Date published:

Audio describing films for the congenitally and non-congenitally blind

Agnieszka Chmiel & Iwona Mazur (2021): A homogenous or heterogeneous audience? Audio description preferences of persons with congenital blindness, non-congenital blindness and low vision, Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice,

DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2021.1913198

Audio description means describing visual stimuli for the needs of blind people. In reality, audio description users are a heterogenous group – including people congenitally blind, people with low vision or the non-congenitally blind, i.e. those who lost vision at some point in their lives. Depending on the vision impairment and their potential visual memory, each of these people can have different expectations as to audio description.

In order to see if audio description preferences differ depending on the vision impairment, we conducted a study with 50 persons with congenital blindness, non-congenital blindness and low vision. The participants watched audio described film clips and answered questions about their preferences regarding objectivity, describing facial expressions and colours, using similes and metaphors. We predicted that people with residual vision would for instance focus more on video-AD synchronisation. Our findings suggest that group differences are not as strong as expected.

This means that AD should strive for middle-of-the-road solutions and target a varied group of users, at the same time allowing for alternative versions targeted at specific audiences.