Maija Hirvonen


Description of research and teaching

I'm currently conducting two research projects:

  • MUTABLE: Multimodal Translation with the Blind (2017-2019, Academy of Finland),
  • MeMAD: Methods for Managing Audiovisual Data: Combining human accuracy with computational efficiency (2018-2020, EU Horizon2020),

In MUTABLE, I study the translation process from the perspective of multimodal interaction and collaboration between translators and users. As a case in point is the audio description process in which a team of sighted and blind describers creates an audio description of a film. Audio description means verbally translating visual elements of an audiovisual narrative for the benefit of visually impaired persons, enhancing their access to visual and audiovisual culture. My project combines Translation Studies, Linguistics and Film Studies with interactional, multimodal, and cognitive scientific perspectives. Drawing on socio-cognitive analysis of translation processes and multimodal analysis of interaction, the project collects and investigates data from authentic audio description processes in Finland, Germany and Austria. The primary data consist of video recordings of face-to-face encounters between audio describers.

In MeMAD, an international consortium of research and business partners develop methods of accessing audiovisual content through language (audio and content descriptions, and subtitling). The idea is to combine human and machine translation to create an improved model of information extraction, retrieval and search. The method will benefit in particular the Creative Industries in dealing with the ever-growing amount of audiovisual big data, such as videos and films, but it can also be adapted to improve the access services as semi-automatic audio description and subtitling.

In general, my research interests are:

  • intermodal translation (audio description, subtitling, multisensory interpreting, environmental description)
  • accessibility
  • multimodality in translation and interpreting
  • multimodal interaction, asymmetrical interaction
  • human-machine interaction
  • multimodal machine translation
  • media culture, film studies
  • cognitive linguistics
  • shared cognition, cultural cognition

I teach BA and MA level courses in translation studies and supervise MA and doctoral theses. Here's an example of my teaching, featuring a video lecture about accessibility services in multimodal translation (hosted by UniTube).

Outside the university, I am elected member of Young Academy of Finland (2017-2021; information in Finnish) and member of its board. I am audio describer and member of the audio description board of the organisation "Cultural Service for the Visually Impaired" (Näkövammaisten kulttuuripalvelu ry) in Finland.



Highlighted publications

  1. How are translations created? Using multimodal conversation analysis to study a team translation process

    Hirvonen, M. I. & Tiittula, L. M., 2018, In : Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series: Themes in Translation Studies. 17, p. 157-173 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Blindheit als Ressource: Zur professionellen Kompetenz eines blinden Teammitglieds bei der gemeinsamen Anfertigung einer Audiodeskription

    Hirvonen, M. I. & Schmitt, R., 2018, In : Gesprächsforschung. 19, p. 449-477 29 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  3. Miten elokuvan kuvailutulkkaus syntyy?

    Hirvonen, M. I., 2018

    Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/siteProfessional

  4. Imaginary places – Verbalization of setting in the English, German and Spanish audio descriptions of Slumdog Millionaire

    Hirvonen, M. I. & Igareda, P., 2017, In : mtm - A translation journal. 9, p. 341-364 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  5. Audiodeskription und Sichtdolmetschen: Translation über Sinnesgrenzen: Eine Begriffsanalyse

    Hirvonen, M. I., 2018, Spielräume der Translation: Dolmetschen und Übersetzen in Theorie und Praxis. Kvam, S., Meloni, I., Parianou, A., Schopp, J. & Solfjeld, K. (eds.). Münster: Waxmann

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

  6. Kun ei näe - audiovisuaalisen kulttuurin saavuttamattomuus sokean kuulokulmasta

    Hirvonen, M. I. & Ojanen, M., 2017, In : Lähikuva. 30, 3, p. 86-93 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific

  7. Multimodal Representation and Intermodal Similarity: Cues of Space in the Audio Description of Film

    Hirvonen, M., 2014, Helsinki: University of Helsinki. 133 p.

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

View all (29) »

Highlighted activities

  1. Translation as interactive meaning constitution and negotiation

    Maija Hirvonen (Speaker)
    13 Mar 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


    Mari Wiklund (Speaker: Presenter), Maija Inkeri Hirvonen (Speaker: Presenter)
    7 Jun 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  3. Teamwork between blind and sighted persons: Effects of visual asymmetry on intersubjectivity

    Maija Inkeri Hirvonen (Speaker), Liisa Tiittula (Speaker)
    11 May 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

  4. Nuorten tiedeakatemian klubi - Young Academy Club

    Maija Hirvonen (Speaker)
    14 May 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  5. University of Vienna

    Maija Hirvonen (Visiting researcher)
    19 Jan 201818 Mar 2018

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

  6. Institut für Deutsche Sprache

    Maija Hirvonen (Visiting researcher)
    1 Oct 201125 Oct 2011

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

  7. Institut für Deutsche Sprache

    Maija Hirvonen (Visiting researcher)
    1 Mar 201130 Apr 2011

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

View all (52) »

Highlighted projects

  1. MUTABLE: Multimodal Translation with the Blind

    Hirvonen, M.



    Project: Research project

  2. MULTI: Multimodality in Translation and Interpreting

    Tuominen, T., Hirvonen, M., Ketola, A., Pitkäsalo, E. & Isolahti, N.

    Project: Research project

  3. Kuvailutulkkauksen prosodiaa

    Wiklund, M. & Hirvonen, M.

    18/02/2016 → …

    Project: Research project

View all (6) »

ID: 11722859