The Department of Translation, Terminology and Interpreting Studies, in collaboration with Heritage Malta, is training their postgraduate students to make local art and culture accessible to the blind and partially sighted. Two iconic works exhibited at MUŻA: Barthet’s oil-on-canvas painting Marì tal-Bajd (Marì the egg seller) and Apap’s sculpture San Anton Abbati (St Anthony the Abbot) were audio-described by the students as part of their training within the Audiovisual Translation and Accessibility specialisation stream.
Translation goes way beyond the traditional linguistic transposition of written text. Students also learn to translate visuals and sound into words to make media, art, and cultural spaces more inclusive. The audiovisual translation students scripted audio descriptions in English and in Maltese, and created a version for kids.
These will be voice-recorded professionally and made available to the public on Heritage Malta’s website. Audio description is a mode of accessibility that translates the visual into the verbal, therefore using words to create an inclusive experience on a sensory level. This means that blind and partially sighted visitors can enjoy the works of art, as well as sighted visitors whose gaze will be guided toward the intriguing visual and narrative detail. The aim is to provide a shared immersive experience.
This project was supervised and reviewed by Giselle Spiteri Miggiani who teaches and coordinates Audiovisual Translation and Accessibility within the Department. Lonny Evans (Vocaleyes, UK) acted as an external consultant and editor.
The Department would like to thank Heritage Malta and MUŻA for their collaboration, especially senior executive Vanessa Ciantar and MUŻA’s principal curator Katya Micallef, and the students who created the audio descriptions: Marie Claire Aquilina, Nathalie Bezzina, Daniel Gatt, Jude Magro, Nadine Micallef, Anna Schmid-Burgk. Special thanks also go to Joe Vassallo (Mari’s grandson) and Joseph Stafrace for their feedback and contribution.
The Department of Translation, Terminology and Interpreting Studies offers three Master degrees, including a newly designed MA in Translation and Interpreting Studies. For more info visit https://www.um.edu.mt/arts/translation/.