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Seminar on translation, multimodality, interaction, understanding, Helsinki 6.3.

Welcome to the kick-off seminar of the postdoc project “Multimodal Translation with the Blind” (MUTABLE)

Date: 6.3.2017
Time: 14-18 o’clock
Place: University of Helsinki, Metsätalo (Unioninkatu 40), lecture room 25 (5th floor)

How are translations being created? How do blind and sighted people interact with each other and construct mutual understanding based on distinct perceptual capacities?

“Multimodal Translation with the Blind” (MUTABLE)

MUTABLE studies audio description (AD) in which visual or audiovisual information and representations (e.g. a film) are verbalized for the benefit of visually-impaired people. This postdoctoral research, funded by Academy of Finland for 2017–2019, looks at the interactive processes involved in AD: the collaboration in a team of sighted and blind people working towards a mutual goal, i.e. the verbal translation, as well as situations in which AD is created in face-to-face interaction between the interpreter and the VIP users. The analysis is based on video recordings of real-life AD processes (i.a. AD of a film, AD of an art exhibition) in Finland and Germany. This investigation sheds new light in the multimodal use of visual, spoken, and bodily resources in the “making-of” a translation as well as in the asymmetry of interaction that is due to distinct perceptual abilities (audiovisual/visual access vs. auditory/nonvisual access).

Content of the seminar

The seminar will host a number of guests both from the academia and outside. Professor Liisa Tiittula (University of Helsinki) talks about why the study of interaction matters to Translation Studies. We will hear a guest lecture by researcher Jelena Milosevic (University of Graz) in which she reports on a research project on translation processes at work place and discusses how socio-cognitive aspects of translation can be studied (Milosevic's research). Audio describers Anu Aaltonen and Heikki Ekola render insight into the practice of AD and talk about the process from first-hand experience, Anu from the sighted and Heikki from the blind perspective.

I would like to invite anyone interested in the topics mentioned above to participate! In the seminar, I will present the project outline as well as some video data which can be interesting to other researchers as well. At the end of the day, there will be an open floor for participants to share their thoughts and ideas.


Please, register by 20.2.2017 (e-mail to maija.hirvonen(a)helsinki.fi) and feel free to circulate this invitation to anyone interested. (At registration, please let me know about any dietary restrictions and also if you would like to present something during the seminar.)


14.15 Opening words - Maija Hirvonen
14.20 “MUTABLE: Multimodal Translation with the Blind” - a project presentation by Maija Hirvonen
14.45 “Eye (and ear!) on interaction in Translation Studies” - a commentary by Liisa Tiittula
15.00 “Are you seeing what I’m hearing?” - Blind and sighted perspectives from the field by Heikki Ekola and Anu Aaltonen (interviewed in Finnish by Maija Hirvonen)
15.30 Coffee break
16.00 “Researching socio-cognitive translation processes in the workplace” - a guest lecture by Jelena Milosevic
17.00 Discussion & open floor
17.30 Closing - Maija Hirvonen

More information

Maija Hirvonen, PhD
Postdoctoral researcher
Translation Studies
University of Helsinki

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