A Bibliometric Investigation of Audio Description: The State of the Field

Project: Research

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Audio description (AD) provides an assistive service that helps visually impaired people to access audio-visual products by adding verbal descriptions of actions, body language, scenery background and other details. The practice of AD is either performed live in theatres or added to the pre-recorded soundtracks of audio-visual products. In recent years, growing attention has been given to research on AD is often studied under the field of audiovisual translation. In both translation and AD studies, researchers often conduct contrasts between source and target texts, comparisons between different target texts, and intermodal meaning transfer analysis. It has been found that there is a strong similarity between audio describers and specialised translators, because both have to be very well informed about the field they are working in, about the concepts and their corresponding terms, the techniques and language, and the needs and preferences of the clients. Also, AD and interpreting (oral translation) have many things in common. For example, AD and simultaneous interpreters in live settings deliver live translation, the skills acquired in AD are similar to those acquired in interpreter training, and there are many similarities in assessment.Although more and more researchers in Translation Studies have started to investigate various problems in AD, the role of AD is still unclear. Does AD deserve a position in Translation Studies, or is it a cuckoo in the nest of Translation Studies? In order to provide a clear picture of AD studies, the researcher will conduct a bibliometric review of the research on AD in the past 20 years. A database of journal articles on AD will be included. The selection of journals in the database will use the following criteria: theoretical importance and relevance to interpreting research, geographical coverage and size of readership, and journal rankings. The articles will be analyzed, and the relationship between AD, Translation Studies and other fields will be identified from linguistic, sociological, epistemological or cultural perspectives. Based on thematic analysis of the data, categories and subcategories will be generated, distribution of categories of articles each year will be shown, and statistics of researchers and research background will be generated. It is expected that the findings will provide a current overview of the studies in AD, which will serve as precise, comprehensive “maps” to guide researchers in the field. 


Project number9043268
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/22 → …