Jul 2009

New Publication

An article entitled: “Percepcja filmu a ogólnoeuropejskie standardy audiodeskrypcji – polski wkład w projekt „Pear Tree” [Film perception and European audio description standards - a Polish contribution to the Pear Tree Project] that I have co-authored with Iwona Mazur has just been published in Przekładaniec. Here’s the abstract in English:

Audio description (AD) is an intersemiotic translation technique that ensures the blind and partially sighted people access to the visual side of various cultural events, such as a film, a play, an exhibition, or a dance performance. While we may say that Poland is still at the crawling stage in this area, other Western European countries and the USA have developed their own professional audio description standards. Recently, there appeared an idea to harmonize such standards so as to facilitate and accelerate the production of audiodescribed materials (for example, by way of translating AD scripts). However, before this happens, it is necessary to determine whether cultural differences in the perception and description of visual stimuli are not so significant as to undermine the reasonableness of developing such harmonized guidelines. In this article the authors present Polish input into the first stage of an international Pear Tree Project, whose purpose is to perform such verification. The project uses methodology on visual perception and narration developed by Chafe in the 1970s for the Pear Stories Project, which can be applied to research of aspects that are relevant for AD, such as presentation of events that are irrelevant for plot development, neutral description or subjective interpretation of events, use of film jargon, type of tense used, or stylistic variation. Some of the Polish data have been compared against data obtained in the original Pear Stories Project by Tannen (1980) for American English and Greek as well as against data from a test carried out as part of the Pear Tree Project for Spanish (Orero 2008). It should be emphasized that the results presented in the article are preliminary, however – in the authors’ opinion – they are very promising for both AD research and practice.