"I would like to blindfold John de Mol to show him the possibilities of audio description."
Marjolein is 42 years old. She is married and has a 16 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. She lives with her family in Arnhem and works for the Apcg: the Arnhem platform for the chronically ill and disabled. She is also an ambassador for audio description. Marjolein was visually impaired because she was born prematurely. Eight years ago she completely lost her sight and received two eye prostheses.
In her spare time, Marjolein sings in a gospel choir. She loves music, enjoys going to the theater and the cinema and, in her own words, is 'Paul de Leeuw's stone-blind groupie.'
What do you like to watch?
‘I really enjoy going to the cinema. I recently went to De Tatta's with my son. I also like to watch series and programs on TV. Among my favorites are Wie is de Mol?, Flikken Maastricht and Boer zoekt Vrouw. I also use various streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, I watch English-language films and series there. I can experience all this with the help of audio description. Fortunately, I can also use audio description when I visit the theatre.
I am very happy with the Earcatch app. This audio description app allows me to individually access the image description in a movie theater or in front of the television via headphones or earphones. This way you can enjoy something together with others. But I can also look at something individually. The disadvantage of streaming services is that the audio description is audible to everyone. That is something my family is not always waiting for. That way their viewing experience is negatively influenced.’
‘Audio description allows me to see productions better now that I am blind than when I was visually impaired.‘
What was a pleasant, accessible viewing experience?
'Wie is de Mol? really stands out for me. It's great that we can watch that with the whole family on the couch with a bowl of chips. Previously, only my husband and children could see Wie is de Mol? live and my daughter had to watch it again with me afterwards, to describe to me what there was to see. That was less pleasant for me, but of course they also prefer to watch television with their mother. The fact that we can now all enjoy that program together is great. And now I can also talk about it with others.'
What do you experience when the content you want to watch is not accessible?
'That happens very often and it is difficult and annoying. But you can't be sad about it all day. It is particularly annoying when a certain program or service was first available with audio description and then no longer is.'
What needs to be done to make video makers and content providers more aware of the need for video accessibility?
'I see it as my mission to share my story. My dream is to organize meetings, starting with the television world. I think it would be an idea to have program makers and broadcasters watch a program or film blindfolded. And then let them experience the same production again, but with audio description. I would like to blindfold John de Mol to show him the possibilities of audio description. There must also be more awareness in politics. Then these makers and policy makers will realize how much audio description brings not only the blind viewer, but also the people around them.
I think it's important not to just whine. Rather, I emphasize all the good that it brings me and my loved ones. Audio description ensures that I can see productions even better now that I am completely blind than when I was visually impaired.'