Design and Translation









The Ways of Synesthetic Translation: Design models for media accessibility 

Dina Riccò 

Politecnico di Milano

Keywords: synesthesia; intersemiotic translation; tactile graphic design; design for all


Synesthetic translation, historically applied to artistic productions and in the twentieth century applied by scholars to neuroscience to explain the unity of the senses, is addressed, defined and illustrated in this paper with regard to designing access to content. In particular, the paper shows how the concept of accessibility, underlying every interlinguistic translation process, may be promoted by synthetic translations, i.e. particular types of intersemiotic translation - among various codes (verbal, figurative, sonorous, etc.) - in which the original text (prototext) and the translated text (metatext) use different sensory registers. The goal is to achieve a form of design that grants everyone access to content (design for all). This paper compares synesthetic practices in typhlology, i.e. aimed at the blind, with extra visual communication design techniques. The conclusion is that all too often, despite having access to the necessary tools, visual designers tend to neglect the needs of the disabled.

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: Riccò, D. (2016). The Ways of Synesthetic Translation: Design models for media accessibility. Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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