In recent decades, audio description has been approached from a number of different perspectives. However, its cognitive dimension has not yet been explored. Reception studies are still scarce and little is known about users’ understanding of scripts, their preferences or their needs. This paper constitutes an attempt to shed light on the former by investigating the mental processing that leads blind and visually impaired recipients to understand audio described products. Memory, which dominates the cognitive processes that enhance comprehension, is the focus of this paper. Through an initial description of its components and basic operation, the role of sensory memory, working memory and long-term memory are analysed in the context of the phases of reception, processing and comprehension of new data. This general framework is then applied to the viewing of films in order to explore how spectators turn images and sound into meaningful information. Finally, the case of audio described products (where there is no image available to users) is investigated. Taking into account the nature of audio description, whereby visual information is conveyed to visually impaired users via complex auditory information, some relevant findings from cognitive psychology, media studies and education are presented. Specifically, attention is paid to research dealing with auditory as opposed to visual information processing in terms of cognitive effort and data recall. In addition, the common belief that blind listeners have a better memory for auditorily presented materials than their sighted counterparts is examined. The implications that these prior findings could have for audio description is then discussed with the objective of highlighting the potential contribution that an interdisciplinary approach which combines both translation studies and cognition could provide.
Language plays a key role in democracy. In fact, the role of language in democratic societies is so crucial that scholars have addressed it thoroughly through different lenses, ranging from law to language policy. This article, in turn, seeks to add to the scholarship on democracy and language rights by considering the role of translation policy in the development of linguistically inclusive public web pages. To that end, the study considers the State of Texas's translation policy as it relates to its online presence. Specifically, it approaches translation policy by looking at translation management, translation practice, and translation beliefs as observed in the efforts that state government agencies in Texas make when localizing their websites for the inclusion or integration of linguistic minorities. In so doing, it explores the relationship between written rules and the belief in providing language access in government agencies and how this affects the practice of translation in websites.