Joel Snyder

Joel Snyder is an American who has worked on audio descriptions for the visually impaired.[1]

He is the president of Audio Description Associates, LLC[2] and Director of the Audio Description Project for the American Council of the Blind, a program founded by Snyder in 2009.[3]


Snyder holds a Ph.D. in audio-visual translation and ambient intelligence from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.[4][5]


Snyder has been working with audio description since 1981, a service that makes the arts and other events accessible to people who are blind or have low vision.

In 1981, Snyder started describing theatre events and media as a part of the first-ever audio description service with The Metropolitan Washington Ear. Since then, he has produced audio description, introduced audio description techniques, and trained audio describers in 44 states and 60 countries, giving audio description master classes in London, Prague, and St. Petersburg, Russia, and as a speaker and participant at industry events and workshops held throughout South America, Cuba, Iceland, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and in the Middle East.[6][7][8][9]

Snyder wrote and voiced audio description for several of the first-ever television broadcasts with description “Native Son”, “Diaries of Adam and Eve” and “Rocket To The Moon”. As a part of his own company, Audio Description Associates, LLC, he wrote and voiced audio description for the network broadcasts of two of the “Star Wars” films, the IMAX film “Blue Planet” and HBO presentations “Monica and David” and “Educating Peter”; as Director of Described Media for the National Captioning Institute, he produced and voiced the first-ever audio description tracks for "Sesame Street" broadcasts and DVDs, and dozens of national television broadcasts and feature films.  

In museums and National Park Service visitor centers throughout the country, Snyder has produced and voiced audio described tours, Getty Museum, National Aquarium at Baltimore, the Planetarium show “And A Star To Steer Her By” at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, the Chicago Botanic Garden, the International Spy Museum, the Salvador Dali Museum, the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum, the National Museum of American History’s “The Flag That Inspired the National Anthem”, and myriad National Park Service and US Forest Service facilities including Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, the Benjamin Franklin House and the Flight 93 National Memorial.


Snyder has been a member of several media access panels at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as well as the Disability Access Committee of the International Telecommunications Union the Description Leadership Network of the Video Description Research and Development Center, and the “Expert Panel” at the Described and Captioned Media Program where he contributed to the development of guidelines for the production of audio description for educational media.

He is a member of the Actors' Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA and worked for 20 years as an arts specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts.[10]

Audio Description Project (ADP)

The Audio Description Project for the American Council of the Blind was founded in 2009 by Snyder. The ADP is designed to boost awareness of description in all formats throughout the United States.[11][12] As the director of the ADP, Snyder coordinated the production of Audio Description Guidelines, oversees the ADP website produced descriptions for ABC-TV’s coverage of President Obama’s inaugurations, President Trump’s inauguration,  the international broadcast of audio description for the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017,  the first-ever audio described tour of The White House, the 2015 White House video Christmas card, and the 30th anniversary DVD release of The Miracle Worker featuring Patty Duke as ''Annie Sullivan''.[13][14][15]


Snyder authored “The Fundamentals of Audio Description”, focused on five principal areas of audio description training and practice. In 2014, the American Council of the Blind published the English edition of Snyder's book, The Visual Made Verbal - A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description.[16][17] It is available in Polish, Portuguese, Russian, as an audiobook and in screen-reader accessible formats.


Snyder has received the following awards:

  • Access Award from the American Foundation for the Blind (2015)[18]
  • Vernon Henley Media Award from the American Council of the Blind
  • Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description from the American Council of the Blind
  • Montgomery County Executive's Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Lifetime Impact Award from the National Endowment for the Arts[19]
  • Distinguished Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Special Act or Service Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts
  • United States Federal Point of Life Award


  1. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Joel Snyder Releases New Book About Audio Description". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  2. ^ Nast, Condé. "How Do You Watch Peak TV If You're Blind?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  3. ^ "About the Audio Description Project". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  4. ^ DiChristopher, Tom (2015-04-11). "Fans to Netflix: Make Daredevil accessible to the blind". CNBC. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  5. ^ "August 2016 Webinar". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  6. ^ "Joel Snyder — Knowbility". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  7. ^ Ha, Emily (2015-12-21). "Joel Snyder – Audio Description Associates". AXSChat. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  8. ^ ACStaff (2017-06-25). "Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal with Joel Snyder, Ph.D". The Actors' Center. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  9. ^ VSAQ (2014-06-29). "ACB's Audio Description Project--Third Annual Conference Invitation". VSAQ Visions sur l'art Québec Inc. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  10. ^ "The American Council of the Blind - VDRDC: The Smith-Kettlewell Video Description Research and Development Center". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  11. ^ "June 30th 2009:Joel Snyder". VoiceAmerica. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  12. ^ "Opinion: Talkin' dirty for the blind". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  13. ^ "Dr. Joel Snyder | Æ Academic Publishing". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  14. ^ "Picturing the Movies: The Puzzling, Contradictory, Wonderful World of Audio Description". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  15. ^ "The White House Announces Audio Descriptions for Public Tours - VisionAware Blog - VisionAware". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  16. ^ Retrieved 2019-10-08. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ ThriftBooks. "The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive... book by Joel Snyder". ThriftBooks. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  18. ^ "Previous Access Award Winners | American Foundation for the Blind". Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  19. ^ "Past Executive's Awards Recipients | Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County". Retrieved 2019-10-08.

Content from Wikipedia. Licensed under CC-BY-SA.