How to Decode Gestures and Facial Expressions in Thai TV Drama for Audio Description

audio description, gestures, facial expressions, emotions, television drama, sight loss, disability, accessibility


  • Kulnaree Sueroj (##journal.primary_contact##)
    University of York, UK


The Thai Audio Description (AD) Policy for television was officially published in 2016, but its practical implementation has been slow. A salient limitation is the lack of knowledge and research feeding into the creation of AD guidelines. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to focus on the AD strategies for television drama by studying how to communicate the meaning of gestures and facial expressions of characters to visually impaired audiences. Most of the themes in the television drama relate to human emotions, and people express their emotions through gestures and facial expressions. The difficulties of describing gestures and facial expressions audially are due to the complexities of cluster of physical actions. The concept of creating a character, the functional discourse of AD and the concept of gestures and facial expressions are applied to the textual analysis of the sample clips and their scripts. The methods used include three steps to decode gestures and facial expressions in order to select the key visuals to be described in the AD scripts. The first step is that, the entire scene must be divided into small parts, taking emotional changes into account. Secondly, to identify the functions of the audio description and finally to analyse the sequences of physical actions of the gestures and facial expressions, which represent the intent of the communication. These results suggest that the audio describer should not use a single strategy for all cases and the selection strategy of AD depends on four key conditions which were: 1. the sound gap length; 2. the appropriate position for the insertion of the AD; 3. the number of words used in AD writing must not affect the optimal speed of the description; and 4. the genre of the TV drama. Further research should study on how Thais people with visual impairment perceive gestures and facial expressions.