What is visual interpretation?
Visual interpretation provides individuals with vision loss access to visual information in real-time. The interpreter works closely with the user in various ways. In education settings, this could include:
- Reading text such as documents
- Providing directions to venues
- Describing in-class interactions and visual contextual cues
- Describing academic content that is supported by visual data, such as images, charts, or diagrams
This is done verbally, or typed onto a written document, where the user can access in ways such as through a screen magnifier, a screen reader or a refreshable braille display.
Visual interpretation can also be used in other settings, including:
- Theatre, for audio description
- Social media, for image description and alternative text in digital contents
- Everyday life (for example, at an appointment or grocery store)
Why not just use text-to-speech technology on documents I already have on hand?
At times, pre-prepared text documents might be used as a source of information for service users. While this is useful, it still might not provide sufficient context for the environment, as much of how we participate, learn, and interact is subliminally influenced by visual information.
In addition, even if there are text documents available, the format might not be compatible with assistive tech, rendering the document inaccessible.
When should visual interpretation be done by professionals?
Having professionals perform visual interpretation is essential for learning environments and formal settings.
At Equal Dreams, accessibility professionals adhere to a Code of Ethics, ensuring they act as neutral third-party providers. Professional visual interpreters read documents and describe visual data impartially, avoiding the inclusion of personal opinions. Confidentiality is prioritised. Service users’ information and any data accessed in the interpretation process are strictly safeguarded.