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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

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.

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 Intersemiosis
  • “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 Museum’ssemioticstructure

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 Theoreticalfoundations
  • GenreTheoryappliedtoTranslationStudies

Multidimensional model of genre

(Trosborg 1997, GenttGroup)

Formal conventions



Intratextual elements



Extratextual elements

Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM Methodology
  • 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 Contextanalysis
  • Purposeof the communication.
  • Participants

–Receivers’ needs

–Initiator’s goals

–Social and professional conditions of the translator

  • Scenario multimodal museumspace.
  • Guidelines
results m acrostructure
Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM Results: Macrostructure
  • Connectivity relations


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 Conclusions
  • Everylayerof themuseum’s multimodal messageis relevanttothecreation of the verbal description.
  • Relationsbetweenthemuseumlayershelptounderstand individual exhibits.
  • Interpretation of the visual messageis controversial butcouldenhancethe verbal descriptionexperience.
Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM


Silvia Soler Gallego | 6ICOM Bibliography

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.