Jean´s cartoon, published on Folha de S.Paulo on March 13, 2011.
Jean´s cartoon shows the Japanese flag: a red circle on a white background and, on the right side of the circle, a tear falling down.
Few words can translate such a pungent image from the Japanese pain. Without a subtitle to describe it, people with vision deficiency won´t have access to this cartoon or to the sensitive way in which the cartoonist described the Japanese tragedy.
Today, with the digital version of the newspapers, people with visual impairment that are users of screen readers, devices that identify and transform text into speech, can have access to the whole newspaper content with independency and autonomy. It is an excellent improvement, a powerful tool of inclusion.
However, if subtitles with description of these images, pictures, cartoons, info graphics and other resources that illustrate these articles and are an important part of the publications, are not inserted in the text, the screen reader won´t do the reading of these images by itself. Fact that prevents the whole access to the content of the text and images, undoubtedly.
Including text description in images and/or cartoons is fast, simple and doesn’t have additional costs. The programmer will be able to relate the pictures to the descriptive texts if asked to. This professional certainly knows how to do it and won´t spend more than 30 seconds for each picture.
Images illustrate, create reflections, awaken emotions, revolt, stimulate, motivate, promote the curiosity and complete the understanding of the text. Why deny the access to the information images contain?
Journalists, columnists, illustrators and communicators in general, how about considering the need of translating images into words?
(Written by Lívia Motta – March 2011) Translated by Maristela Guimarães and Marcia Cabrera