AUTHORS: Sara Bonjoch (freelancer and independent researcher)

TITLE: The loneliness of the long lasting live subtitler

ABSTRACT: Professionals working on live broadcasting need to take into consideration the length of the task, the time of the day and the duration of the shifts. For example, working at 3 am has the highest rate of errors and tending an ICU at night shift is usually followed by two resting days. Junior doctors endure 48 hour shifts, and live subtitlers are required to extend their shift when special conditions apply.

In Catalonia, live subtitling has become highly stressful due to two exceptional events: a terrorist attack and months of political turmoil. In the former, three issues challenged the quality of the subtitling. Firstly, production systems used; secondly, long shifts and the changing nature of news and, finally, the content of the images to be subtitled. All these issues took a toll on subtitling results. Another example is the exceptional political situation with last-minute programme changes endured now for months. 

As in the previous case, shifts were longer than usual and into the night. However, images were no longer a distracting issue, but the actual message of the content.

This presentation will talk about these two cases, the impact on the subtitler persona, the alteration of the working conditions and on the quality of the subtitles. It will also explain the strategies adopted to work under these circumstances, the systems and workstations used and the final result.

SARA BONJOCH (  Sara Bonjoch Llaquet currently works as a live subtitler in Barcelona. Working for TV, she has subtitled Olympic Games, terrorist attacks and politics TV programmes. She is a former journalist and when she completed a MA in Audiovisual Translation at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, she discovered an interest for accessibility. She has also a passion for the arts and making them accessible.