Once more with Ceefax subtitles: The Arsenal player has been fouled by a zebra

Manchester United's Patrice Evra's challenge on an opponent was rendered as 'the Arsenal player has been fouled by a zebra'.
Manchester United's Patrice Evra's challenge on an opponent was rendered as 'the Arsenal player has been fouled by a zebra'.
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VIEWERS were left baffled after subtitling mistakes transformed toddlers into Ayatollahs and confused sources with sauces.

The errors were highlighted in a report by communications watchdog Ofcom which said people relying on live subtitles had an “inferior” experience to other viewers.

Other examples of mistakes included the Star Wars character Princess Leia being called “Present Cesc lay ya” and lemon transcribed as “lepl on”.

The report also quoted examples of what it called “serious recognition errors” including “’they need a man” instead of “they need a mum” and “’be given to ayatollahs’ instead of be given to our toddlers”.

It said 155 BBC shows needed live subtitles, with 53 on ITV, including popular programmes such as The Jeremy Kyle Show, The Graham Norton Show and Top Gear.

The issue was previously taken up by former home secretary David Blunkett who criticised subtitling standards and quoted an example from football commentary where Manchester United’s Patrice Evra’s challenge on an opponent was rendered as “the Arsenal player has been fouled by a zebra”.

Ofcom’s report said: “Live subtitling entails unavoidable delays which mean that speech and subtitling cannot be completely synchronised. Errors and omissions are also not uncommon. It is clear from viewers’ feedback that, while subtitle users value the opportunity to watch live TV, they sometimes find live subtitling frustrating, and, on occasion, unwatchable.”

An Ofcom spokesman said: “Improving the quality of subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers is an important focus for Ofcom. We now require broadcasters to measure the quality of live TV subtitles, which is helping us to identify how their speed and accuracy can be improved.”