Conference presentation

Why should web accessibility best practices be taught in the localisation classroom? Insights from an empirical study

Presented at3rd International Conference on Research into the Didactics of Translation, Barcelona (Spain), 7th-8th July 2016
Publication date2016

In spite of the remarkable technology advancements that we have experienced over the last decades, the universal goal of granting access to information on the Web for all is far from being achieved. The rights of people with disabilities as regards their participation in the digital information society are acknowledged in most national and international policies and yet, web professionals fail to create websites that are at least compliant with the web accessibility guidelines established by the W3C. Some scholars in the field have showed that one of the reasons why accessibility best practices are often overlooked by web designers and developers is their lack of awareness about how the different members of the aforementioned community browse the Web. This has led to the integration of web accessibility modules in computing-related courses, where students are presented not only with technical mechanisms to render web content accessible, but also with the assistive technologies that users rely on to access the Web. We argue that a similar approach should be adopted in web localisation teaching, since translators and web localisation engineers should be responsible for the level of accessibility achieved in the target product. The acquisition of web accessibility knowledge and know-how by localisation trainees would not only benefit end users of the multilingual Web but also the students themselves, who could use these added value skills as an additional asset when entering the evolving and increasingly competitive localisation industry. In this paper, we will support our case for the inclusion of web accessibility training in the localisation curriculum with (i) previous descriptive research work from the author −including the findings from a survey on multilingual web accessibility assessment targeting web accessibility experts− and (ii) the results from a recent experiment carried out with 28 localisation professionals. The experiment consisted of a localisation task and focused on one of the major accessibility barriers experienced by visually impaired users: images on the Web. The study, during which seven blind users were requested to assess the quality of the localisation task output, demonstrated that neither having intermediate or advanced HTML skills nor using computer assisted translation (CAT) tools is sufficient to deliver a localised website with accessible images. Only the localisers who had been previously trained on web accessibility issues were able to correctly identify and localise the mechanism commonly used to render image accessible: the alt attribute of the HTML element.

  • localisation training
  • people with disabilities
  • web accessibility
Citation (ISO format)
RODRIGUEZ VAZQUEZ, Silvia. Why should web accessibility best practices be taught in the localisation classroom? Insights from an empirical study. In: 3rd International Conference on Research into the Didactics of Translation. Barcelona (Spain). 2016.
  • PID : unige:86877

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