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Audio Description Explained for Businesses & Government (Section 508 Compliance)

example of audio description service between two people

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As digital accessibility requirements and guidelines become more stringent, organizations and businesses need to ensure that their content is accessible to everyone, including those with visual impairments. Audio description (AD) services provide a solution by creating an audio track that describes what is happening on-screen. Here’s a closer look at how TestPros’ audio description services can help your organization comply with digital accessibility standards.

example of audio description service between two people

What is Audio Description?

Audio description is a way of narrating what appears on-screen so that those who are blind or have poor vision can follow along. Audio description typically consists of a narrator providing a play-by-play account of the action in between dialogue, using brief pauses to insert descriptions. For example, if two characters are watching a movie, the audio description might say something like “he puts his arm around her and she leans into him”.

Why Use Audio Description Services?

There are several reasons why your organization might need to use audio description services.

Accessibility

The most important reason is to ensure that your content is accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of vision.

Avoid Litigation

Additionally, using audio description services can help you meet legal requirements and avoid potential penalties. For instance, many government contractors are required to make their content accessible under Section 504 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Maintain Compliance

TestPros ensures that all audio descriptions we provide meet and/or exceed the Audio Description Accessibility requirements within Section 508 and WCAG guidelines.

Our Process as an Audio Description Vendor

TestPros provides support using the guidelines from the Audio Description Coalition (ADC) “Standards for Audio Description and Code of Professional Conduct for Describers”, with accurate adaptations for the description of live events, video, and museums and exhibits.

We supplement the ADC Standards with additional related reference materials, such as the “Voice of America Pronunciation Guide”. Other related references include the “Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Books” guide, and “The Describer’s Dictionary: A Treasury of Terms and Literary Quotations” by David Grambs.

We provide trained and experienced staff for the following roles:

  • Describer: The individual in charge of writing and editing the description script to be recorded by a voice artist.
  • Voice Artist / Voice Actor: The individual who voices the description in a production.

How Audio Description Works

Audio description, also known as voice acting, explains visual information to provide a better understanding of the content and information being displayed. It can be an extra audio recording that discloses vital visual information typically not conveyed through regular dialogue.

Benefits

TestPros provides audio description support to assist federal agencies, contractors, and all types of businesses with their pre-recorded video or multimedia productions.

How Much Does Audio Description Cost?

The cost of audio description can vary depending on quality, length and complexity of the project. Generally, the price falls within the $10-$100 per minute range. One of the biggest considerations is whether you have an in-house team that can professionally record, edit, and add audio description to your content. If not, it is often more cost-effective to outsource this work to a third party service provider.

Call TestPros for your Audio Description Project

Now that you know a bit more about what audio description is and the benefits of using it, we hope you’ll consider working with TestPros to make your content accessible to everyone. Our team of experts can help you meet legal requirements and improve the quality of your video content or multimedia productions. Contact us today for a free consultation!

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Here are some ways you can write an audio description:

  1. Start by describing the setting of the video and what’s happening in it.
  2. Talk about the people or characters in the video, and what they’re doing.
  3. Describe any important objects or scenery in the video, and what they mean to the story.
  4. Use your imagination to paint a picture for the listener of what’s happening in the video.
  5. Remember to stay focused on the action in the video, and avoid getting distracted by going off on tangents.
  6. Finally, be sure to keep your audio description concise and to the point, so that it doesn’t take away from the video itself.
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