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Audio description in the digital age: Amateur describers, web technology and beyond

Sang-Bin Lee 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Audio description is an aural translation of a filmed performance or a live event for the benefit of blind and partially sighted (BPS) people. It entails multiple actors including describers (those writing and editing a script), voice actors (those reading the script at silence spots), and technicians (those responsible for sound recording). It is thus a laborious and complex translational process, and still remains nearly off-limits to sighted laypeople. Recently, however, there have been new attempts to popularise the production of audio description. Among them is YouDescribe, a free web-based platform for adding descriptions to YouTube videos. Creating descriptions in YouDescribe or ‘YouDescribing’ is similar in varying degrees to emerging fields of translation studies, such as ‘collaborative translation’, ‘volunteer translation’, ‘non-professional translation’, ‘community translation’, and ‘translation crowdsourcing’. More recently, a smartphone-based application for audio description has been developed in South Korea to allow describers to cooperate on a common project and improve the daily life of BPS people. These features have not been offered by traditional platforms, and constitute Audio Description 3.0, a new stage of development in audio description practice.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.