Audio description from an E2U language perspective
13th Languages and the media. International conference and exhibition on language transfer in audiovisual media
Providing accessible audiovisual content which caters for diverse user needs is one of the challenges of today's digitized society. Audio description (AD) has been recently proposed to adopt the principles and guidelines of easy-to-understand language (E2UL) to reach larger audiences (Bernabé-Caro and Orero, in press). The Erasmus+ EASIT project (2018-1-ES01-KA203-05275) has brought together experts in the fields of E2UL language and AD to discuss in focus groups the viability of this proposal (EASIT, 2019). Results show that this new approach seems to be favoured for specific genres, such as theatre plays, opera, dance, and museums, in which the viewer has a chance to access additional content, such as an audio introduction before the show or experience. On the contrary, the immediacy of television and film products seems to be considered as an impediment for an E2U AD according to the experts. However, an idea worth exploring was put forward in the discussions among experts: aren't current audio descriptions already easy-to-understand? To what extent does E2UL already match some language features of current Catalan AD? Using these questions as a starting point, our research aims to describe current practices in Catalan AD from an E2UL perspective. The paper presents the results of analysing a corpus of Catalan ADs from 10 contemporary American films of various genres (55,233 tokens) both from a quantitative and a qualitative perspective. Results will provide data on corpus aboutness, frequent words and collocations in the corpus, sentence complexity, use of specific lexicon, or occurrence of name entities, among other features. The quantitative analysis of the corpus has been supported by the use of the ContaWords® tool. The results of this corpus analyses aim to complement the views of experts as discussed above. Our hypothesis is that, as regards language choices, current AD practice in Catalan may not lie too far from the principles of E2UL, which would speak in favour of implementing E2UL also in television and film AD.