( ♪♪ Singing ♪♪ )

Joe has improved by not posting so much and trying to think outside of the bubble of his own interests.

Anonymoose, 2009.02.01

Not so fast, cupcake.

Sign reads English Television Presentation: Our goal is to provide the best television presentation of any broadcaster

If what you want is for me to step outside my own bubble for a moment, I’ll give Pegs a break and not rag on the in-house captioning department – today. (I noticed a look of horror as I sashayed through their workspace last week. Quick! Dial 911! Or, as they would caption it, nine-one-one!) So why don’t we talk about their outside help instead?

The Obama inauguration was planned months in advance, and its schedule was well known. Miss Aretha Franklin made her own contribution to renewable energy by installing a windmill on her hat. Yet here is how CBC’s outside stenocaptioning shop (yes, I know who they are) managed to caption the readily intelligible old standard “My Country, ’Tis of Thee”:

Aretha Franklin wears a grey outfit with matching hat and huge bow. Caption reads ( ♪♪ Singing ♪♪ )

How about the French side? Radio-Canada got in line with the Franco-Privates to tell lies for a decade that live captioning in French was impossible (or too hard, or too expensive, or not needed). (That prompted a CRIM, and are using a voice-recognition system. “How 2001,” you think? Nope: It’s a speaker-dependent voice-recognition system that relies on a respeaker to reiterate whatever is being said. (We saw this already with Des kiwis et des hommes. And it isn’t really an outside vendor doing the work.)

It would be nice if these French captioners could put aside their feelings of superiority over the English language long enough to program their dictionaries with the correct spelling of the president’s name.

Caption reads, in part, Barak Obama

I would have preferred, though, if the captioning had actually rendered what was spoken rather than scrolling up prewritten scripts that had nothing to do with the dialogue. In essence, Radio-Canada lied to its audience.

Three lines of French captions

Nice clobbering of Chyrons there. When it comes to French captioning, it’s always 1996.

In the captioners’ defence, Radio-Canada completely muffed the inauguration for French-speaking viewers, not bothering to translate very much of the original dialogue; when they deigned to do so, the interpreter was so low in the mix you couldn’t hear him.

Does any of this really constitute “the best television presentation of any broadcaster”? Or was everything A-OK just because the captions technically transmitted well?

Special warning to Bev Kirshenblatt

A complaint to the CRTC is coming down the pike. You’ll never guess what it’s about. If I weren’t spending so much time writing these posts, I’d have it done already.

(bubble pops)


  1. Fake Ouimet
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 7:28 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’ve been posting on a variety of subjects. This is merely part of life’s rich pageant (TM R.E.M.).

  2. cranky broadcaster
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 5:55 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Sorry, but don’t you have your own blog devoted to this sort of nit-picking about captions?

    Oh right, I forgot… nothing else is happening around here.

    I heard some really basic math errors on one of the morning shows today, I’m sure everyone will love to hear about it.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted February 4, 2009 at 5:55 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    (tumbleweed blows across screen of blog)

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared.

Upload Files

You can include images or files in your comment by selecting them below. Once you select a file, it will be uploaded and a link to it added to your comment. You can upload as many images or files as you like and they will all be added to your comment.

Write for us