Thursday, April 22, 2010

Major League Baseball Closed Captions:

I felt like an idiot last night. I was watching a baseball game with Closed Captions turned on. The closed captions for baseball announcers are generally very poor. At best, the text falls far behind the announcers and then there will be a big gap to enable a text catch-up. Then the text falls behind and there’s another gap. There are badly mistaken words, and I have wondered whether the real time speech-to-text is being done by a harassed human or a computer program. The reason I feel stupid is that I was always inclined to suspect that the text was coming from a person. Until now.

The baseball announcer was discussing a relief pitcher who got into trouble in the seventh inning. One of his sentences began like this:

Mario Acosta, who had a good sex beaning...

Well obviously, that’s not what the announcer said. But I saw those very words on my TV. The correct words were:

Mario Acosta, who had a good sixth inning...

Now there’s a mistake that any computer can make.

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