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Writing Audio Description Tracks

If you are writing the script for an audio description track, you only need to describe the visual elements of the video, not the audio elements.

Why this matters

Read Creating Audio Description Tracks.

Recommendations

These recommendations are taken from the Audio Description Project’s Organizing Principles.

  • Ensure your description is easy to understand the first time it is heard. 
  • Use descriptive, accurate and appropriate language. 
  • Use complete sentences wherever possible, unless you are only identifying a character. 
  • Match your voice and tone to the show.  The audio description track should fit seamlessly with the original video’s audio track.
  • Avoid technical terms unless absolutely necessary. 
  • Beware of using pronouns because they can be confusing or misleading.
  • Describe ethnicity where it is relevant.Do not use offensive or racist terms.
  • Do not censor what you see, unless you are censoring because of film censors.
  • Use a variety of verbs.  
  • Avoid saying “we see.” 
  • Be clear to the listeners what is real and what is illusion for your listeners. For example, do not describe a ghost as a ghost if we are not certain if the figure is alive or dead.

Additional resources

The Audio Description Standards section of 3Play’s The Ultimate Guide to Audio Description provides guidelines for writing audio descriptions.