Watching with your ears

What is audiodescription?

Audiodescription is an audiovisual add-on service specifically for the visually impaired which describes what is taking place on screen during pauses in the programme’s dialogue. In most cases, visually impaired viewers are able to activate the audiodescription independently. This can be done either by switching to an additional sound channel or by using a separate mobile device.

An audiodescription is produced in three phases. First, a script containing the descriptive text is created. This script must then be recorded (phoneticization). The final step involves the integration of the narrated description into the programme or film.


The success of an audiodescription depends on the script. It should be minimal, mentioning only essential details and without pre-empting any action. The audio description should not influence the viewer’s opinion or pass any judgement. The visually impaired viewer should be able to follow the plot line as well as a sighted viewer. All of these stipulations make producing an audiodescription a complex task. The author of an audiodescription needs to delve deep into the content of a piece, understand it inside and out, and know how to integrate the audiodescription into the film.


The phoneticization phase: once the script has been created, the text needs to be read out. The text can be reproduced by a speech synthesiser or by a professional narrator in a recording studio, which is more expensive.


The final step is for the audio description to be run against the film or mixed before being mastered to ensure suitability for broadcast.

Modular service:
creation – phoneticization – integration

SWISS TXT offers a modular audiodescription concept: you decide which services you require and only pay for what you need.


Creation of a script together with timestamps so that the text fits appropriately in between pauses in dialogue. Should you require an audiodescription in several languages, a discounted rate will apply if more than two language versions are requested. We also offer you the option of having your description checked by a visually impaired viewer. You retain full copyright for further use of the audiodescription on other media channels.


Phoneticization carried out by professional narrators (Swiss German also available). Here we can offer you a range of different packages at various prices, as well as a lower-priced option using a speech synthesiser. This technology has gone from strength to strength in recent years and today it is hardly discernible from a real human voice. We would be happy to provide you with a free sample description: choose between a male and female voice. Speech synthesisers are already part of the everyday lives of the visually impaired, who encounter this technology when surfing the web.


We can also help when it comes to integrating the audiodescription into your programme or film. This stage takes place in a mastering suite where we ensure the sound levels are mixed appropriately before laying your audiodescription to the desired soundtrack. In addition, we can also offer access to your audiodescription via an app so that visually impaired viewers can also enjoy your film on a mobile device.


SWISS TXT creates audiodescriptions for the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG) and is part of an established international network. For 30 years, SWISS TXT has been subtitling programmes for the SRG’s television channels and the company possesses a deep understanding of the necessary sensitivity involved in making programming for those with a sensory disability. Request a non-binding quote today.


And finally …
audiodescription is not only an important part of making audiovisual films or programmes accessible: it can also be used to great effect for theatre performances and a wide range of events as well as in exhibitions and museums. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch. We would be happy to advise you.

Gion Linder

Gion Linder

Head of Access Services
+41 58 136 40 49