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Re: "Auditory" descriptions

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 07:59:08 -0400 (EDT)
To: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, <wendy@23.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0107050745160.19230-100000@tux.w3.org>

english is not a formalised language like french, spanish or icelandic. And
short of a brand name (as far as I know there isn't one, and if there was
then W3C would probably be obliged not to use it in order to comply with
various legal conditions), what is required is a term that describes what is
done. "Auditory description" is one such attempt, probably better than some
and worse than others.

As it happens, I think that working on the substance of the guidelines is a
higher priority than picking a particular terminology for ideas (once it is
clear in the working group that we are all talking about the same idea).
However, we recognise that before the document is finalised, terminology is
important. So there has been for some time an activity within WAI to produce
a single glossary that all our specifications will use, and the mailing list
for comments on the topic has been advertised several times.

That is the wai-xtech@w3.org mailing list, to which I would request you
direct future discussion of teminology.


Charles McCathieNevile

On Thu, 5 Jul 2001, Joe Clark wrote:

  I see that Geoff Freed of WGBH, who works down the hall from people
  who do audio description every single day, has pointed out what I
  have pointed out before: The term for audio description is audio
  description, not auditory description.

  I don't know why you GLers seem to love "auditory" description so
  much. I assume because of the extra syllable. I guess four syllables
  are better than one to technical people, along the lines of putting
  words "real people" use in "quotation marks" so there's enough
  "distance" from the language "real people" use.

  As it is, we have enormous trouble getting people to use the single,
  comprehensible generic term "audio description"; I have heard
  everything from "video description" (now unfortunately official due
  to FCC activity) to "descriptive captioning" to "audio captioning" to
  a range of malapropisms in French.

  I wish GLers would simply say uncle and admit that the use of
  "auditory" description has always been wrong. It's been pointed out
  over and over again. Y'all are willing to rewrite substantive
  sections of the Guidelines to make them more understandable and
  correct, yet there is an unwillingness to correct this basic
  terminology error. This is the wrong point to be all proud about.

  Also, while I'm at it, captions are not all closed; the Guidelines'
  definition of "captioning (sometimes, 'closed captioning')," while
  also not needing a comma, improperly implies that captions and closed
  captions are one and the same. Tell that to the open-captioners.

  Yours in pedantry,

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Thursday, 5 July 2001 07:59:12 UTC

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