Ana Pereira (UVigo)
Mercedes Martínez Lorenzo (UVigo, GALMA)
Xunta de Galicia (Axudas do Programa de Consolidación e Estruturación de Unidades de Investigación Competitivas)
According to the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010) “the right of persons with a disability and of the elderly to participate and be integrated in the social and cultural life of the Union is inextricably linked to the provision of accessible audiovisual media services. The means to achieve accessibility should include, but need not be limited to, […] subtitling [and] audio-description”. In Galicia, these two modes of access can have the additional benefit of promoting and standardising the Galician language, a minority language in Spain.
Funding provided by the Galician government permitted the creation of the Galician Observatory for Media Accessibility, GALMA, with the aim of promoting accessibility in the Galician media through research and training. The lead researcher is Pablo Romero Fresco, further researchers include Ana Pereira and Mercedes Martínez, all from Vigo University.
In the early stages, a website was created to present the work of GALMA and its members, as well as establishing a point of contact for researchers and professionals in the field of media accessibility.
In terms of its work within Galicia, there are three main strands. The first focuses on subtitling for hearing viewers, specifically investigating the subtitling of foreign-language films into Galician as a means of promoting this language. For this purpose, a database of subtitles in Galician will be made available to TV channels and cinemas within Galicia. The researchers will also collaborate with Netflix to establish the first official norm for subtitles for hearing viewers in Galicia.
The second strand deals with subtitles for deaf viewers and will feature the development of speech recognition software for subtitling in Galician in collaboration with the Department of Telecommunications at Vigo University, experiments to test the use of live subtitling through respeaking on TVG, the Galician public TV, and the creation of the first official norm for subtitles for the deaf in Galicia.
The third and last strand will look at audiodescription for blind people. The quality and reception of audiodescription will be tested through empirical experiments and will result in the creation of the first official norm for audiodescription for the blind in Galicia.
A first outcome of GALMA’s work has been a report about the current state of accessibility on Galician public TV, written by Mercedes Martínez.
Drawing on this research and their own expertise, the members of GALMA will also create training courses for media professionals and students, as well as a seal of quality for audiovisual products that comply with the official norms for subtitling and audiodescription.