Audio description of audiovisual programmes for the visually impaired in Hong Kong
Year of publication
Audio description (AD) is a means of translating visual and sound elements in audiovisual programmes, as well as in the performing and visual arts, into verbal elements, thus making these materials accessible to viewers with visual impairments. It has been a major area of interest within the field of audiovisual translation studies in recent years and a considerable amount of literature has been published on end users’ reception in Western countries. When it comes to the Chinese speaking world, little literature is available on AD reception studies and no previous works have investigated the media uses and gratifications of the blind and the partially sighted in Hong Kong. The main purpose of this research is to examine the media use behaviour and motivations as well as the reception and preferences of the visually impaired audiences when consuming AD. After examining the main characteristics of AD and its history in Hong Kong, the study focuses on a media accessibility survey under the uses and gratifications framework, and an AD reception study. The views of 44 blind and partially sighted participants are elicited through individual face-to-face interviews. During the reception study, a pre-questionnaire, a questionnaire proper, experimental clips with different versions of AD, and a postquestionnaire were used to identify their AD preferences. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. The results reveal that the participants are not satisfied with the current provision of AD services, they demand higher volumes of materials with AD, and have certain AD preferences that if taken properly into account by the industry could help improve their comprehension of audiovisual programmes. The findings offer important insights into the situation of AD in Hong Kong and recommendations are put forward for future developments to serve the community, especially in terms of training audio describers.