Sign Language and Sign Language Interpreting


WP1: An online survey was developed in collaboration with the University of Geneva project team (cf. RA6 and RA7) to survey the target population and gain an overview of existing support services. Necessarily, survey questions had to be made available not only in all national languages (i.e. German, French and Italian), but also in all Swiss sign languages (i.e. German-Swiss sign language DSGS, Langue des signes Suisse Romande LSF-SR, Lingua dei Segni della Svizzera Italiana LIS-SI). The recording of the sign language videos included in the questionnaire (which was provided in three languages) was completed at the end of 2017 – taking longer than initially planned. The survey was online during a period of 60 days in February and March 2018 (see). First results were presented at the 2018 BFC conference in Geneva and are reported on this webpage (cf. Hohenstein et al. 2018; Rodríguez Vázquez et al. 2018).

WP2: The University of Geneva team (cf. RA6 and RA7) and the ZHAW team have been collaborating closely on RA5, along with several partners outside the project. In particular, the project teams have pooled resources with programme directors and researchers of the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education (HfH) in Zurich and the Swiss Federation of the Deaf (SGB-FFS). In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Daniela Nussbaumer (HfH), and under consultation of the SGB-FSS, a joint project proposal on the educational effectiveness of integrated schooling for deaf and hearing-impaired persons is planned to be submitted in 2019.

A Crowd funding scheme was developed in order to raise support and money on Science Booster for deepening qualitative interviews and is due to go online in November 2018. The preparation of the Science Booster campaign was supported with funding from ZHAW Research & Development.

WP3: Following the 2018 nationwide survey on deaf and hearing-impaired persons in Switzerland (cf. WP1), respondents who indicated their willingness to participate in follow-up interviews were contacted in 2019. With the help of the crowd funding campaign “Access to Education for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired”, carried out from November 2018 to January 2019, funding for DSGS Sign language interviews was collected. In-depth narrative interviews on linguistic and educational biographies were conducted with 6 female deaf persons in 2019, and with 6 male deaf persons in 2020. Questions targeted language acquisition, school and university education, opinions regarding good practices in education and barriers experienced in different areas of life.

Results suggest that a controversy still exists between deaf and hard of hearing persons as to whether the standard language should be learned first as a grammatical basis, or whether spoken and sign language should be acquired simultaneously. Furthermore, the current practice in our educational system allows for neither German nor sign language to be acquired correctly and competently, because the grammars of both languages are not taught as separate subjects.

The largest difference between deaf and hearing-impaired students is their linguistic diversity. While students with residual hearing ability may succeed thanks to a combination of hearing aids and lip reading, deaf students relying on Sign Language (SL) as a primary medium of instruction may prefer SL interpreting. However, it turns out that an exclusive use of SL in university teaching is not enough in order to enable full access to academic contents and discussions. Rather, an approach amplifying access and comprehensibility for deaf and hard of hearing students’ needs to combine SL interpreting, SL supplementary explanations, media in written communication modes such as live subtitling, speech-to-text translation and captions for visual materials and videos.

In addition, it became clear that much of the digital possibilities available have not yet been exploited to their full extent. In particular, this is the case where combinations of SL and captions, virtual and augmented reality, or live subtitling could be employed to make content available in multilingual and multimodal forms. Therefore, current research sets a focus on the ways sign, spoken and written languages can be combined in teaching and learning settings with the help of digital tools.

WP4: The first implementation of a new BA programme on Linguistic Integration and DaF/DaZ (BA SI) at the ZHAW School of Applied Linguistics has started in Fall 2020. Christiane Hohenstein introduced intercultural and inclusive communication with a focus on academic access for deaf and hearing-impaired students with sign language. Further aspects will be included in the Fall semester 2021. Students of the BA programmes at the ZHAW School of Applied Linguistics are encouraged to choose topics in the field of academic accessibility and sign language.

In the interprofessional module on health care and communication (School of Health Sciences, taught by Ch. Hohenstein), one student group chose communication issues with deaf patients as a topic.

The start of the second FAGS (AGSA) continuing education programme for deaf and hearing-impaired teachers at the HfH University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education (which was completed for the first time in January 2019) has been postponed to 2022. Collaboration in teaching and supervision will be continued.

WP5: Network activities took place with colleagues from the HfH University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education. Networking is also achieved by participating in the sign language network.

Furthermore, Christiane Hohenstein is participating in the newly established EU-Network COST action LITHME, Language in the Human-Machine Era, as a contributor to Work Group 3, “Language Rights”. The subthemes of minority languages, assistive technologies and disaster response are all relevant to Sign language users.

Networking and collaboration with the Swiss Federation of the Deaf SGB-FSS was continued through Christiane Hohenstein’s membership in the scientific advisory board. Planning for transformative and inclusive science events for the community of deaf and hard of hearing/hearing-impaired persons and fostering collaboration between deaf and non-deaf researchers are all important items on the agenda of the Federation’s scientific advisory board.

References

  • Hohenstein, Christiane; Zavgorodnia, Larysa. 2021, forthcoming. “Inclusive schooling paving the road to higher education. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Scientific and Expert Conference “The results of (un)supportive environment”, Dodir and University of Zagreb, Croatia, November 21, 2019.
  • Hohenstein, Christiane; Zavgorodnia, Larysa. 2021, forthcoming. “The Role of Sign Language in Tertiary Education”. In Proceedings of the 3rd Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication (BfC 2020), Online Conference, June 29–July 4, 2020, edited by Susanne J. Jekat, Steffen Puhl, Luisa Carrer, and Alexa Lintner. Winterthur: ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences. https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-3001.
  • Hohenstein, ChristianeZavgorodnia, LarysaNäf, ManuelaRodríguez Vázquez, SilviaBouillon, PierretteStrasly Irene. 2018. “Status quo of inclusive access to higher education. A focus on deaf and hearing-impaired individuals in German-speaking Switzerland”. Paper presented at the 2nd Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication: Accessibility in educational settings, University of Geneva, November 9-10, 2018https://bfc.unige.ch/files/1715/4171/9202/Hohenstein_et_al_BFC2018.pdf.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez SilviaBouillon, PierretteStrasly, IreneHohenstein, ChristianeZavgorodnia, LarysaNäf, Manuela. 2018. “Roadblocks to Inclusive Education and Career Development for People with Hearing Impairments in French and Italian Speaking Switzerland.” Paper presented at the 2nd Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication: Accessibility in educational settings, University of Geneva, November 9-10, 2018https://bfc.unige.ch/files/6615/4171/9554/RodriguezVazquez_et_al_BFC2018.pdf.
  • Hohenstein, ChristianeZavgorodnia, Larysa. 2018. “Bildungszugänge mit Gebärdensprache(n) für Gehörlose und Hörbeeinträchtigte.” Poster presented at the 13. Internationale Tagung der Funktionalen Pragmatik, ZHAW, Winterthur, October 4-6, 2018.
  • Hohenstein, Christiane and Patty Shores. 2016. “Sociolinguistics: Register in Sign Languages.” In The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia, edited by Patrick Boudreault and Genie Gertz, 907-910. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781483346489.n291.

RA6: Speech to Sign Language Translation


WP1: The aim of WP1 was to select a use case for speech-to-sign machine translation. Today, hospitals have to increasingly deal with patients who have no language in common with the staff. In a common project with the HUG (Geneva University Hospital), we developed a tool for translating medical dialogues which directly addresses the needs of the hospital: a tool that is reliable, secure and is easily portable to less resource languages (BabelDr). BabelDr is like a translation memory (Gerlach et al. 2018), which guarantees reliability. The main feature is that doctors can speak freely and the system will map the recognition results to one of the core sentences of the translation memory (see Boujon et al. 2018). The aim of this RA is to add sign language (LSF-CH) as target language and see if a tool like this can improve accessibility and satisfaction in hospitals and to compare human videos with videos made with a virtual avatar.

WP2: The aim of WP2 is to define a methodology for translating to LSF-CH the core sentences of BabelDr with videos made by sign language interpreters and virtual avatars (JASigning, David and Bouillon, 2018, 2018b) and use it to produce two versions of the BabelDr system that can be compared in real settings.  This work was described in Strasly et al. 2018 and Bouillon et al. 201consisted in putting the BabelDR system online, with the final sign language videos.

WP3: The aim of WP3 was to put the BabelDr system online. This included the final sign language videos that were produced by our translation team. The system is available under the "Demos and Resources" tab at: https://babeldr.unige.ch/. Explanatory videos are available on the project website.

WP4: The aim of WP4 was to make resources available to the community. The outcome of this deliverable includes: 1) a reference corpus of human translations of medical questions/instructions into sign language to be used at the reception desk at the Geneva Hospital and for the anamnesis of patients in case of abdominal pain (about 2'000 medical questions have been translated to date); 2) the same corpus was then used to create a set of videos using a virtual human, the JASigning avatar; 3) in order to have the avatar work,  a specific code was used and a grammar created (750 signs were coded in HamNoSys (Hanke 2004) and grammar rules produced to generate the SiGML code).

WP5: The aim of WP5 was to compare the two sign language versions of BabelDr (the one with human videos and the one with the JASigning avatar) in a hospital context, and in particular the results of a survey of the deaf community about the accessibility of videos (Bouillon et al, 2021; David et al, 2021). The evaluation of these two versions of BabelDr will be the focus of Irene Strasly and Bastien David's doctoral theses.

References

RA7: Accessibility of Digital Documents


WP1. During the WP1 period, we focused on two areas:

  • Accessibility in translation technology: A computer-assisted translation tool review was conducted to explore whether current translation technology meets accessibility requirements and can therefore be useful to translators using assistive technologies, such as screen readers or braille refreshable displays. A panorama of the state of the art was presented in Rodríguez Vázquez (2017), suggesting that current software used by translators is far from being fully accessible to visually impaired translators.
  • Access to higher education in Switzerland: A multilingual online survey was developed in collaboration with the ZHAW team (cf. RA5) targeting individuals with hearing and visual impairments, their families and professionals working with them. The main goal was to elicit data on the communication-related barriers that the aforementioned population groups are currently experiencing in Switzerland, from primary education to employment. The design of the survey was carried out during WP1.

WP2: Work on the two aforementioned research topics was continued in WP2 as follows:

  • Access to higher education in Switzerland: The implementation, data collection and analysis of the national survey took place between March and October 2018. A summary of the findings can be found in Rodríguez Vázquez et al. (2018) and Hohenstein et al. (2018). The full report and the survey questions corpora (in 7 languages, including Swiss-German, Swiss-French and Italian Sign Languages) are available upon request.
  • Accessibility in translation technology: Similarly, findings from a usability study featuring two popular web-based translation tools revealed that accessibility issues are still preventing blind professional translators from accessing the job market (Rodríguez Vázquez et al. 2017; 2018).
  • Accessibility of Swiss university websites: Taking as a baseline the findings from the Access for All Web Accessibility Study from 2016, the usability of two multilingual Swiss university websites was measured through a user-centered study involving 10 visually impaired users. The goal of the study was (i) to observe the interaction of multilingual screen reader users with partially localised websites, and (ii) to assess the impact of the users’ language selection and the implementation of different localisation strategies on the overall usability of multilingual websites. The main conclusion of this study was that the usability of the different language versions was not comparable. We observed that users encounter more usability issues –mostly language-related problems– in the localised versions than in the source web pages. A snapshot of the findings can be found in Casalegno and Rodríguez Vázquez (2018), while the full study methodological framework and results can be consulted in Casalegno (2018).

WP3: Since, according to the studies conducted, full compliance with accessibility standards in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) web portals is not yet a reality, we put forward a change management model known as ADKAR (Hiatt 2006) –which stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement– as an instrument to understand the type of intervention required to change. We adapted the model to measure readiness of webmasters and other staff members generating web content at the UNIGE with regard to the introduction of an Accessibility Policy and an associated Action Plan. The proposed change was presented to all participants, who then answered a questionnaire (available in French and English) based on a scientifically validated survey created by van Der Linde-De Klerk (2010) and adapted for our research purposes. The rationale for the application of the model and the methods used were presented at the BFC 2020 conference (Rodríguez Vázquez 2020). A paper reporting on the study findings was submitted to a high-impact Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) journal and will be referred to here in due time.

WP4: During the WP4 period, a stronger emphasis was placed on digital accessibility and teaching. We continued exploring the challenges that may arise when preparing teaching materials in general and translation courses in particular, and we expanded the Web Accessibility (WA) content taught at the UNIGE.

  • Accessibility in translation technology: To complement the studies carried out so far on the accessibility of translation technologies (see WP1 and WP2), we investigated whether CAT tools and Machine Translation (MT) systems could create accessible content.
    • CAT tools: We conducted a two-stage study consisting of: (i) a descriptive analysis of two CAT tools (Stage 1), SDL Trados Studio 2017 and MemoQ v8.7; and (ii) a user evaluation carried out by 10 participants (Stage 2). Our goal was to determine whether these tools could support and transfer the information related to accessibility included in HTML5 files (Pacati and Rodríguez Vázquez 2021, forthcoming). Results showed that none of the tools offers sufficient features and functionalities to transfer all items correctly and, consequently, they can have an effect on the final level of accessibility conformance. A more detailed description of the study methods and findings can be found in Pacati (2020).
    • Machine Translation: A series of studies (Kaplan et al. (2019), Kaplan (2021), Rodríguez Vázquez et al. (2021, forthcoming)) were carried out to investigate whether Neural Machine Translation (NMT) can be used as an effective tool to produce linguistically accessible text. Different language pairs and text genres were tested. In all the studies, the NMT output was assessed in terms of translation quality and Easy Language (EL) rules violation. Findings show that DeepL is the most performant system, and that the highest number of issues are found at a lexical and stylistic level. Although MT systems do not generate fully accessible texts yet, our studies highlighted the potential of this tool, as well as the challenges of creating multilingual content that is accessible for all.
    • Accessibility of Swiss university websites: A case study focusing on the accessibility evaluation of multilingual websites, including the University of Geneva’s website, was defined to be included in the innovative cross-curricular course “Comprendre le numérique”, launched in 2020 for MA students at said university. Students enrolled in the course could choose one of the eight projects proposed, which dealt with different aspects of today’s digital society. A group of students worked on the WA case study during a complete semester: they were introduced to the key WA principles, guidelines and techniques, as well as to WA evaluation methods and tools. The results of their project will be taken into account in the Accessibility Action Plan (see WP3) that we aim to develop in the 2021-2024 period.

WP5:  All the work conducted in this research area throughout the project served to create a list of recommendations on how to make multilingual content accessible in higher education settings. Drawing upon the findings of our studies, the project team at the FTI joined efforts with members from the UNIGE’s central services to draft an accessibility project plan for the 2021-2024 period.

References

  • Casalegno, Elisa. 2018. “Usability of Partially Localised Websites in Switzerland: A Study with Screen Reader Users”. Master’s thesis, supervised by Silvia Rodríguez Vázquez, University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2018. Available at: https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:111753
  • Casalegno, Elisa; Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia. 2018. “Language Navigation Patterns of Multilingual Screen Reader Users on Partially Localised University Websites.” In: Bouillon, P., Rodríguez Vázquez, S. & Strasly, I. (Eds.). Proceedings of the 2nd Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication: Accessibility in educational settings (BFC 2018), p. 16-19. Geneva, Switzerland: UNIGE Archive Ouverte. Available at:  https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:114746
  • Hiatt, Jeffrey M. 2006. ADKAR. A Model for Change in Business, Government and Our Community. Loveland, Colorado, US: Prosci Learning Centre Publications.
  • Hohenstein, Christiane; Zavgorodnia, Larysa; Näf, Manuela; Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia; Bouillon, Pierrette; Strasly Irene. 2018. “Status quo of inclusive access to higher education. A focus on deaf and hearing-impaired individuals in German-speaking Switzerland.” In: Bouillon, P., Rodríguez Vázquez, S. & Strasly, I. (Eds.). Proceedings of the 2nd Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication: Accessibility in educational settings (BFC 2018), p. 47-50. Geneva, Switzerland: UNIGE Archive Ouverte. Available at:   https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:114745
  • Kaplan, Abigail; Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia; Bouillon, Pierrette. 2019. “Measuring the Impact of Neural Machine Translation on Easy-to-Read Texts: An Exploratory Study.” Presented at: Conference on Easy-to-Read Language Research (Klaara 2019). Helsinki (Finland), 19-20th September 2019. Presentation available at: https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:123648
  • Kaplan, Abigail. 2021. “Suitability of Neural Machine Translation for Producing Linguistically Accessible Text Exploring the Effects of Pre-Editing on Easy-to-Read Administrative Documents”. Master’s thesis, supervised by Silvia Rodríguez Vázquez, University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2021.
  • Pacati, Isotta. 2020. “Localisation and web accessibility: a comparative study of the transfer of accessibility information through CAT tools”. Master’s thesis, supervised by Silvia Rodríguez Vázquez, University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2020. Available at: https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:131301
  • Pacati, Isotta; Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia. 2021 (forthcoming). “CAT Tools’ Impact on the Achievement of Accessible HTML5 Documents: a Comparative Study”. In: Proceedings of the 3rd Swiss Conference on Barrier-Free Communication (BFC 2020). Winterthur (Switzerland), 29th June - 4th July 2020.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia; Bouillon, Pierrette. 2021 (forthcoming). “Accessibility, Easy Language and Machine Translation through an Ethical Lens.” In: Parra Escartín, C. & H. Moniz (Eds.), Ethical and Legal Considerations in Machine Translation. ‘Machine Translation: Technologies and Applications’ (MATRA) Book Series, Springer.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez, Silivia; Kaplan, Abigail; Bouillon, Pierrette, Griebel, Cornelia; Azari, Razieh (2021, forthcoming). “La traduction automatique des textes faciles à lire et à comprendre (FALC): une étude comparative. » In : C. Meng Ji & M. Oakes (Eds.), Les nouvelles méthodologies de la traductologie de corpus : La révolution empirique en traductologie. Special issue of Meta: Translators’ Journal.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez Silvia; Bouillon, Pierrette; Strasly, Irene; Hohenstein, Christiane; Zavgorodnia, Larysa; Näf, Manuela. 2018. “Roadblocks to Inclusive Education and Career Development for People with Hearing Impairments in French and Italian Speaking Switzerland.” In: Bouillon, P., Rodríguez Vázquez, S. & Strasly, I. (Eds.). Proceedings of the 2nd Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication: Accessibility in educational settings (BFC 2018), p. 88-91. Geneva, Switzerland: UNIGE Archive Ouverte. Available at:   https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:114744
  • Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia, Fitzpatrick, Donal; O'Brien, Sharon. 2018. Is Web-Based Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) Software Usable for Blind Translators? In: Miesenberger K., Kouroupetroglou G. (eds) Computers Helping People with Special Needs. ICCHP 2018. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10896. Cham: Springer, p. 31-34.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia; O'Brien, Sharon; Fitzpatrick, Dónal. 2017. Usability of web-based MT post-editing environments for screen reader users. In: Proceedings of the Machine Translation Summit XVI, p. 13-25. Nagoya, Japan, 18-22 September 2017.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia. 2017. Entering assistive technology into the translator-computer interaction equation: Where are we and where should we go? Keynote Speech at: TransAccess 2017: Translation and accessibility - Translating Europe Workshop Series. Kraków, Poland, 16 November 2017.
  • Rodríguez Vázquez, Silvia. 2020. Applying the ADKAR Model to Boost Web Accessibility in Higher Education Institutions. Presented at: 3rd Swiss Conference on Barrier-Free Communication (BFC 2020). Winterthur, Switzerland, 29th June - 4th July 2020. Presentation available at: https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:141670
  • Van Der Linde-De Klerk, Marzanne. 2010. ‘The Development and Validation of a Change Agent Identification Framework’. PhD thesis, Pretoria: University of South Africa.

RA8: Speech-to-Text (Dictation) Systems


WP1: Cf. RA3.

WP2: Preliminary research on Speech-to-Text (Dictation) Systems was carried out within the framework of RA3 (see above) – i.e. comparison between speaker-independent (Voice Pro) and speaker-dependent systems (Dragon); analysis of dictation systems’ weak points (speech recognition errors); development of recommendations. Furthermore, the quality of the live subtitles generated by Speech-to-Text Systems was assessed through several surveys with people with hearing impairments. The results show that:

a) people with hearing impairments may have difficulties in assessing the quality of live subtitles (e.g. some information was not understood or important information was not reproduced in the live subtitles). Nonetheless, live subtitles were rated as good;

b) in academic learning settings, it takes students with hearing impairments considerable effort to read live subtitles while simultaneously following relevant presentation slides or lecture scripts.

WP3: Cf. RA3.

Several video conferencing platforms/apps provide automatic captioning capabilities which are based on different software solutions and corpora. Automated captions have improved greatly in the past few years in terms of accuracy, speed and integration with other programmes and apps; however, levels of accuracy do not seem high enough to ensure access to linguistically complex information, e.g. in higher education settings. High-quality solutions within the area of auto-generated subtitles based on big data and intelligent algorithms may be expected in the near future (Jekat 2021, forth.).

WP4: Cf. RA3.

WP5: Cf. RA3.

 

References

  • Dreier, Nathalie. 2017. “Zugang zu Musiksendungen für Menschen mit Hörbeeinträchtigung. Beschaffenheit und Rezeption von Musikuntertiteln im Schweizer Fernsehen.” Master’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.
  • Eichmeyer-Hell, Daniela. 2021, forthcoming. Speech recognition (Respeaking) vs. the Conventional Method (Keyboard): A quality-oriented comparison of speech-to-text interpreting techniques and addressee preferences. In Proceedings of the 3rd Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication (BfC 2020), Online Conference, June 29–July 4, 2020, edited by Susanne J. Jekat, Steffen Puhl, Luisa Carrer, and Alexa Lintner. Winterthur: ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences. https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-3001.
  • Hagmann, David; Krähenbühl, Maria. 2016. “Musikuntertitelung für Hörbeeinträchtigte am Beispiel der Unterhaltungssendung „Die grössten Schweizer Talente”. Erstellung und Analyse eines Korpus.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2016.
  • Jekat, Susanne J. 2013. “Barrierefreier Zugang zu Informationen, zum Beispiel Respeaking und Audiodeskription.” Paper presented at the 2. Sektionentagung der Gesellschaft für Angewandte LinguistikAachen, 19-20 September 2013. Aachen: RWTH Aachen.
  • Jekat, Susanne J. 2021, forthcoming. “Schriftdolmetschen”. In Handlexikon Hörgeschädigtenpädagogik, edited by Thomas Kaul and Annette Leonhardt. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
  • Scherrer, Corinne; Lehner, Andrea. 2017. “Respeaking Löschung, Einfügung und Ersetzung in deutsch- und französischsprachigen Live-Untertiteln. Vergleich einer Sendung auf SRF und RTS.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.

RA9: Community Interpreting


WP1: Research was carried out on the cognitive foundation of Community Interpreting,  in particular with a view to its central aspects of “role” and “responsibility” (Albl-Mikasa, 2020; 2018b). This is a novelty in that community interpreting has thus far been looked at from a purely interactive perspective.

WP2:  The research focus was placed on the conceptualisation and implementation of three training courses in medical interpreting (interpreting techniques; terminology work for medical interpreting; interaction interpreters-medical personnel), as requested and sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Health. In addition, Bachelor’s and Master’s theses concentrated on the analysis of the corpus data resulting from the KTI (now Innosuisse or Swiss Innovation Agency) Project “Anforderungs- und Rollenprofil für Dolmetschende im medizinischen Bereich” (“Interpreting in Medical Settings: Roles, Requirements and Responsibility”) (Albl-Mikasa/Hohenstein 2017). Another important development was the introduction of training courses for video-interpreters in Germany and Switzerland (Albl-Mikasa 2018a). In view of the significance of new technologies and remote interpreting, particularly in hospital settings, a pilot project organised by INTERPRET was implemented in the German part of Switzerland. Training courses were conducted in cooperation with the German professional association of interpreters and translators (BDÜ) and SAVD Video-Conference Interpreting in Austria. The results of these initiatives were presented at the Conference for Non-Professional Interpreting and Translation (NPIT4) in Stellenbosch and at the WITTA Conference in London.

WP3: The product developed is a paraprofessional dialogue interpreting services package for Asian contexts, where the need for community interpreting is pronounced but training opportunities are scarce. In cooperation with international partners at the Universities of Pune and Pondicherry (mid-West and South-East India), workshops in January/February 2019 including practical and theory-related components were held, resulting in a services package tailored to and proved successful for dialogue interpreting purposes in Asia. The workshops were carried out as part of the Bridging Grant project ISTIP (Indo-Swiss Translation and Interpreting Professionalization), financed under the Swiss Federal Government Bilateral Research Collaboration with South Asia Bridging Grant program, and an SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation) Scientific Exchange Grant.

WP4: Due to COVID-19, in 2020 there was a halt in the implementation of research-based curriculum and pedagogy modules. Only one teaching assignment took place, namely “Consultation and ethics – Interpreting in medical contexts” as part of the “Consultation and transculturality” module of the BSc in Midwifery at the ZHAW School of Health Professions. At the same time, work continued on the conceptualization and cognitive foundation of dialogue interpreting, which thus far had been looked at only from an interactional-discursive perspective. This led to the specification of knowledge components relevant in specific institutional settings and crucial for medical interpreter training – such as encounter structures, discourse patterns and functional expressions used to serve the purposes of medical interaction (Albl-Mikasa/Hohenstein 2017; Albl-Mikasa 2019). Feeding into the CPD (Continuous Professional Development) courses, services and conceptual considerations, this work was based on empirical research resulting from the KTI (now Innosuisse or Swiss Innovation Agency) project “Interpreting in Medical Settings: Roles, Requirements and Responsibility, 2010 – 2012”. Presentations introduced the new approach in 2019 both at the 9th International Critical Link Conference in Tokyo and as part of the first panel on “Context and Cognition in Dialogue Interpreting”, co-convened with Elisabet Tiselius, at the InDialog Conference in Antwerp.

WP5: Based on the work accomplished within Research Area 9 on Community Interpreting, consultation and expert activities are provided by Prof. Michaela Albl-Mikasa as a member of scientific committees (InDialog3, 2019, University of Antwerp and KU Leuven; NPIT5, University of Amsterdam, 2020/21), reviewer for specialist journals, general board member of ENPSIT (European Network of Public Service Interpreting and Translation) and collaborator of the Barrier-free Communication Lab at the ZHAW School of Applied Linguistics.

References

  • Albl-Mikasa, Michaela. 2020. “Interpreters’ roles and responsibilities.” In The Bloomsbury Companion to the Language Industry, edited by Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow, Gary Massey and Erik Angelone, Ch. 3. London: Bloomsbury, 91-114.
  • Albl-Mikasa, Michaela (2019). Acting upon background of understanding rather than role – Shifting the focus from the interactional to the inferential dimension of (medical) dialogue interpreting). Translation, Cognition & Behaviour (2)2, 241-262.
  • Albl-Mikasa, Michaela. 2018a. “Training video interpreters for refugee languages in the German-speaking DACH countries: the SAVD initiative.FITISPos 5(1), 33-44. https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-3756.
  • Albl-Mikasa, Michaela, 2018b. “Cognition in community interpreting. EST Newsletter 52, 7-8. https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-3772.
  • Albl-Mikasa, Michaela; Hohenstein, Christiane. 2017. “Cognition in community interpreting: the influence of interpreter’s knowledge of doctor-patient interaction.” In Doing Applied Linguistics. Enabling Transdisciplinary Communication, edited by Daniel Perrin and Ulla Kleinberger, 130-138. Berlin: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-4066.
  • Gerber, Lisa Regina. 2017. “Interkulturelles Dolmetschen in medizinischen Einrichtungen der Schweiz. Eine Untersuchung des Hintergrundwissens der interkulturellen Dolmetschenden im Einsatz bei Arzt-Patienten-Gesprächen.” Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Michaela Albl-Mikasa, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.
  • Zelenskaya, Marina. 2018. “Mangel an institutionellem Hintergrundwissen seitens der Dolmetscher im schweizerischen Spitalkontext.” Master’s thesis, supervised by Michaela Albl-Mikasa, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2018.

RA10: Community Interpreting into Plain Language


WP1: The investigation carried out in RA4 (see above) allowed for an assessment of the communication needs of people with temporary cognitive impairments. Further work included the analysis of the working conditions for Community Interpreting into Plain Language. The results emphasise the potential danger of non-professional interpretation and translation into Plain Language. Further research will focus on the interpreting strategies of professional intralingual interpreters.

WP2: Preliminary work looked at the development of a set guidelines for spoken Plain Language. The initial results suggest that effective interpreting models and strategies, which are currently widely used in Live-Subtitling, provide no basis for the development of ad-hoc interpreting strategies for Community Interpreting into Plain Language (cf. Gassner 2017).

Latest work: Even though some practitioners from the German-speaking world already offer community interpreting into Plain or Easy-to-read Languages (e.g. Inga Schiffler, Anne Leichtfuss and Daniela Eichmeyer-Hell), this area is still under-researched (Eichmeyer-Hell 2018) due to the lack of access to data. Pioneer research in this area will be published here as soon as possible.

References

  • Degenhardt, Julia. 2017. “Konsekutivdolmetschen in Leichte Sprache. Zur Ausprägung einer neuen Dolmetschvariante in Praxis und Vermittlung”. Bachelor’s dissertation, University of Hildesheim, 2017.
  • Eichmeyer-Hell, Daniela. 2018. “Interpreting into Plain Language: Accessibility of On-site Courses for People with Cognitive Impairments”. In Proceedings of the Second Barrier-Free Communication Conference 2018, Geneva, 9-10 November 2018. Geneva, Switzerland: University of Geneva, 32–35. https://bfc.unige.ch/files/8615/5170/3308/Eichmeyer_BFC2018.pdf
  •  Gassner, Madeleine. 2017. “Live-Untertitelung und Schriftdolmetschen im deutschsprachigen Raum.” Master’s thesis, supervised by Susanne J. Jekat, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), 2017.

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