The latest in a series of postings on CBC captioning (also see the separate page on the topic)

It seems my legion of detractors has a new junior member, though by characterizing him in such comic-store-habitué terms I make him sound like a nerd who plays too much Dungeons & Dragons, and that wouldn’t be fair. To his credit, he spends no time at all writing “angry nitpicking letters to the CBC.” Rather akin to Ze Frank, I nitpick angrily so he doesn’t have to. Except, as I explained at BarCamp this weekend, what I actually affect is an airy dismissiveness. My detractor’s status as a non-native English speaker may make it all seem the same, leaving him embarrassingly slow on the uptake.

En tout cas, I’m going to proceed down my list of CBC captioning complaints. I mean, somebody has to care. It would be nice if the people earning at least $38K to caption all day actually cared and weren’t such angry nitpickers themselves, but, you know, we can’t expect a billion-dollar corporation to hire people who actually like their work enough not to fuck it up. Nor, at the management level, could we expect anything but sinecurists marking time. (“You want me to run captioning? Le sous-titrage? I can’t think of anything duller. But maybe it’ll get me transferred back to Montreal someday.”)

Anyway, in lieu of writing a “letter,” let me just send a few picture postcards.

  • Remember the British spellings? Well, last week’s Passionate Eye documentary “Saving Jazz” (for that is how you write things like that – program in italics, episode in quotation marks) had pop-on captions that I disagreed with a lot. (Speaker IDs should have been on their own lines.) The subject, New Orleans jazz photographer Herman Leonard, described New Orleans as a civilized place, dutifully captioned as CIVILISED. I flubbed my tape recording and can’t show you a photograph. However, one did notice a wee inconsistency elsewhere:

    Screenshow shows caption reading I DON'T RECOGNIZE.

    Make up your minds, people. And don’t try to be “safe” and settle on British, because you aren’t captioning in Britain.

  • Now, then: Single quotation marks? They’re rampant these days.

    Screenshot shows movie logo and caption: 'WAGNER'S RING.' LOGON TO cbc.ca/the ring

    The Ring is a title (hence italics); “log on” is a phrasal verb (“logon” is a noun); and the URL doesn’t have a space, as the video clearly shows. Hostnames are case-insensitive by spec, and if we weren’t using all-caps, the URL wouldn’t look so out of place.

  • Can we find do a twofer? Can we find British spelling and single quotes in the same five seconds of video? Why, sure.

    Screenshot shows caption including 'ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER' and CHARACTERISED

I have a photo set on Flickr you can subscribe to if you’d like to look at more screenshots than reasonably fit into these entries.

Don’t drive nitpick angry!

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2006.08.31 22:24. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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