Audio Description with Audio Subtitling – an emergent modality of audiovisual localisation
Perspectives: Studies in Translatology
Year of publication
Audio description (AD) has established itself as a media access service for blind and partially sighted people across a range of countries, for different media and types of audiovisual performance (e.g. film, TV, theatre, opera). In countries such as the UK and Spain, legislation has been implemented for the provision of AD on TV, and the European Parliament has requested that AD for digital TV be monitored in projects such as DTV4ALL (www.psp-dtv4all.org) in order to be able to develop adequate European accessibility policies. One of the drawbacks is that in their current form, AD services largely leave the visually impaired community excluded from access to foreign-language audiovisual products when they are subtitled rather than dubbed. To overcome this problem, audio subtitling (AST) has emerged as a solution. This article will characterise audio subtitling as a modality of audiovisual localisation which is positioned at the interface between subtitling, audio description and voice-over. It will argue that audio subtitles need to be delivered in combination with audio description and will analyse, systematise and exemplify the current practice of audio description with audio subtitling using commercially available DVDs.