[Athen] correct terminology -- audio description or video description

steve.noble at louisville.edu steve.noble at louisville.edu
Wed May 3 05:51:53 PDT 2017

Hi Jennifer,

The terms are now interchangeable, but the federal government prefers the term "video description" and that is the term typically used by Congress and the FCC. For instance, in 47 CFR 79.3 "Video description of video programming," the definition is given:
"(3) Video description. The insertion of audio narrated descriptions of a television program’s key visual elements into natural pauses between the program’s dialogue." [see https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2011-title47-vol4/pdf/CFR-2011-title47-vol4-sec79-3.pdf]
The federal government's use of the term "video description" dates back to the early 1990s, and perhaps before. You may want to reach out to Barry Cronin for the real scoop, as he was one of the original developers at WGBH. If you need his contact information, just let me know. In the mean time, here's a nice history for you: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1114571.pdf

Hope that helps,

--Steve Noble
steve.noble at louisville.edu

From: athen-list [athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] on behalf of Jennifer Sutton [jsuttondc at gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2017 10:14 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] correct terminology -- audio description or video description

Greetings, ATHEN list folks (along with a few others I've bcc-ed):

I'm sorting through my resources, and I'm confused about what the
correct term is for adding audio to videos to help explain visual
elements for blind people.

I know that we initially called it "audio description," but I had in
mind that the term was shifting to "video description" since that
describes better what it is, at least to a degree.

At the same time, I still see current articles and sites calling it
"audio description."

Does anyone have the definitive "scoop?"

I'd welcome links/citations in support of responses.

Is this, perhaps, one of these situations where we might *like* the term
to change, but the term "audio description" is so prevalent that
progress is slow?

Are there legal ramifications, i.e. maybe some state laws refer to it in
different ways?

Thanks in advance. I'm updating some things, and I'd like to get it right.

If it doesn't matter/they're now considered simply synonymous, I'd like
to know that, too.



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