ARTE makes its content accessible to its entire audience by offering versions that are adapted for the blind and visually impaired (audio description) as well as for the deaf and hard of hearing (deaf and hard of hearing subtitles). These versions are available when the programme is broadcast on air, as well as on the arte.tv website and in its app when the programme is launched online.
Using audio description, a programme can be made accessible to blind or partially sighted people thanks to a voiceover that comments on and describes its visual elements. ARTE systematically includes blind or visually impaired people in the production process of audio described versions.
The channel offers between 4 and 5 prime time programmes per week with audio descriptions in French and German. These are mainly cinema films and fiction films, but some major documentaries are also included.
A specific page lists all the programmes available with audio description (in French and German)
- Between 4 and 5 prime time programmes per week available with audio description in French and German.
- An increasing number of programmes broadcast with audio description every year.
Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) transcribe the soundtrack using a colour code and subtitle positioning that enable the speakers and the noises accompanying the image (sound effects, music, atmosphere, etc.) to be identified.
In the last two years, the total number of subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing produced by the channel has doubled.
Digital interface accessibility
The arte.tv website and apps are fully accessible.
On the ARTE websites and apps, Internet users with disabilities have access to the same level of information and the same opportunities for interaction as all other users. Navigation has been simplified between pages and within pages. Just like any other user, blind or visually impaired people can now choose a programme according to their tastes or by theme.
The video player can be operated through the keyboard and is compatible with the technological assistance solutions used by people with disabilities.
A global approach
User accessibility issues have been mainstreamed throughout the development stages of ARTE interfaces and for specific projects such as “Earn a Living“, an interactive documentary series on universal income, developed by ARTE France.
An experimental version of the site was designed for people with disabilities (audio description for visually impaired people and specific subtitles for people who are deaf or hard of hearing) in order to give all users a better experience.
ARTE France has also developed Fovéa, the first ultra-accessible video platform created around a selection of ARTE videos on the theme of citizenship, and which will be available on the Eduthèque website.
Addressing disability in its programmes
ARTE regularly deals with disability in its programmes, both in fiction programmes and documentaries. Here are some representative examples of ARTE programmes dealing with the subject:
- Arte Re: Born without arms – some cases recorded in Germany, a documentary about three children born with severe hand or arm deformities within a few weeks of each other in a German town (ZDF – 2020)
- The apple of my eye, a French comedy produced by ARTE France Cinéma about a romantic relationship between a young blind woman and her neighbour (ARTE France – 2019)
- Let me love by Stéphanie Pillonca, a documentary on a dance project bringing together people with and without disabilities (ARTE France – 2019)
- Manuel Down Under, a documentary series about the discovery of Australia through the prism of disability, following the journey of a young German with Down’s syndrome and his friend (ZDF – 2018)
- Passe me voir – Fritz, le garçon de verre (Come and See Me: Fritz, The Glass Boy), this documentary tells the story of young Fritz, an 11-year-old boy suffering from glass bone disease. (HR – 2018)
- ARTE Re: Working with a Disability, documentary (ZDF – 2018)
- The eloquence of the deaf, a documentary about a young woman who shares her daily existence as a “model disabled person”, revealing examples of exclusion and her struggle to adapt (ARTE France – 2017)
- Ava, Léa Mysius’ first feature film: on holiday at the seaside, 13-year-old Ava is losing her sight and wants to live fast (ARTE France – 2017)
- Notes on blindness, a documentary film and virtual reality app based on the audio diary of John Hull, a writer who went blind (ARTE France – 2016)
- Das Dorf der Stille (“The Village of silence”), a social documentary about the foundation of Fischbeck in Germany and its deaf and blind residents (SWR – 2015)
- Dans tes yeux (“In your eyes”), a documentary trip around the world presented by blind journalist Sophie Massieu (ARTE France – 2011)
Cultural activities accessible to all
ARTE is a partner of the Entendez-voir Festival, whose mission is to make various cultural activities accessible to all. This event, organized in 2020 by the Strasbourg association Vue d’ensemble allowed ARTE to be represented at a round table discussion on the issues of accessibility in the audiovisual and cinematic sectors. ARTE also presented a film premiere with subtitles and audiodescription open to the general public. This initiative gave the visually and hearing impaired the opportunity to fully participate in a film screening and to exchange afterwards with the film crew.