Adopt a language and style that is suited to the audience


The audio description should convey the information in a way that is suited to the needs and preferences of the audience, taking into account factors such as culture and age.

Directions and techniques

Use an accent that is suited to the audience

For locally produced programmes or programmes with no specific cultural reference, viewers may prefer a familiar local accent for the audio description over a foreign accent. For instance, a description for an Irish-based drama would generally work better for an Irish audience if it were to use an Irish voice rather than an English or French voice. Not only will this be easier for viewers to understand but it may be culturally more acceptable and will help the audio description to sound like it has been created as an intrinsic part of the programme rather than an add-on. This promotes the feeling of inclusion. A way to think about this is to ask “if this programme featured a narrator, what sort of accent would be expected?”.

How deep and widespread this preference is will depend on the cultural makeup of the audience. The only way to know viewers’ needs and preferences in this respect is to ask them.

For young children, adopt an appropriate language and style

For programmes aimed at young children the language should be simpler and a more personal style can be adopted. For example, “we see a cat sitting on the wall”, rather than “a cat sits on the wall”, as would be more appropriate for an adult audience.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) guidelines on Audio Description for Childrenprovide some useful general guidance in this area.