Reception of sign-interpreted TV contents: The impact of formal parameters on media accessibility

Autor/a: BOSCH BALIARDA, Marta
Año: 2020
Editorial: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Traducción e Interpretación, Medios de comunicación y acceso a la información


Sign language interpreting (SLI) is the third major media accessibility service along with audio description and subtitling. Although SLI first appeared on TV nearly seventy years ago, the field of media accessibility on SLI still lacks critical investigation on tested te- chniques to produce guidelines that can constitute best practice for both broadcasters and stakeholders. This PhD thesis has the purpose of partially filling this knowledge gap by studying the formal parameters that affect legibility and readability of the sign langua- ge on the screen. It is framed within two complementary conceptual models regarding deaf sign language users' rights: (1) the inclusive model of accessibility and (2) the dual category status, where deaf signers are regarded as both persons with a disability and as members of a minority language group, namely a Sign Language Community. This dissertation is exploratory in nature and has two aims: (1) to identify the SLI on-screen parameters and their relevance to content accessibility and SLI service usability and (2) to explore the reception and processing of different split screen composites including sign-interpreted content -combining two variables- by deaf sign language service users in a documentary film. Within a mixed methods research approach, an ins- trument-development variant of an exploratory sequential design was implemented in order to meet the research aims. The research consisted of three steps: (1) an initial quali- tative phase; (2) an intermediate instrument development phase and (3) a final prioritised quantitative phase. First, the qualitative phase was designed to collect open-ended information from two stakeholder groups: one including semi-structured interviews with professional sign lan- guage interpreters working on TV, the other including focus groups with deaf sign lan- guage participants that were TV access service users. The results suggest that the speed rate and size of the interpreter on the screen were the most important formal parametersaffecting legibility while position may be related to screen readability. These findings provided informed choices to develop the next research phases. The intermediate phase aimed to develop a data collection tool that could implement an accessible and reliable questionnaire to assess information recall in sign language. The final quantitative phase aimed to gather close-ended information on both users' behaviour and performance. It included two experimental studies, the first using eye-tracking techniques to analyse deaf signers visual attention allocation patterns on sign-interpreted TV and the second using recall tests to analyse content accessibility. From the quantitative reception tests, it can be concluded that size in combination with on-screen position are two important factors to consider when producing AV works including signing in a TV split screen design. The results show that the most balanced information content recall scores are obtained using a mid-sized interpreter's window screen in a left position displaying the scene screen on the right. From this finding, it can be concluded that this split screen composite format encompasses the optimal combination of features for the size and position para- meters to access broadcast documentary contents. Although watching audiovisual contents with signing services is a complex task requiring divided attention, the results from the user tests show that implementing the optimal pa- rameters can have a positive impact on the SLI service legibility and readability and, ulti- mately, on service usability and content accessibility. This novel methodology combining users' opinions and measuring their psychological responses in a controlled reception test will hopefully constitute a first step towards conducting future research in the field of SLI in media accessibility and audiovisual translation studies.