Audio description using synthetic voices – a modern alternative

There are an estimated 1.2 million people living with blindness or visual impairments in Germany. Among other things, accessibility to film is one challenge in enabling their participation in social life. This goal can be realized by means of audio description, as well as the more modern method of synthetic voice audio description.
Audio description specifically involves the spoken description of the images visible on the screen. The most important information concerning the plot, various people, and settings pictured in the film, are relayed by an audio describer. This also includes the reading aloud of text inserts. These descriptions are incorporated into the gaps between the film’s dialogue. This is how a film is made comprehensible without images and solely through listening, with the help of visual descriptions.

What is so special about synthetic voice audio description?

With synthetic voice audio description, the descriptions are provided by copywriters in text form and then converted into spoken word using special software. Passages that would otherwise be undertaken by audio describers are instead carried out by synthetic voices.
Nowadays, synthetic voices are so advanced that they are hardly distinguishable from real voices. Synthetic audio description offers the advantage that it, in comparison to conventional audio description, can be created very quickly, thus saving not only time, but money too. Software takes over the otherwise costly and time-consuming work carried out in recording studios. The use of synthetic voice audio description is thus particularly suitable for video clips or short films that are up to 45 minutes long. In addition, this method is especially useful for documentaries, in which different voices are to be used for various foreign language passages. This is because synthetic voices are not calculated according to the number of different voices, but according to the length of transmission. It does not matter whether in five minutes, one or five people ‘have their say.’

Only a few service providers offer synthetic voice audio description

As of yet, there are very few providers on the market offering audio description using synthetic voices. One of them is No Limits Media GmbH. Here you can get synthetic voice audio descriptions that meet the highest quality standards. To make a video, film, or documentary comprehensible to people with visual impairments too, close collaboration with the target group is indispensable. Therefore, at No Limits Media, both sighted and blind writers work together to create synthetic voice audio descriptions, to guarantee an image description that is tailored to the needs of the blind viewer.

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Stephan Kalesse

Stephan Kalesse

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