Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Say What?


While I'm riding the bike at the gym, I like to watch the televisions they have set up. It makes the time go by a lot faster. Because of the noise level in the gym, they keep the volume down and turn on the closed captioning. It does make life interesting, reading TV instead of watching it.

What cracks me up, though, is the way that the words in the caption don't always match up with what's going on in the show. A while back, I was watching a press conference with Rocky Anderson (Salt Lake City's mayor) and he called someone a cook. I didn't find out until later that he had actually said "crook."

Yesterday I was watching the jewelry channel. The hostess was showing some earrings, and the next thing I know, the caption is saying something about a pelican. I'm not sure how a pelican got into the conversation -- maybe pelicans like to wear jewelry?

Then they moved on to a sapphire ring, and the caption said something about an illiterate sapphire. Okay, I didn't realize that gemstones had a choice as to whether or not they read -- I figured it was an all-around no. But apparently this sapphire was illiterate, which gives rise to the question -- how much does a literate sapphire cost?

All this serves to keep me mightily entertained while I pedal. I have fun trying to figure out what the host really said to trigger the odd response from the captioning machine.

What is also does is make me feel really sorry for the hearing impaired. They are already missing out on so much, and now we're feeding them nonsense sentences under the guise of doing them a service. I think they deserve better than that!

9 comments:

Josi said...

I like it when the caption says things like {farts loudly} or {approaching footsteps}

wom said...

I agree with you. I had a friend who was deft, she needed the close caption on tv. I don't think we as people understand what its like to be in a world of no sound.

marlene said...

Oh, Tristi, thank you! I am one of those hearing impaired persons who has to use captions continually. They do come up with some unusal comments that would make you laugh if you weren't trying to keep up with the quickly flashed lines. And then the timing with the comment can really make you wonder. You know, scenes of firefighters at a blaze while the captions quote the reporter talking about global warming. Another problem is that if you are trying to read captions you really can't read lips at the same time, but If I'm lucky and they run the captions slightly ahead of the speaking, I can match the words and the lip movement and get a good lip reading lesson in. As frustrating (and depressing) as it sometimes can get, I have to remember that at least we do have captions, and tv, and electricity, and comfortable houses, and--well, life's not really half bad, it is?
Best, we have people who are trying to improve it all for us!

Eileen said...

Thanks for visiting my book blog, nice to meet you too!

Rebecca Talley said...

We have a TV Guardian so we can remove the bad language from all of our movies & TV shows. Unfortunately, the TVG is only as good as the captions that have been input.

With the TVG you can either allow it to silence the bad words (which usually is at least a sentence and sometimes a paragraph, and when what's silenced includes important info to the plot, it gets a little hard to follow) or you can enable the caption feature so you can read what is silenced and another, more appropriate word is inserted in place of the bad word.

We were watching a story about Montana, (Butte Montana to be exact) and the TVG replaced Butte (too close to butt, I suppose) to Rear End. So we watched a story about Rear End, Montana. Also it always substitues "hugs" for "sex" so if you're watching something about dating, you can see people meet members of the "opposite hugs."

W.L. Elliott said...

Unless its on a DVD or something prerecorded, captioning is typed about three seconds before it makes it to the screen - so keep in mind that the best typists in the world occasionally make mistakes when they're trying to keep up with what people are saying. Especially in news reports, they only hear it a few seconds before we see it on the screen. There are actually times when they lose whole sentences, and they can only go on and pick up where they can catch the thread of words again.

It won't be long till they find a way to computerize it, but for now bear with them - they're trying hard. :^>

violetlady said...

Tristi, very interesting observation. I have noticed the same thing on the few occasions I have watched closed captioning. Can be very entertaining.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Rebecca and Josi -- both your comments are hysterical!

Tristi Pinkston said...

WL -- I'm not trying to be too hard on the poor caption typers -- I know I sure make enough typos. But when they type things like illiterate sapphires and pelicans -- well, I just have to snicker.

Maureen, it is a blessing that we have the technology today that we never used to have, that's for sure!

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