February 1, 2021
Maria Joaquina Marques

In translation, accessibility comprises audio description, subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, sign language, and Braille, which reflects the importance of inclusion and its ever more prominent position in today's society.

Audiovisual translation is where accessibility is most expressive, as it is through subtitling films, sign language, or audio description that we help more people to access content that would otherwise be denied. Subtitling for the deaf and heard of hearing involves adapting a script, transcribing the video, and creating subtitles following the rules and symbols specific to this activity. Usually, different symbols and colors are used to identify each sound, speech, and character. In the Portuguese market, “teletexto” is an example of this branch of subtitling. A customer who has institutional/promotional videos, or who simply wants to get their message across in an inclusive way, can also hire the services of an audiovisual translator with the right software and experience for the job, creating a product that can later be published on the various channels available (YouTube, Facebook, etc.).

A different service is audio description, which refers to the description, by an announcer, of the scenes in a video – in the case of televised broadcasts, these insertions are placed during the pauses in the dialogue. Audio description is also used in theaters, as well as in museums, where the contents of the exhibit are described. To include this type of accessibility, it is necessary to hire the services of agencies or audiovisual translators with experience in this field. In this process, considerable sensitivity is required to narrate the scenes as completely as possible.

Another accessibility service is sign language, which can and should be used in videos, lectures, and seminars, among others. Professional sign language interpreters should be contracted when these services are required. At the written level, a text can be converted into Braille, a reading and writing technique for the blind in which each character is represented by six raised dots, which are read with the fingertips from left to right. This accessibility solution is offered by companies, independent professionals, and even specialized institutions.

With so much to offer, it is important that customers are aware of the options available and plan their products/videos with accessibility in mind. In doing so, not only will they be expanding their message to a broader audience, but will also be taking part in a rapidly developing field.