RBTV #4: Reflexões sobre o pilar da  áudio-descrição:  “descreva o que você vê”

Escrito por: Fabiana Tavares dos Santos Silva, Viviane de Bona, Andreza da Nóbrega, Arruda Silva, Isis Carvalho e Elisangela Viana da Silva.

RESUMO

O presente artigo discute as questões da acessibilidade das pessoas com deficiência visual às imagens que circulam em contextos educacionais, culturais e de lazer.  Defende que a áudio-descrição é, ao mesmo tempo, um recurso assistivo, uma técnica de tradução visual e um gênero textual, situado na filosofia inclusivista.  Aborda a conceituação da áudio-descrição mostrando o que a diferencia  da tipologia descritiva e indicando  quais  as bases  utilizadas pelo áudio-descritor  para tornar  imagens acessíveis.  E ainda, a partir da percepção da imagem, em especial de uma imagem ambígua, comumente trabalhada na Psicologia, reflete o pilar da áudio-descrição “Descreva o que  você vê”. Conclui que essa orientação traz à ação do áudio-descritor a imparcialidade e ao usuário de serviço as possibilidades de interpretação das imagens disponíveis.

Palavras-chave: áudio-descrição, descrição, gênero textual, pilares da áudio-descrição.


ABSTRACT

This article discusses  the  issues  of people accessibility with visual impairments to the images that circulate in educational settings, cultural and leisure activities. Argues that the audio description is, at the same time, an assistive application, a visual translation technique and  textual genre situated  in the inclusivist philosophy.  Discusses the concept of audio description showing distinct of descriptive typology indicating the bases used by the audio-describer to make images accessible.  And besides, from the image perception, especially of an ambiguous image, usually worked in psychology, reflects the pillar of the audio description “Describe what you see.” Concludes that this orientation brings the action of the audio-describer impartiality and the service user the interpretations possibilities of available images.

Keywords: audio description, descrition,genre, pillars of the áudio description

RBTV #4: Das primeiras descrições até o AUDETEL: A audiodescrição no Reino Unido antes da Televisão Digital

*Flávia Oliveira Machado

RESUMO

O artigo aqui apresentado é uma análise sobre o início do desenvolvimento da audiodescrição no Reino Unido em 1982 até a criação do Broadcasting Act de 1996, que determinou a legislação para a televisão digital do país, meio de comunicação em que a audiodescrição foi inserida e obteve maior alcance e adesão popular. Esse tipo de narração descritiva começou nos palcos teatrais através de alianças entre entidades que atendiam pessoas com deficiência, pessoas com deficiência visual, pessoas interessadas nesse novo recurso de acessibilidade e teatros. E na década de 90, uma ambição pan-européia deu origem ao projeto AUDETEL, que mesmo não conseguindo os resultados esperados, contribuiu para o desenvolvimento da audiodescrição em terras britânicas.

Palavras-chave: audiodescrição, pessoa com deficiência visual, Reino Unido, AUDETEL


ABSTRACT

This paper brings an analyses about the beginning of the audio description’s development in United Kingdom in 1982 until the release of the Broadcasting Act 1996, which determined the legislation of the digital television, the media where the audio description was insert and had the greater spread and support of the population. This kind of description started on the theatre stages through collaboration between people with disabilities institutions, people with visual disabilitiy, people interested with the new accessibility and theatres. And in the 90’s, an pan-European ambition created the AUDETEL project, which even not getting the approached results, it contributed with the audio description development in Britain lands.

Keywords: audio description, people with visual disability, United Kingdom, AUDETEL

RBTV #3: O direito das crianças com deficiência visual à áudio-descrição

Escrito por Francisco José de Lima e Rosângela A. F. Lima

Resumo

Este artigo apresenta, em primeiro momento, robusta sustentação jurídica para o direito de as pessoas com deficiência visual ter acesso à áudio-descrição, defendendo que a não provisão desse recurso assistivo constitui, tanto negligência para com a educação da criança com deficiência visual, quanto discriminação por razão de deficiência. De um lado, esteia essa defesa em documentos internacionais de defesa das crianças, os quais as salvaguardam de maus tratos, da discriminação e da afronta à sua dignidade de criança e pessoa humana. De outro, sustenta o direito à áudio-descrição, na Constituição Brasileira, a qual define a educação como direito indisponível e garante esse direito a todas as crianças, com igualdade de condições, independentemente de suas características fenotípicas, sociais ou genéticas. Em um segundo momento, este artigo sustenta a defesa pela oferta da áudio-descrição, devido aos benefícios que este recurso assistivo pode trazer para a inclusão cultural e educacional da pessoa com deficiência visual, uma vez que, enquanto técnica de tradução visual, ela permite o acesso às imagens, por intermédio das palavras a serem ouvidas, lidas e/ou faladas, natural ou eletronicamente. Trata, também, de como as visões tradicionalistas sobre a capacidade de a pessoa cega fazer uso das imagens, produzindo-as e/ou as compreendendo, têm levado à negação de direitos, ao prejuízo educacional, e em última instância ao preconceito para com as pessoas cegas. Conclui, fazendo a assertiva de que não se trata de perguntar quando se vai oferecer a áudio-descrição, mas de se buscar as condições para melhor formar os áudio-descritores; melhor prover o serviço de áudio-descrição e melhor aparelhar o público alvo para a recepção desse serviço, começando com a criança pequena, lá na escolinha, até o adulto na universidade ou em outro locus social.

Palavras-chaves: áudio-descrição, direito inclusivo, criança com deficiência visual


Abstract

This article presents robust arguments for the provision of audio description for children with vision disability in Brazil. It supports its point of view on national and international laws and conventions that protect children from all forms of harm and discrimination. Audio description is considered an assistive technology capable of given children access to education, culture and leisure by providing visual information of things and events that originally were not available to blind people. It concludes that it is necessary to invest on training audio describers, improve audio description services and educate blind people about receiving and profiting from audio description accessibility.

Keywords: audio description, people with visual disability, accessibility, attitudinal barriers.

The Rose – Audio Description – English

Mani is physically battered by his insensitive teacher regularly. When the teacher asks the class to bring a full grown rose for their project, Mani’s anxiety deepens. A timely intervention by CHILDLINE Didi helps reclaim Mani’s life.

Product Evaluations and Guides: A Review of the Be My Eyes Remote Sighted Helper App for Apple iOS

Originally published on http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw160202

Many iPhone users with visual impairments use a video FaceTime or Skype call with a friend for a brief session of sighted help—to find a hotel room door, for instance, or to help set the controls on a washer or dryer. But what if your friends or family members are not available when you need assistance? Or maybe you call the same person again and again, and you worry you might be overstaying your welcome?

Mobile identification and text recognition apps such as TapTapSee, Talking Goggles, and the KNFB Reader can take up a lot of the slack, but there are times when you really do need a working pair of eyeballs. Now, thanks to a new iOS app called Be My Eyes, sighted help is just a tap away.

How Be My Eyes Works

Be My Eyes pairs sighted volunteers with visually impaired individuals who would appreciate a bit of remote assistance. The app is free both to download and to use.

For visually impaired users, the app could not be simpler to use. Most of the screen is taken up by a single control to connect you to the first available helper. Double tap this button and your device will announce, “Creating connection request.” A few seconds later a sort of electronic ring tone begins to play, and soon you are connected to a sighted volunteer through a two-way audio and one-way video connection using the opentok/tokbox video platform.

The volunteer can view your environment through the higher-resolution rear-facing camera. With a connection established, you can converse with the volunteer, introduce yourself (if you like), and ask for help with whatever identification task is at hand. You can disconnect at any time.

When you first open the app you are asked if you need assistance or wish to provide it. In either case you are required to register. You can do this using your Facebook credentials, or you can create a Be My Eyes account with your name, e-mail address and the password of your choice. More about this later.

If you register as a helper, you merely need to leave the app running in the background. When it’s your turn to offer assistance, the app will alert you. If you don’t respond within 10 seconds or so, the app servers will move onto the next person in the queue and alert them. “At first we tried pinging ten people at once, so people requesting assistance would not have to wait so long for a response, but we started getting e-mails from volunteers who were frustrated because they wanted to help, but were not the first to respond,” says Hans Jørgen Wiberg, the service’s founder.

Turning an Idea into a Service

Like many of us, after a few remote FaceTime sessions, Wiberg had the idea that we could more easily obtain sighted help if there were only some way to tap into a wider network than just our friends and family. Unlike most of us, however, Wiberg put action to thought, and he isn’t even a programmer. Wiberg, who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a part-time upholsterer and Regional Chairman of the Danish Association of the Blind.

Wiberg took his idea to a local startup meeting, where people come together to exchange and refine ideas for new businesses and services. There he teamed up with seven others, none of whom were programmers. They formalized their idea and began searching for grant money.

With just a few thousand donated Danish Krone, the group hired outside developers to create an iOS app. They released it in the Danish App Store in November of 2014, and beta tested it with just a handful of users. After the user base reached 150 blind users and 400 helpers, the group was awarded a substantial grant from Velux, a Danish window and skylight company. Development continued until January 15, when the Be My Eyes app and service were released worldwide.

“The response was more than we dreamed,” says Wiberg. “In just a few days we had over 60,000 users, most of them potential helpers,” he says. “The signups came so fast, by the end of the second day we had to suspend the service while we moved to the largest server our provider can host.”

The main app screen displays a running count of the number of sighted and blind users who are registered. It also displays the number of individuals who have been helped—over 10,000 in the first six days. A future app update will also include the numbers of volunteers who are currently available. “This will help users have some idea of how long it will take to either offer or receive help,” says Wiberg.

Putting Be My Eyes Through its Paces

I first tried Be My Eyes just a few days after it was released. The first two attempts were unsuccessful: after 20 minutes I had not yet been connected to a volunteer. I was using the app late on a Sunday evening, around the time when the servers were being swamped with setup requests, so those circumstances may have played a part in the delays.

The next day I tried the app several times, and each time I was connected within 2 minutes. According to Wiberg, this is the norm. “There are going to be people who for some reason cannot answer an alert in time, and we have to connect to several different helpers, one at a time, before a request is answered. Other times there may be server problems caused by our rapid growth. My advice to users seeking help is that if there is no response within 3 or 4 minutes, disconnect and immediately try again.”

My first Monday call was answered by a woman in Britain. My question was simple: “Is this package of teabags caffeinated or decaf?” “Caffeinated,” came the reply, and after a quick “thank you,” I disconnected. Total time: less than 2 minutes from start to finish.

My second request was answered by a man in California. He helped me access my thermostat and find the LCD off setting.

My third session was answered by a man in Germany. I had inadvertently left the plastic cover to a vegetable seed starter on the patio table, and sometime during the night it had blown away. Together the volunteer and I search the backyard for it. We did not find it, but the help was still useful as it saved me the considerable time I might have spent walking around the yard, hoping to encounter it.

One task I did not try, and hope I do not have cause to for some time to come, is getting help with the computer error message that has in the past locked up my screen reader or prevented it from booting. My computer seems to know when all of my friends and family are unavailable. It must—why else would it always choose those times to crash?

On initial setup, the Be My Eyes app uses your iOS device’s default language setting to direct your calls. English speaking helpers are always connected with English speaking help requesters, French with French, and so forth. But the app’s Setting menu offers you the ability to add additional languages, which is how I was able to connect with an English speaking helper in Germany.

Privacy

According to Wiberg, your personal information is not shared with the helper. You may then wonder why you need to enter your name and e-mail address to create a Be My Eyes account. When I posed this question, Wiberg replied, “Both the helper and user can report a problem member, and we can then block that [account] and prevent [the user] from returning.” Unfortunately, the version I tested, 1.2 (45), did not require any e-mail verification, which means someone could make up a series of false accounts and cause mischief. Perhaps verification will be a part of an update in a future version.

Common sense would dictate that Be My Eyes users avoid asking questions about bank or credit card statements, medical reports, or any other information you want to remain private. Wiberg offers a useful rule of thumb: “If you were walking down a street and needed to know what you are considering asking [a Be My Eyes helper], would you feel uncomfortable asking a stranger?” If so, find some other way to obtain the information. Some may wish to consider the opposite scenario: Perhaps there is something you wish to keep private from your friends and family?

It’s probably best to avoid asking a Be My Eyes helper to assist in orientation at a busy intersection or other potentially dangerous scenario. Currently, the app contains no rating system for users to weed out what I can only believe would be a very few bad apples.

What’s Ahead for the Be My Eyes App

Wiberg is determined to keep the service free. He states that currently they have enough money to pay for development and server resources through next September. Consequently, I would not be surprised to see a Donate button pop up in a future release of the app, on the company’s website, or both.

The app is currently available only for iOS devices. There are no immediate plans to create an Android version.

Ironically, the biggest hurdle Be My Eyes currently faces is finding enough blind users. “The response to the opportunity to become volunteers has been overwhelming,” says Wiberg. “If they don’t get the chance to become fully involved, they may grow frustrated and uninstall the app.”

Until I uninstalled it, I had a dinosaur app on my iPhone to entertain my granddaughter. Every so often, even when the app was not running, I received an alert asking if I wanted to play. I can see many potential helpers who might reset their phone or change devices, and forget to restart the app. Perhaps a future update might include a similar gentle reminder to those with the app installed but left closed for several weeks?

I also hope Wiberg and his colleagues publish a Be My Eyes API that would enable other apps to seamlessly link to the app. BlindSquare, which we reviewed in the July 2014 AccessWorld, offers the ability to reach out to someone in your contact list for a bit of e-mail or text message help. Imagine how much more powerful BlindSquare, or the Seeing Eye App for iPhone, would be if users could request sighted help directly from within their accessible navigation app?

As it is now, Be My Eyes is an extremely powerful platform whose time has come. I will still keep both TapTapSee and KNFB Reader on my iPhone home screen, but Be My Eyes will definitely be my fallback—and in many instances, my go-to—resource for those times when greater independence can best be achieved by knowing when and how to ask for help.

A Tribute to Audio Description

There she comes, red hair faded in dark shadows
There she comes, yellow eyes blacken in lifeless stains
There she comes, blue pale lips open in a doleful smile.

There she comes, flawless hair painted in imaginative pictures
There she comes, lively eyes shining in colorful poetry
There she comes, artistic lips uttering resourceful words

There she comes, yellow hair shining under the bright sun
There she comes, blue eyes sparkling in vibrant rainbows
There she comes, red-Rubi lips open in a dazzling smile.

There she comes to observe and empower.

Description is not the same as audio description

Hello!

Audio description is a form of visual translation. It differs from everyday description In many aspects. A person who is blind, for instants, may describe what he or she sees when touching a flower, however, he or she will be the recipient of the audio description of the color and other visual cues of that flower. Everyday description does not neccessarily aim the empowerment of people who are blind or have low vision, audio description does!

To make a good audio description one must, therefore, research about what it will be described, observe what it’s being described, edit the description and write an audio description with good language.

Last but not least, If one is going to voice an audio description he or she must do it with good voice skills. See Dr. Snyder’s book The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description to learn more about how to audio describe.