Audio description with audio subtitling - an emergent modality of audiovisual localization

Sabine Braun, Pilar Orero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


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 ( 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 characterize 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, system- atise and exemplify the current practice of audio description with audio subtitling using commercially available DVDs. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-188
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translatology
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2010


  • Audio description
  • Audio subtitling
  • Audiovisual translation
  • Subtitling
  • Voice-over


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