Production of access services in immersive content: understanding the needs of audio describers

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Anita Fidyka
Anna Matamala


This article describes the development and the results of usability tests of an audio description web editor developed within the Immersive Accessibility (ImAc) project. The editor’s novelty is that it allows audio describers to produce audio description in 360° content, known also as spherical videos or omnidirectional videos. Such videos offer a 360-degree field of view horizontally and a 180-degree field of view vertically, which means that they differ from standard 2D content watched on rectangular screen in a way that users can explore the 360° sphere by head movements. The usability tests have been conducted with professional audio describers from different countries. In the first part of the article, the study is presented within a broader context, introducing the project and the main challenges related to providing access services in 360° content. Secondly, the main features of the editor, used both when editing standard two-dimensional content and specific to the medium under discussion are explained. Then, the methodological aspects of the test, such as measures, participants, materials, and experimental protocol, are discussed in detail. The discussion of the results is offered in the final part of the article, and it provides some insights on how professional describers approach new technologies, and what functions do they need to provide AD in an efficient way.


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Fidyka, A., & Matamala, A. (2019). Production of access services in immersive content: understanding the needs of audio describers. Hikma, 18(2), 277–300.
Biografía del autor/a

Anita Fidyka, Department of Translation and Interpreting, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Anita Fidyka is a predoctoral researcher in the Department of Translation, Interpreting and East Asian Studies at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). She is working on audio description in immersive media, thanks to a scholarship linked to the ImAC (Immersive Accessibility) project. She holds an MA in Translation and Intercultural Communication from the Chair for Translation Studies and Intercultural Communication at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Her research interests include Media Accessibility and audio description. She participated in research projects which aimed at developing mobile apps for accessible cinemas (Audio Movie: Cinema For All) and museums (Open Art: Modern Art For All). She collaborates with the Fundacja Siódmy Zmysł (Seventh Sense Foundation), which provides audio description and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. 

Anna Matamala, Department of Translation and Interpreting, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Anna Matamala, BA in Translation (UAB), PhD in Applied Linguistics (UPF, Barcelona), tenured
lecturer at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She has participated in many funded projects on AVT
and media accessibility and has published in international journals such as Meta, The
Translator, Perspectives, Babel, VIAL, Jostrans, and Linguistica Antverpiensia, among others. She is
the author of a book on interjections and lexicography (IEC, 2005), co-author (with Eliana Franco and
Pilar Orero) of a book on voice-over (Peter Lang, 2010), and co-editor of various volumes on
audiovisual translation and media accessibility. Joan Coromines Prize in 2005. Her research interests
are audiovisual translation (mainly dubbing and voice-over) and media accessibility (audio description
and audiosubtitling), with a special focus on language technologies, corpus studies, and user