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Description Key - Code of Conduct

Note: The following is an excerpt from the Standards for Audio Description and Code of Professional Conduct for Describers by the Audio Description Coalition (ADC).

  • Audio describers shall respect the privacy and confidentiality of the client (the entity engaging the services of the describer) and the individual(s) the client is serving (the consumer(s) of the audio description).
    • The audio describer's obligation is two-fold: to the organization engaging the services of the describer (client) and to the user(s) of the audio description (consumer(s)).
    • In some situations the audio describer may have direct contact with the consumer. In this case, the describer is placed in a confidential relationship with that individual and as such must maintain that individual's right to privacy and confidentiality.

      1. For example, in a theatre, the consumer who is blind may be on a date, with their family, or in any of a number of social situations. The describer should respect this and only initiate contact or conversation with the individual as necessary to ensure that the audio description services are delivered and received.
      2. For example, an organization engaging a describer may be doing so under a contract or grant, thus the describer would be violating the client's confidentiality if they were to discuss the work, whether or how much they are being paid, etc., outside of what is necessary to seek advice and counsel from a fellow describer.
  • Audio describers shall accept only those assignments for which they possess the requisite skills and knowledge.
    • There are many different media to which audio description may be applied and not every describer is trained or knowledgeable about description in all media.

      For example, an audio describer may be trained and have the requisite skills and knowledge to describe live theatre performances but not dance, or opera, or film and video, or museums and exhibits.
  • Audio describers shall conduct themselves professionally and in a manner appropriate to the situation in which they are providing audio description.
    • Audio describers shall dress and behave in a manner that is appropriate to the specific environment in which they are providing audio description.

      For example, audio describers describing the audio/visuals at a business conference should dress and behave in a business-like manner. Audio describers who must climb a ladder to reach the audio description booth in a small live theatre should dress and behave accordingly.
    • Audio describers should avoid accepting assignments where the content to be described would make them uncomfortable. Before accepting any assignment, audio describers should try to ascertain whether it will place them in an uncomfortable situation and decline the assignment.

      For example, if an audio describer is asked to describe a program that contains nudity, sexual acts, violence, etc. and the describer feels this will make him/her uncomfortable, the describer should not accept this assignment. If the describer were to accept the assignment, s/he may fail to fulfill his/her obligation to the client and consumer(s) by editing or censoring things s/he is uncomfortable describing.
  • Audio describers shall demonstrate respect for the diversity of clients, consumers and colleagues.
  • Audio describers shall maintain ethical business practices.
    • Audio describers shall promptly notify clients should problems or conflicts arise with assignments they have accepted.
    • When paid for their services, audio describers shall charge appropriate fees and present professional invoices on a timely basis.
  • Audio describers shall take every opportunity to improve and develop their skill..
    • Audio describers shall attend workshops and conferences.
    • Audio describers shall mentor and be mentored by other audio describers.
    • Audio describers shall take every opportunity to listen to and experience other audio described activities.
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