Self-perceptions of audio describers: Does how you see yourself affect how you describe?

by Alicja Zajdel

Audio description (AD) is a media accessibility service for non-sighted viewers, in which visual information is converted into an audio commentary. While this task is considered a form of intersemiotic translation (translating images into words), no knowledge of a foreign language is required to perform the task. In most countries audio describers come from a variety of backgrounds, not necessarily translation related. Therefore, the question arises: how do AD practitioners conceptualise what they do? This project looks to both translation and writing process research to gain insight into the process of drafting an AD script and the impact of the describer’s self-perceived professional identity on both the process and the final product.


This will be the first project of its kind, as process research in AD is extremely limited, despite calls for such studies (Jankowska 2021; Ramos and Rojo 2020; Braun 2007). Understanding the underlying processes of AD scripting will create new knowledge for both translation process research and writing studies and can be applied to design future AD training courses. Moreover, no previous study has considered the self-identity of AD practitioners. While attempts have been made to understand the skills and competencies of describers (ADLAB PRO 2017), this project will add a new, socio-psychological dimension to our understanding of the profession.

The project is funded by FWO (grant number: 1181723N).