About audio description

Welcome to the Audio Description Worldwide Consortium!

We have the commitment to promote and spread the best practises in audio description. As well as to provide audio describers, audio description consultants and users of audio description with current information on disability issues, accessibility resources and legal rights of the people who are blind or have low vision.

But we cannot do that alone. You are always very welcome to help. On this page you will learn the basics on audio description, such as its concept and generally accepted standards. See our bibliography page for more information on audio description and much more.

Learning is a precious tool for leasure and spiritual enrichment.

Now, a few things about audio description: according to the American Council of the Blind (http://www.acb.org/adp/ad.html#what),

“Audio Description involves the accessibility of the visual images of theater, television, movies, and other art forms for people who are blind, have low vision, or who are otherwise visually impaired. It is a narration service (provided at no additional charge to the patron) that attempts to describe what the sighted person takes for granted — those images that a person who is blind or visually impaired formerly could only experience through the whispered asides from a sighted companion.

In theaters, in museums, and accompanying television, film, and video presentations, Audio Description is commentary and narration which guides the listener through the presentation with concise, objective descriptions of new scenes, settings, costumes, body language, and “sight gags,” all slipped in between portions of dialogue or songs.”

As stated in the Audio Description Associates site (http://www.audiodescribe.com/about/whatisad.php):

“People who are vision impaired need not be culturally disadvantaged. Audio Description (AD) provides a verbal version of the visual image. It’s a narration of all the visual elements-action, costumes, settings, images-of theater, television/film, museum exhibitions, and other events. Visually impaired patrons experience all the visually engaging elements of cultural events, the rich variety of colors, lighting effects, levels, gestures, and facial expressions that others often take for granted; critical bits of information that a person who has low vision formerly could only experience through the whispered asides from a sighted companion.

Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, properly trained describers convey the visual image that otherwise is not fully accessible to 10 million blind or low vision Americans and not fully realized by the rest of us, sighted folks who see but who may not observe.”

In line with the ACB and ADA, above cited, the Media Access Austrália (http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/about/what-is-media-access/what-is-audio-description) asserts that:

“Audio description is the auditory narration of visual representations such as television programs, films and live performances. During gaps in dialogue, it describes visual elements such as scenes, settings, actions and costumes..

Audio description is found on TV and DVDs as a separate language track or is accessed by using audio description equipment at a cinema or live performance.

It is particularly beneficial to people who are blind and vision impaired and people with print, learning and physical disabilities.”

The Humanasing Technology Blog (http://www.nomensa.com/blog/2010/what-is-audio-description) claims that:

“Blind and partially sighted people benefit most clearly from audio description. A good audio described soundtrack will describe characters, scene changes, and on screen text. People with cognitive disabilities might also find this information helps them process visual content more easily.”

In consonance with the understanding that áudio description benefits not only people with visual impairments, the http://listeningislearning.org argues that:

“For sighted children, description offers a promise of a new way to promote literacy and learning. This is consistent with the pattern that repeats itself throughout the history of technological development; innovations and accommodations made for people with disabilities benefit many people without disabilities. Even Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone grew out of his efforts to assist people with hearing disabilities.”.

Come back to this page for more things about audio description.