Audio Description In Italy: An Anecdote Or A Social Integration Policy?

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María Valero Gisbert


blindness, audiovisual translation, accessibility


The European Community (EC) has issued several directives to promote social inclusion and media accessibility. In turn, countries within the European Union (EU) are implementing media access services for people with disabilities at different rates, speeds and styles. What may start in one country as a media access anecdote or sporadic event may develop into a service that aims to improve media accessibility for all. Media accessibility tends to begin as an isolated event, as in the case of the Cooperativa Sociale Scurelle (Scurelle Cooperative Association), the Cinema senza Barriere (Cinema without Barriers) or the Museo del Cinema in Torino (Turin Cinema Museum) events in Italy, but once the trend is underway, and the audience is aware of its availability, the next step would be to establish a standard quality service. This is the objective of this article. The first part aims to provide an overview of Media Access in Europe, paying special attention to Italy, where media access for the disabled is not widely available. While even a minimum cultural content could have maximum diffusion, the opposite is the case in Italy. Very few movies are accessible and sometimes, are duplicated. In other words, we found different audio descriptions of the same film. Media access duplication is a widespread trans-European phenomenon. The second part of the article examines the different approaches to audio description of the same film in Italy. The results go to show that, rather than opting for an access trend of isolated anecdotes, a widespread quality access content should be encouraged, taking into consideration the many and wide-ranging technical exploitation channels and formats.

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