International Seminar on Translation and Accessibility to Patrimony


In March, the city of Granada in Spain hosted the International Seminar on Translation and Accessibility to Patrimony (SITAP, Seminario Internacional de Traducción y Accesibilidad al Patrimonio). The event, which took place over three days, focused on ways and initiatives to make the cultural, artistic, natural and scientific patrimony accessible to people with sensory and physical disabilities.

One of our trainees at TermCoord, M. Isabel Bolívar, not only attended it but also delivered a talk along with the Universidad de Granada professor Clara Inés López. Together, they showed their research on accessibility to scientific culture in audiovisual format via subtitling.

Subtitling is one of several forms of accessibility to culture and knowledge. It has long served the deaf and hard of hearing community, but it can also be useful for the general population. This form of accessibility was present in several other talks and presentations, such as the one that opened the event, which focused on technologies for access to culture. Ángel García Crespo, a researcher at the Universidad Carlos III (Madrid, Spain), delivered this talk. García Crespo’s presentation was a good introduction to what was on offer at this event, since he tackled several other forms of accessibility such as sign language and audio description, and their relation to cinema and television.

In addition to shining a light on the importance of accessibility, an event such as SITAP needs to be accessible.  A team of sign language interpreters were available during all presentations, and the public were able to experience demonstrations of a live transcription of speaking (useful for subtitling in real-time) and audio description. A notable event was the audio description of Spanish painter Diego Velázquez’s picture The Spinners by Harry Baxter from the Royal Academy of Arts (London), who translated into words one of the most outstanding works of Spanish art in a structured and detailed way, so that it could be enjoyed by both the blind and the rest of the audience.

The event closed with an exhibition by sign language interpreter Rakel Rodríguez Ruiz, who performed a live show of signodanza, which combined dance, theatre, music and poetry. From TermCoord, we expect that this will be the first of a series of seminars for disseminating the many initiatives around the world to make information accessible to people with disabilities.

Written by: M. Isabel Bolívar, Terminology trainee at the European Parliament since January 2018. Isabel is from Spain, she holds a Bachelor and a Master Degree in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Granada, and is specialized in scientific and medical translation. Her languages are English and French and, of course, Spanish.