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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Language & Translation Studies Short Name: TRAM175
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: HYKS VM Ms (Lang & Trans)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability
Semesters 1 and 2
Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting towards Module Mark (%)
Audiodescription of 10 minutes of film – documentary genre
Audiodescription of 10 minutes of film – entertainment genre
Audiodescription of 15-20 minutes of film
10-minute oral presentation outlining problems encountered and reasons for choices made in third audiodescription project

Qualifying Condition(s)
: A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Module Overview

In audiodescription, additional narrative is inserted in films, TV programmes or theatre performances to describe the actions, body language and other essential details in order to increase comprehension and enjoyment of audiovisual contents for blind and partially sighted people. In this module students will learn how to produce audiodescription. The focus will be on acquiring skills for analysing the various components of audiovisual materials (speech, sound, text), developing strategies for transferring visual images information into verbal language and learning to create AD files, using professional AD software.

First degree in an appropriate language or equivalent. Near-native or native competency in English.
Module Aims

In this module students will learn how to describe clearly, vividly, succinctly and accurately what is happening in the quiet intervals between dialogue and sound effects on screen or on the theatre stage from the perspective of the visually-impaired person, using appropriate language and tone to convey this essential information. A variety of audiovisual genres will be covered.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles of audiodescription (AD) in relation to visual impairment;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the nature of visual impairment and disabled people’s access needs;
  • select vocabulary and terminology to describe actions, facial expression, changes of mood, clothing/costume and décor, appropriate to a variety of pre-recorded samples; 
  • use editorial techniques to select significant visual information;
  • employ the vocal delivery needed to present an informative and aesthetically pleasing audiodescription piece;
  • produce descriptions approaching a professional standard;
  • work effectively as part of a team;
  • give and take critical feedback;
  • justify and explain their description choices by analysis of the decision process.
Module Content
The following topics will be covered:
  • functionality and operation of professional-level software;
  • introduction to AD and its governing principles;
  • visual impairment and the Disability Discrimination Act (with a blind or partially-sighted person);
  • rights and wrongs (with practical demonstrations of bad practice);
  • practical work;
  • rules and tools;
  • vocabulary: motion, colour, emotion and technical;
  • selection and editing;
  • accuracy;
  • course review (with participation of a blind or partially-sighted person);
  • project team work;
  • feedback/peer assessment/assessment by a blind or partially-sighted person;
  • vocal delivery; microphone techniques;
  • individual preparation and presentation of an audiodescription with evaluation from a visually impaired person.
Methods of Teaching/Learning
The class will consist of hands-on practice, supported by demonstrations and discussions, in which the primary focus will be on applying principles of audiodescription and on the use of language – objectivity, sensitivity and application. Practical written demonstrations will cover a variety of pre-recorded programme and film clips – individual and team work. Vocal work and presentation will also be practised.

Students will be expected to give presentations of their work, and to comment on problems and chosen solutions. Private study will involve the preparation of ADs for a range of pre-recorded samples. Cinema and theatre visits will be encouraged, normally including a class visit to a theatrical presentation. A field visit to an existing audiodescription unit will be arranged where practicable. The module will involve twenty four hours class contact per semester.
Selected Texts/Journals
Essential reading:
Benecke, B. (2004). "Audio-Description." Meta 49(1): 78-80.
Braun, S. (2007). "Audio Description from a discourse perspective: a socially relevant framework for research and training." Linguistica Antverpiensia NS 6, 357-369.
Carey, K. (2002). "The colour of sound and the soundness of colour." BJVI 20(5): 80-83. Copy at CTS.
Díaz Cintas, J., Orero, P. & Remael, A. (Eds) (2007). Media for All. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Fels, D., et. al (2006): "A Comparison of Alternative Narrative Approaches to Video Description for Animated Comedy." Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness 100(5): 295-305. Copy at CTS
Recommended reading:
Hernández-Bartolomé, A. & G. Mendiluce-Cabrera (2004). "Audesc: Translating Images into Words for Spanish Visually Impaired People." Meta 49(2): 264-277.
Hyks, V. (2005). "Audio Description and Translation. Two related but different skills." Translating Today 4: 6-8. Copy at CTS
Matamala, A. (2005). "Live Audio Description in Catalonia." Translating Today 4: 9-11. Copy at CTS
O'Carroll, L. (2001). "Audio-description: An option, not an answer." BJVI 19(9): 106 - 107. Copy at CTS
Orero, P. (2005): “Audio Description: Professional Recognition, Practice and Standards in Spain”. Translation Watch Quarterly 1: 7-18. Copy at CTS
Orero, P. (2005): "Teaching Audiovisual Accessibility.". Translating Today 4: 12-15. Copy at CTS
Pettitt, B.; Sharpe, K. & Cooper, S. (1996). "AUDETEL: Enhancing television for visually impaired people." BJVI 14(2): 48-52. Copy at CTS
Pfanstiehl, M. & Pfanstiehl, C. (1985). "The play's the thing - audio description in the theatre." BJVI 3(3): 91-92. Copy at CTS
Piper, M. (1988). "Audio Description: pioneer's progress." BJVI 6(2): 75-76.
Piety, P. (2004). "The Language System of Audio Description: An Investigation as a Discursive Process." Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 98(8): 453-469. Copy at CTS
Schmeidler, E. & C. Kirchner (2001). "Adding audio description. Does it make a difference?" Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness 95(4): 197-212. Copy at CTS
Snyder, J. (2005). "Audio Description. The Visual Made Verbal Across Arts Disciplines - Across the Globe." Translating Today 4: 15-17. Copy at CTS
Background reading:
Cook, I. (2006). Picture the scene. Guardian, 6 April 2006.
OfCom (2001.) Guidance on Standards for Audio Description.
OfCom (2006). Provision of Access Services. Research Study Conducted for Ofcom. OfCom, London.
OfCom (2006). Television Access Services - Literature Review. OfCom, London.
OfCom (2004). Code on Television Access Services. OfCom, London.
OPSI (1996). The Broadcasting Act 1996. Office of Public Sector Information, London.
OPSI (2005). The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). Office of Public Sector Information, London.
RNIB (n.d.). Audio Description home page. Royal National Institute for the Blind, London.
RNIB (2006): “How do people with sight problems do every day things”.
Rogets Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. (2006). Penguin, London.
Last Updated
17 August 2009