Internet, audiovisual media and digital technology are transforming our world. However, their potential will not be realised until they become fully accessible and enable the participation of all citizens in everyday life.
Audiovisual translation and media accessibility have become drivers of social inclusion and integration and have lately received full recognition in the literature and in EU-funded projects. In the area of live subtitling for viewers with hearing loss, the preferred technique is respeaking, where subtitlers listen to the original soundtrack of a programme or public event and simultaneously repeat or rephrase what they hear to a speech recognition software that turns these words into intralingual subtitles. Now, a new challenge has emerged, as migration streams and the increased multilingual and multicultural composition of societies worldwide have led to a growing demand for accessibility to live audiovisual content and events conducted in a foreign language.
Therefore, it is crucial to find professionals who can produce interlingual live subtitles (ILS) through respeaking, a new discipline that will require translating, subtitling and simultaneous interpreting skills.
Thus, ILSA adopted a wider view of accessibility, as the new ILS provision will benefit a wider target group, not only vulnerable audiences (deaf and hard of hearing viewers, physically/mentally challenged groups, people with special needs and learning disabilities), but also foreign audiences: migrants, refugees and marginalised groups at risk of exclusion will particularly benefit from the potential offered by interlingual subtitles to facilitate their integration in the cultural environment of their new homeland, and more specifically on TV, in the classroom and in political institutions.
The intercultural vocation of ILSA, which has been officially supported by the United Nations, can only be fulfilled through transnational cooperation and a wide scope including a variety of languages (English, Spanish, Galician, Dutch, German and Polish), language situations (monolingual and bilingual countries) and audiovisual translation traditions (dubbing, subtitling, voice-over).
The balanced mix of educational (University of Vigo, University of Vienna, University of Warsaw, University of Antwerp) and non-educational partners (VRT, INTRO PR) will assure bottom-up transectorial collaboration for the creation of the new profile and training course and for the implementation of ILS on TV and in social and political settings. At a regional level, the collaboration between the University of Vigo, the research group GTM (Engineering Faculty, University of Vigo), the Galician Parliament and the public Galician broadcaster TVG has resulted in the first speech recognition software in Galicia, enabling the provision of live subtitling for news programmes watched by 1.5 million people daily.