Empirical research is research based on the systematic observation and descrip-tion of evidence in order to develop theories on how something works. Empiri-cal research methods test given working hypotheses using observation and ex-periments, and they are common in some areas of study, such as psychology and sociology, but still neglected in other areas (Goodwin 2005). In particular, the field of audiovisual translation (AVT) does not have a long and strong empirical tradition. However, the studies conducted in Belgium by the team of psycholo-gist led by Géry d’Ydewalle back in the 1980s opened the way to this new ap-proach, which soon started to attract the attention of several researchers around Europe and the US. In AVT, empirical research deals mainly with the observation of user reactions and preferences to given translation methods (e.g. subtitling or dubbing) or translation solutions (e.g. literal translation vs. edited translation). It is therefore used to understand the objective mechanisms of the audiovisual product recep-tion in order to identify what are the real (vs. supposed) advantages and disad-vantages of the tested translation method or solution. This is particularly im-portant because through the measurement of user experience, it is possible to assess whether existing translation methods or standards are effective or need revision. The attention to the user reaction to an audiovisual product has become even more important when accessible audiovisual translation started to gain momentum. If standard audiences have the ability to adapt easily to more or less 1Preparation of this article was partly supported by The University of Trieste Research Fund FRA 2013 (Towards an empirical evaluation of audiovisual translation: A new integrat-ed approach) and FRA 2015 (Access through translation: Audio description for museums) both awarded to Elisa Perego. complex translation situations (d’Ydewalle and De Bruycker 2007) and to com-pensate for translational or structural inconsistencies found in the translated product (e.g. bad subtitle line breaks, Perego et al. 2010), sensorially disabled users might benefit more easily from products that fully comply with their spe-cific needs.
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