Rhymed vs. “Traditional” Audio Description in movies and TV programmes for children: New Challenges and Possibilities

Monika Zabrocka-Śliwka, Poland, ID LLCE2016-323;   Translation studies as an academic discipline have been growing rapidly in recent years and. A particular development is observed in the domain of audiovisual translation which includes audio description (AD). My interests focus on the topic of AD in movies addressed to the blind and partially sighted children who need different and more detailed description given by AD from that provided for the similarly disabled adults. An artistic audio description the character of which would be relevant to the content of the movie or TV programme seems to be suitable to audiovisual productions addressed to children, as its aim is to strongly affect children’s imagination. TV programmes for children are the basic tool in guiding children’s cognitive processes, and thus, a very important element of their education, what is stressed by Barbara Szymańska in her article Audiodeskrypcja, czyli o tym jak kultura audiowizualna staje się dostępna dla osób niewidomych (Audio Description – how the audiovisual culture becomes accessible to the blind) published in the magazine “TyloŚwiat”. She emphasies that “access to audiodescribed programmes and films opens children to the world of moving images”. On the contrary, rare contact with audiovisual productions make children less sensitive to the perception of movies and TV programmes and cause some problems with the understanding of their content. Therefore, the audiovisual education should start in early age, and children should have a constant contact with audiodescribed films and TV programmes.

            The aim of this paper is to demonstrate a  role and an influence of a well prepared and interesting AD for the understanding of programmes by the blind children and for the act of creating their own image of the world and their linguistic competences. The study is based on the various AD scripts prepared for selected fragments of Pixar’s Boundin’ and Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, read both with a natural voice and one of the artificial voices of the IVONA Reader Package. The audiodescribed fragments were presented to the blind children; the sighted children watched the same fragments without AD. Next, all children answered questions about those films and characters appearing in them. By my presentation I would like to draw attention to the wide range of opportunities which audiodescribers have, because children's audio description by its unusual form (of poems or songs) could link fun and education and perfectly fit in a very popular trend which is edutainment (learning through entertainment).