Conferences - abstracts - Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Venue: Fondazione Sardegna, Via S. Salvatore da Horta 2 [near Manifattura Tabacchi]


Diamesic translation: a theoretical framework for reporting and captioning disciplines
Carlo Eugeni (Italy)

I will talk of the notion of Diamesic Translation as a discipline. Reporters usually do a job which is considered as transcription. However, transcription is not an automatic or simple job, because it requires understanding of the text as in translation. That is why a new framework where to understand the profession of the reporter is to be proposed scientifically. In this paper I will try to sketch a theoretical framework of diamesic translation with examples that show how the translation strategies first ideated by vinay and darbelnet in 1958 can also be applied to reporting. Plus, a call to reporters will be made to check against this new approach to the discipline.


Linguistic ideologies and editorial principles in parliamentary reporting
Eero Voutilainen (Finland)

In my presentation, I will analyze and compare linguistic and editorial principles of 35national parliamentary reporting offices around the world. My data consists of answers given to a comprehensive survey of 84questions about general premises and detailed practices of parliamentary reporting. In this presentation, I will focus on general themes that I consider as some of the key topics and essential phenomenain parliamentary reporting, such as reporting technologies, organization of the reporting process,target audiences,language ideologies, and fundamentalstrategies of representing speech in written form. Theoretically, I connect my findings to concepts such as ‘entextualization’, ‘speech-to-text transcription’, and ‘diamesic translation’. Methodologically, in the analysis of survey data, I will combine statisticalapproaches with qualitative linguistic discourse analysis.


Italian shorthand machines in the open source era
Giulia Torregrossa & Daniele Casarola (Italy)

The advent of the first open source realtime transcription software and the appearance on the market of kits for the construction of very cheap steno keyboards is widening the field of application of shorthand machines - traditionally focused on parliamentary and court reporting or subtitling for the hard of hearing - from using it as a substitute for the QWERTY keyboard, to applications for communicating dedicated to the visually-impaired and the disabled in general, up to the quick writing of computer programs.
In this presentation, an overview will be given on the Italian opensource shorthand reality, with particular reference to the two main shorthand machine systems currently used.

Harmonised training in real-time intralingual subtitling
Rocío Bernabé Caro, Estella Oncins & Pilar Orero (Spain)

The evolving legal framework surrounding inclusion has enabled greater participation of all audiences in the communication process. In this scenario, communication mediators such real-time intralingual subtitlers face the challenge to satisfy the needs and expectations of authors, audiences and providers while generating qualitative outputs. Despite EU legislation, the provision across Europe is still uneven (European Federation of Hard of Hearing People, 2015) or insufficient (Romero, 2015), and not necessarily provided by trained experts. Moreover, training is not based on a common skills framework or shares quality standards (Eugeni & Bernabé, 2019). The need for harmonised training to equip professionals and prospective trainees with the skills required in the labour market should be tackled. The European co-funded project Live Text Access (LTA) has taken on this task.

The LTA is a collaboration between educational and non-educational partners, which gathers trainers, employers, service providers, end users, and certifiers. The LTA training for real-time intralingual will have suitable skills to provide high-quality subtitles by respeaking or Velotype – which are the two techniques covering the highest number of languages and working scenarios. LTA will also train in five different contexts (cultural events, parliamentary assemblies, workplace, broadcasts and education) and for three working settings (face-to-face, online and by relay).The presentation at the Intersteno conference will focus on the rationale behind the competence-based LTA curriculum design and will describe implementation pathways within and outside higher education settings.

Eugeni, C., & Bernabé, R. (2019). LTA project - Bridging the gap between training and the profession in real-time intralingual subtitling. Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series: Themes in Translation Studies(14).
European Federation of Hard of Hearing People. (2015). State of subtitling access in EU - 2015 Report. Retrieved 11/08/2018 von
Romero, P. (2015). The Reception of Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Europe. (P. Romero Fresco, Hrsg.) Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.


Captioning Software using Automatic Speech Recognition
Tatsuya Kawahara (Japan)

We have investigated the use of automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology for captioning lectures and meetings. In this talk, I will introduce the recent software development and its trials. There are two scenarios: one is video captioning and the other is live captioning. Video captioning demandshigher quality while live captioning requires small latency. In the trials in lectures of Online University, we concluded that the ASR accuracy of 87% is a threshold for usability, and the captioning time can be reduced by 1/3 with the accuracy of 93%. For live captioning, free software named IPtalk is widely used in Japan. We have developed an ASR plug-in for this software, so ASR results can be post-edited easily. There are two ASR options: one is Google cloud-based server and the other is our own software Julius, which can run in a PC without the Internet connection and allows for adaptation of the lexicon and language model for technical terms in lectures. Use of ASR in captioning is increasing in Japan, but still faces some difficulty for wide prevalence, which will be discussed in this talk.
Tatsuya Kawahara
Professor, Kyoto University, Japan


The history of stenographic reviews in the world
Jorge Bravo, Azat Ambartsoumian and Diana Campi (Argentina)

Today we have the honor of being nothing more and less than in Italy, the cradle of the Shorthand. It is here, in this country, where, many, many years ago, in the Roman Senate, Cicero felt the need for his speeches to be recorded. That is why Tirón, his slave, created what is known as "tironianas notes". They, without knowing it, accepted a great challenge: to create a writing system that could leave for history famous debates and speeches, such as the so-called "Catilinaria". As we all know, that invention was spread throughout Rome.

The same can be said of what happened after the revival of shorthand in England, the cradle of modern shorthand and parliamentary democracy. Once again, those who created the first systems, which were then adapted in dozens of countries -even in our America- felt the need to publicize the parliamentary debates and took charge of the challenges of those times.
We could mention many more examples, but we believe that these are enough to show that in different moments of history there have been and continue to be challenges in all professions, and particularly in all those that our Federation includes.

Today as yesterday, or rather today more than yesterday we must be permanently permeable to changes in the ways of carrying out our profession. This does not mean that we should leave aside all that our ancestors have done. Unlike. We could not carry on INTERSTENO without knowing everything that was done from 1887 onwards. We could not go our way without going to the invaluable libraries that contain authentic treasures, treasures that allow us to know the successes and mistakes of those who preceded us. We could not leave out all the forms of communication that technology offers us today. It is our obligation to use these forms of communication, not only for the development of our professions but also to share knowledge, to generate contact channels, to generate digital files, to develop projects such as the ISA project carried out by our Federation.

Today, everything is not limited to a pencil and a paper or a typewriter and paper. Today we have many more elements. And let us ask another question: How much longer will there be computer keyboards and stenotype machines, at least as we know them today?
Today, no profession develops as it did 50, 25 or 10 years ago. Why should we be the exception? Let's use all the elements that are within our reach. Technology today makes our task easier, including dissemination. So, why not talk about these issues that interest us all in a radio program, as we do in Argentina? Why do not we do a comparative study of shorthand, typing, information and communication using digital tools and making information more accessible? Specifically in the case of shorthand, we share the history, the main systems, the main authors. In this sense, as well as in Ghent we proposed to create a catalog of shorthand libraries from different countries of the world, which gave rise to INTERSTENO's ISA project, today we want to make you another proposal: the creation of a digital platform with information accessible through hyperlinks -history of the profession, authors, systems, evolution in different countries, past and present of associations in each country, history of national and international championships, etc.- that should be permanently updated.

To conclude, let us be aware that the future of the professions that are part of our Federation is in our hands, which must also adapt to the new times.

What better to remember here in Italy than our admired GIAN PAOLO TRIVULZIO, a passionate and a visionary who always bet on the future, as he demonstrated with the proposal of using tablets to write in shorthand, as he is doing today in Argentina and in Brazil. Gian Paolo said: "other adjustments will undoubtedly be necessary and the story will continue. We may have to provide answers to new questions. " Today it is in us to perform that task.


Towards the creation of an international library on shorthand
Boris Neubauer (Germany)

Digitizing Shorthand Ressources - The Dream of a Digital Shorthand Library
Since more than ten years, the author is collecting digital ressources to assemble information about shorthand. The difficult situation of classic libraries containing shorthand books makes it necessary to increase their availability by digitizing and to improve their access by OCR (thus reducing the necessity of catalogues). However, the digital world is not without problems: Copyright issues block an uncontrolled distribution of the newer sources in digitized form. In addition, Intersteno, as well as other organisations with shorthand know-how, is interested in combining these efforts with the installation of discussion groups, keeping up the know-how in these traditional fields. The presentation could lead to the introduction of a new discussion forum in the framework of Intersteno.


Opening doors through legislation, machine shorthand and technological collaboration
D’Arcy McPherson (Canada)

The principles of open Parliament continue to challenge and offer opportunities for those who support the work of parliamentarians. The Debates and Publications Office at the Senate of Canada has been providing access through live captioning via machine shorthand since 1999. However, changing technology combined with legislation to reduce barriers to access for people who are disabled or hard of hearing means that there is an increasing responsibility on the part of those who support chamber services to meet needs and be technologically aware.
The Senate of Canada has a mandate to represent the needs and concerns of minorities and to ensure that their role in Canadian society is participatory, inclusive and valued. Bill C-81, an Act to Ensure a Barrier Free Canada also known as the Accessible Canada Act, is currently at second reading before the Senate and is expected to be passed by June.

Once passed, Bill C-81 would give the Government of Canada the authority to work with stakeholders and Canadians with disabilities to create new accessibility standards and regulations that would apply to sectors in the federal jurisdiction, such as banking, telecommunications, transportation industries like air and rail, and the Government of Canada itself. These new regulated standards would set out requirements for organizations to follow in order to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility.

If passed, Bill C-81 will help to change the way that the Government of Canada and organizations in the federal jurisdiction interact with Canadians. It defines a proposal for standards development, regulations, compliance and enforcement measures, the complaints process, and roles and responsibilities for implementation.

It is no surprise that the speech-to-text industry has been a large part of providing access for people who are hard of hearing. In my presentation, I wish to address the ways in which XML technology can be applied in a parliamentary reporting office environment in order to provide enhanced services not only for parliamentarians but also to provide greater access for all Canadians and particularly those Canadians who face barriers to information. By leveraging existing machine shorthand skill sets and combining that with digital technology and XML applications, Parliament can truly become a house for all people.


Live subtitling of debates in the Dutch House of Representatives
Michiel Haanen (the Netherlands)

Parliaments are democratic institutes run and owned by the people.Openness, transparency and accessibility are essential for such institutes. Thus, the idea to disclose to the public everything that is discussed and decided in parliament as much as possible, including to people with disabilities, is not far-fetched.

In our presentation we would like to try to answer the following questions:

  • What does Dutch Parliament do to make it possible for the hearing-impaired to follow (live) debates? Which goals has the House of Representatives set itself?
  • Which national and European regulation is there on accessibility?
  • How did the service of live subtitling take shape at the Parliamentary Reporting Office? Past, present,future.
  • How does live subtitling work at the moment? Short film of subtitling of question time.


House of Commons Procedure: Access and Scrutiny
Tony Minichiello (UK)

As the opportunities for political discourse widen with the increase in internet-based communication, so authoritative, accessible sources for that discourse increase in importance. Analysis of the role of parliaments is crucial in that context. Historically, parliamentary procedure has been seen as arcane, confusing and a barrier to participation. The aim of the latest House of Commons guide to procedure is to reverse that process through a new approach to language and technology to shed new light on how the House of Commons conducts its business and reaches its decisions.

The way in which the guide was produced embodied its principles: it was written over two years completely in-house by people who work in the UK parliament with a strong commitment to increasing participation in politics by the general public and to maximising the opportunities for MPs to hold the Government of the day to account. Content is regularly updated and the structure reviewed to maximise accessibility.

The guide can be viewed at

Tony Minichiello
Managing Editor
Official Report
Hansard, House of Commons, UK


Audio Description: future perspectives into parliamentary accessibility
Joel Snyder, Ph.D. (USA)
President, Audio Description Associates, LLC (USA)
Director, Audio Description Project, American Council of the Blind

The Intersteno community is a cadre of communication professionals at “capturing the spoken words in all environments and by different techniques and technologies and presenting it in various formats to various categories of users.” When visual images are a part of a presentation, a special challenge exists: how can words be used to “translate” images to words for the benefit of those who cannot see the presentation—whether they are simply not in the same room or perhaps they are people who are blind or have low vision.

Audio Description is the use of words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative to convey the visual image from television and film that is not fully accessible to a significant segment of the population (more than 21 million Americans experience significant vision loss - American Foundation for the Blind, 2008). Audio Description is a translation of images to words — the visual is made verbal — and has been shown to provide access to the wide range of media and arts (television, film, performing arts, museums) that comprise any culture as well as the myriad live presentations at conferences, in educational institutions and in a wide range of formats.

This audio description session will provide an overview of the “Fundamentals of Audio Description” (developed by Dr. Snyder) and access awareness, particularly with respect to people who are blind or have low vision. The focus of this Intersteno 2019 presentation will be on how presenters in live events can use audio description techniques to create accessibility and how Intersteno professionals can capture the visual image of any media and use words most effectively to convey meaning.

Session Presenter: Dr. Joel Snyder is known internationally as one of the world’s first “audio describers,” a pioneer in the field of Audio Description, a translation of visual images to vivid language for the benefit, primarily, of people who are blind or have a vision impairment: the visual is made verbal—and aural, and oral. Since 1981, he has introduced audio description techniques in over 40 states and 62 countries and has made hundreds of live events, media projects and museums accessible. In 2014, the American Council of the Blind published Dr. Snyder’s book, The Visual Made Verbal – A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description, now available as an audio book voiced by Dr. Snyder, in screen reader accessible formats, and in English, Polish, Russian and Portuguese. Dr. Snyder is the President of Audio Description Associates, LLC ( and he serves as the Director of the Audio Description Project of the American Council of the Blind (

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