Audio Description: If Your Eyes Could Speak

Audio Description: If Your Eyes Could Speak


Audio description provides a verbal version of the visual. Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, describers convey the visual image that is not fully accessible to a significant segment of the population and not fully realized by the rest of us--the rest of us, sighted folks who see but who may not observe. The session offered an introduction to the principles of audio description, a narrative technique that conveys visual images on behalf of people who are blind or have low vision; an overview of how quality description is produced; and how description can boost literacy and social interaction.



Joel Snyder, Ph.D.

Dr. Joel Snyder received his Ph.D. from the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, focusing on audiovisual translation/audio description. He is known internationally as one of the world’s first “audio describers,” a pioneer in the field of audio description, a translation of visual images to vivid language for the benefit, primarily, of people who are blind or have a vision impairment: the visual is made verbal—and aural, and oral. 

Since 1981, he has introduced audio description techniques in over 40 states and 63 countries and has made hundreds of live events, media projects, and museums accessible.  In 2014, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) published Dr. Snyder’s book, The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description.

Dr. Snyder serves on the Disability Advisory Committee of the Federal Communications Commission and the Audio Description Subject Matter Expert Committee of the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).  He is also the President of Audio Description Associates, LLC (, and he serves as the Director of the Audio Description Project of the ACB (