An unexpected source of amusement on TV can be the subtitles provided for the deaf or hard of hearing. On live programmes, the poor old subtitlers have to try to keep up with an announcer or a rapid exchange of questions and answers during an interview, when the subject might be anything from sport to international politics. Apparently the way it works is that the subtitlers ‘respeak’ the words they hear into a program that converts it into subtitles on the screen. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line this leads to things like the Star Wars character Princess Leia beings transcribed as ‘Present Cesc lay ya’.
(It’s obviously not so amusing for the deaf viewers who are reliant on them – though I’m sure once they get over their bafflement and irritation, even they must sometimes see the funny side.)
Here are a few more:
The phrase ‘given to our toddlers’ came out as ‘given to ayatollahs’
The names of footballers seems to present a particular problem – Manchester United footballer Adnan Januzaj somehow became ‘Janet Jazz Jazz Jam’
When another United player, Patrice Evra, made a rash challenge on an opponent, the commentator’s words were transformed into ‘The Arsenal player has been fouled by a zebra’