SPEAKER: Pablo Romero (University of Vigo)

TITLE: Respeaking certification: bringing together research, training and practice

ABSTRACT: Despite the efforts made by some academics in different countries around the world, research and training in respeaking are still lagging behind professional practice. Empirical studies are few and far between and companies often train their own professionals, as the handful of HEIs that offer thorough training in respeaking cannot cope with the demand. One of the consequences of this lack of training opportunities is that the UK government has refused to use the Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) for the provision of respoken subtitles, arguing that respeaking is not a qualified profession. In order to tackle this issue, the Galician Observatory for Media Accessibility (GALMA) has set up LiRICS, the Live Respeaking International Certification Standard, which aims to set and maintain high international standards in the respeaking profession in order to enable the existence of a pool of respeakers who can provide high-quality access through subtitles for live TV programmes and live events. The certification is made up of three levels (beginner, intermediate and expert) and two contexts (TV and education and live events). Candidates for certification are asked to respeak different tests for each context and their performance is peer reviewed by NER-certified evaluators. This presentation will analyse the process involved in this certification. Particular attention will be paid to the data obtained throughout a two-year project with the Canadian Government aimed at training and certifying NER evaluators and, most importantly, the initial certification of 20 professional respeakers working for the international access service provider AiMedia. Answers will be provided to some of the questions that have been raised throughout this process, such as how can a consensus be found regarding the certification method? What is the inter-rater agreement amongst the different evaluators using the NER model? What impact can this certification have on the training and practice of respeaking?

PABLO ROMERO (p.romero-fresco@roehampton.ac.uk) is Ramón y Cajal researcher at Universidade de Vigo (Spain) and Honorary Professor of Translation and Filmmaking at the University of Roehampton (UK). He is the author of “Subtitling through Speech Recognition: Respeaking” (Routledge) and “Accessible Filmmaking” (Routledge, forthcoming). He is the leader of the EU-funded projects “Media Accessibility Platform” and “ILSA: Interlingual Live Subtitling for Access” and of the international research centre GALMA (Galician Observatory for Media Access), for which he’s coordinating several projects on live subtitling and accessible filmmaking.