Multimodality translation and accessibility
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Multimodality , translation and accessibility. A corpus study of museum verbal description. Silvia Soler Gallego Universidad de Córdoba 6ICOM. Goals of the study. Describe the museum audio descriptive guide as: text genre multimodal intersemiotic translation.

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Multimodality , translation and accessibility

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Multimodality translation and accessibility

Multimodality, translation and accessibility

A corpus study of museum verbal description


Universidad de Córdoba


Goals of the study

SilviaSolerGallego | 6ICOM

Goals of thestudy

  • Describe themuseum audio descriptive guide as:


    multimodal intersemiotictranslation

  • Beneficial for:

    Training in museum verbal description.

    Isolate variables forreceptionstudies.

    Discusstheadequacy of existingdescriptions.

Multimodality translation and accessibility

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

Museum of Modern Art, NY

What is verbal description

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

Whatis verbal description?

  • Translationprocess

    Multimodal intersemiotictranslationtechnique.


    SDHH, SignLanguageInterpreting, adaptation, respeaking.

  • Translationproduct Text genre


Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM


  • “A transmutation of signs” (Jakobson 1959)

  • “Medial transposition” (Rajewsky2005: 51-53)

  • “Indirectintermediality” (Wolf 1999: 50)


Target medium


Verbal description

The multimodal museum

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

The multimodal museum

“The museum exhibition is obviously multimodal in that different semiotic resources, such as photographs, three-dimensional physical objects, space and language, are co-deployed in complex ways to construct meaning.”

(Pang 2004: 28)

Museum s semiotic structure

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM


experiential, interpersonal, textual

(O’Toole 2010: 65)

ideational, interpersonal, textual

ideational, interpersonal, textual

representational, modal, compositional

(O’Toole2010: 16, 35)

(Pang 2004: 354-35)

Accessible t i

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

Accessible T&I


Art & Culture

Visual arts

Cultural heritage


ICT: film, TV, web, video game

Museumverbal description



Recorded Audio descriptive guide

Theoretical foundations

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM


  • GenreTheoryappliedtoTranslationStudies

Multidimensional model of genre

(Trosborg 1997, GenttGroup)

Formal conventions



Intratextual elements



Extratextual elements


Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM


  • Corpus-basedstudyof discourse and genre

    (Upton& Connor2001, Flowerdew 2005, Biber et al. 2007, Upton y Cohen 2009)

    • Extratextual elementsanalysis

    • Intratextual elementsanalysis


      superstructure rhetoricalstructure and moves


      Bottom-up approach

      microstructure cognitiveareas,lexico-grammaticalpatterns

Corpus description

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

Corpus description

TATE Modern

British Museum

Colchester & Ipswick Museum

Imperial War Museum

  • MonolingualEnglish

  • Specialized Museum audio descriptive guide

  • Complete texts

  • Writtento be spoken Scripts


Boston Fine Arts Museum

Florida Holocaust Museum

National museum of American History

Context analysis

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM


  • Purposeof the communication.

  • Participants

    –Receivers’ needs

    –Initiator’s goals

    –Social and professional conditions of the translator

  • Scenario multimodal museumspace.

  • Guidelines

Corpus analysis superstructure

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

Corpus analysis: Superstructure

Rhetoricalstructure – Moveanalysis

Multimodality translation and accessibility

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

Results m acrostructure

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

Results: Macrostructure

  • Connectivity relations

    LOCATION/DIRECTIONS & DESCRIPTION  space/time contiguity

    DESCRIPTION & INTERPRETATION–CONTEXT  causality and elaboration

    DESCRIBED ELEMENTS  spacecontiguity , reference, addition

  • Historymuseum



  • Exhibitdescription (Allmuseums)


Results m icrostructure i

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

Results: Microstructure (i)

  • Exhibit (Art and Archeologymuseums)

NOUN/PRONOUN + IS + ADJECTIVE/NOUN (diadem, crest, band, thinner, taller, larger, slim, muscular, bare, chunky, black, large, geometric, visible, grayish, pinkish)

NOUN/PRONOUN + IS PAST PARTICIPLE (convulsed, wrapped, executed, curled, painted, sculpted, shaped, attached, coloured, stretched) + COMPLEMENT

NOUN/PRONOUN + HAS + ADJECTIVE (fiery orange, soft, slightly rounded) + NOUN (detail, skin, lettering, feature, expression, inkwells, body, texture, hair, stance, head, foot, eyes, arms)

NOUN/PRONOUN + HAS/HAVE BEEN PAST PARTICIPLE (stuck, painted, framed, cracked, sculpted, covered, preserved, represented, cut, colored, primed, applied, dragged) + COMPLEMENT

Results m icrostructure ii

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM

Results: Microstructure (ii)

Archeology Representation

papyrus, tomb, god,represent, beads, row, columns, gold, gown, human, illustration, image, mask, mouth, neck, nose, person, stone, stool, straight, terracotta, text, together, written)

Art  Visual grammar and Composition

blue, green, orange, pink, yellow, background, five, areas, thin, horizontal, abstract, flat, rectangularsquare, base, corner, edge, inches, tall, foot, light, bright, surface, line, edge, far, lower, deep, frame, gray, grey, pale, purple, shaped, space


Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM


  • Everylayerof themuseum’s multimodal messageis relevanttothecreation of the verbal description.

  • Relationsbetweenthemuseumlayershelptounderstand individual exhibits.

  • Interpretation of the visual messageis controversial butcouldenhancethe verbal descriptionexperience.

Multimodality translation and accessibility

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM



Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM


Salzhauer Axel, E. and SobolLevent, N. (eds) (2003). Art BeyondSight: A Resource Guide to Art, Creativity, and Visual Impairment. New York: AFB Press.

Jakobson, R. (1959/2000). ‘Onlinguisticaspects of translation’, in TheTranslationStudies Reader,

Lawrence Venuti(ed.). London/New York: Routledge.

Biber, D. and Conrad, S. (2009) Register, Genre, Style. Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress.

Flowerdew, L. (2005). ‘Anintegration of corpus-based and genre-basedapproachestotextanalysis in EAP/ESP: counteringcriticismsagainst corpus-basedmethodologies.’English forSpecificPurposes24: 321–332.

Kanoksilapatham, B. (2007) ‘RhetoricalMoves in BiochemistryResearchArticles’, in D. Biber, U. Connor and T. A. Upton (eds) DiscourseontheMove: Using Corpus Analysisto Describe DiscourseStructure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 73–120.

O’Toole, M. (2010). TheLanguage of Displayed Art. London and New York: Routledge.

Pang, A. (2004). ‘Making history in From Colony to Nation: a multimodal analysis of a museum exhibition in Singapore’. En Kay L. O'Halloran (ed.) Multimodal Discourse Analysis: Systemic-Functional Perspectives.London: Continuum.

Upton, T. A. and Cohen, M. A. (2009). 'Anapproachto corpus-baseddiscourseanalysis: Themoveanalysis as example'. DiscourseStudies11: 585-605.

Upton, T. A. and Connor, U. (2001). ‘Usingcomputerized corpus analysistoinvestigatethetextlinguisticdiscoursemoves of a genre.’English forSpecificPurposes20 (2001) 313-329.

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