Audio Description Behaviour: Universals, Regularities and Guidelines
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science
Year of publication
As the ad hoc narrative created for any media representation, dynamic or static, from a guided city tour of Barcelona to a Picasso painting, audio description is considered a form of semiotic translation; hence, some patterns and regularities should be observable both in its intermodal creation and its interlinguistic translation. While there is still only a small body of literature on audio description, audio-description guidelines seem to be one of the topics which have captured the interest of both academia and the professional world. There are now documents available for a number of countries which are concerned with the production and quality of audio- description scripts. Starting from the premise that audio description exhibits certain patterns or regularities, this article will look first at the concept of universals in Translation Studies, and how this concept can be extended to audio description. It then catalogues the many existing guidelines, which, if followed, should mark clear regularities in the audio description within a country – or language. After looking at some examples from existing norms and standards, we will explore some possible ways to define audio description universals for both theory and practical application, opening up the possibility of many avenues of research. One such avenue is the reception of the same visual input by different cultures; in this context, an international research project will be outlined: The Pear Tree Project. The article will finish by describing this project, its objectives and possible outcomes.