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AUDIO DESCRIPTION AND SEMIOTICS: The Translation of Films for Visually-Impaired Audiences

McGonigle, Frances (2013) AUDIO DESCRIPTION AND SEMIOTICS: The Translation of Films for Visually-Impaired Audiences Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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This thesis explores the translation of mainstream film imagery in audio description (AD) for visually-impaired audiences, looking specifically at the intersemiotic transfer (from the visual to the verbal mode) of visual constructions important to connotational meaning. The original contribution of this work is the improved qualitative understanding of how viewing value may be enhanced for the users of film AD through the inclusion of imagery that presents wider opportunities for meaning-making. This research was based on the hypothesis that traditional forms of film AD may not adequately provide for visual connotation even though this is an integral part of filmmaking important to the expression of meanings beyond the basic story. Moreover, that visually-impaired people with intact cognitive function have an ability to conceptualise imagery in equivalent ways to sighted people. Traditionally, film AD has been a means of ‘filling in the gaps’ between dialogue and sounds to provide users with simple and coherent stories in the context of what can be heard. However, films are semiotic systems (Mitry, 2000: 15) communicating to audiences via complex patterns of visual and auditory signs, so whilst current practice in AD may respond to the legal requirement of access for all, access may not be equivalent if important elements of imagery are not adequately transferred. Based on three qualitative sources of data: the analysis of film and AD content, the testing of different AD versions and a semi-structured interview with respondents, this research sought to understand whether visual imagery important to wider levels of meaning is adequately handled in film AD in the UK and what this means in terms of value for target users. Whilst it was found that more sophisticated content is sometimes included, transfer is widely inconsistent, with consequential loss in value for AD target users.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Date : 9 December 2013
Contributors :
Thesis supervisorRogers,
Thesis supervisorBraun,
Depositing User : Frances Mcgonigle
Date Deposited : 19 Jan 2015 11:35
Last Modified : 19 Jan 2015 11:35

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