Tuesday, November 30, 2010

His mother's crotch?

I have a great deal of admiration for the people who provide instant closed captions for television news programs. Captioning on the fly with any amount of accuracy is difficult, even with the assistance of powerful computers. The job has to be done immediately; there's no time to look up things. But there's plenty of time to screw up things.

Sometimes a captioner has to render an unfamiliar name, word, or phrase phonetically and just hope the viewer gets it. The name of a long-dead economist, for example, might appear as "John May Nard Canes." When you think about that a little, it's clear, sort of.

The other night I was stunned when a local NBC newsreader seemingly reported that a police officer had cornered a suspect "in his mother's crotch."

Huh? Then I got it. We Chicagoans pronounce "garage" as "grotch."

Clearly the captioner wasn't from our neck of the woods.

1 comment:

  1. that is a great subtitle fail! Too few people realise the skill involved in accurate subtitling or closed captioning. You might be interested in reading my blog on the subject and/or following me on twitter if you are on it. See: http://iheartsubtitles.wordpress.com/subtitlefail-tv/