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Hilarious bloopers that make reading TV subtitles such a subversive joy

Reading carefully from her script, the Queen told the assembled Lords and MPs yesterday: ‘My Government’s new economic plan will be underpinned by irresponsible fiscal strategy.’

Of course, she didn’t really — Her Majesty described ‘a responsible fiscal strategy’ — not that any BBC viewers watching with subtitles realised.

Most of the on-screen captions are produced by a human ‘subtitler’ listening to live TV, and then repeating the words as clearly as possible into a microphone for a computer to turn it into text.

The system appears to leave plenty of room for error, and subtitle gaffes are legion. From murderous Wimbledon fans to disrupted fairies and indistinct dinosaurs, here Etan Smallman looks at some of the finest . . .

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in a carriage from Buckingham Palace during the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony in London 2014 

WE BRITISH ‘ARE GOOD AT KILLING’

BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker stressed to viewers that he was not crediting Britons’ talent for murder at Wimbledon in 2017. He quickly took to Twitter to clarify that although the caption said: ‘We are so good at killing’ — he actually said ‘queuing’.

Blushing bride: A unfortunate boob at Princess Eugenie's wedding where the subtitle said: 'What beautiful breasts'

Blushing bride: A unfortunate boob at Princess Eugenie’s wedding where the subtitle said: ‘What beautiful breasts’ 

RUSSIAN HARDMAN IS ‘SO GAY LOVER OF’

Channel 4 News’s Matt Frei was discussing the Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov. Unfortunately, Vladimir Putin’s confidant — who has strongly supported his country’s ban on homosexual rights to ‘protect Russian morals’ — was put on the screen as ‘so gay lover of’.

AND NOW IT IS TIME FOR ‘CAR SAUSAGE’

CAR SOS presenter Tim Shaw introducing his show would have been surprised to learn from the caption that he was working for a show about old bangers.

‘THERE WILL BE SEVERE DISRUPTION TO FAIRIES’

THE sense of BBC Breakfast’s weather presenter Carol Kirkwood’s gale warning was rather lost in translation. She was predicting disruption to . . . ferries.

BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood's gale warning was lost in translation to 'there will be severe disruption to fairies' instead of 'ferries'

BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood’s gale warning was lost in translation to ‘there will be severe disruption to fairies’ instead of ‘ferries’ 

ALL HAIL THE CHIEF, IT’S ‘PRESIDENT CHUMP’

Sky News might have been in trouble with the regulator over impartiality when one reporter’s reference to Donald Trump was misinterpreted by the computer.

YES, I AM FROM ‘HOODEZFIELD’

Regional accents can often be tricky. So pity the poor American subtitler working on The Late Show during an interview with Doctor Who actress Jodie Whittaker. She explained that she was ‘from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire’. Must be her accent.

Irish singer-songwriter Ryan O'Shaughnessy at the Eurovision song content singing 'Together'

Irish singer-songwriter Ryan O’Shaughnessy at the Eurovision song content singing ‘Together’ 

LOSING BUT WE WENT ON ‘TO EAT OUR OPPONENTS’

‘Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I can assure them it is much more serious than that,’ said football legend Bill Shankly. But the great manager could never have imagined cannibalism. Apparently they simply ‘beat’ their opponents.

THERESA’S CLASH WITH ‘JEREMY AXEMAN’

THEN Prime Minister Theresa May had what looked like a rather frightening interview during the 2017 pre-election grillings. We know Jeremy Paxman has a fierce reputation, but really . . .

Former Prime Minister Theresa May is interviewed by Jeremy Paxman during the 2017 pre-election grillings

Former Prime Minister Theresa May is interviewed by Jeremy Paxman during the 2017 pre-election grillings 

DAY COURT OVERTURNED ‘PRO ROAD PARLIAMENT’

A YouTube video had Lady Hale telling the Supreme Court: ‘An Order in Council was made that Parliament be prorogued’. That turned into: ‘An ordering counsel was made that Parliament be Pro Road.’ We wouldn’t want an anti-road Parliament. Elsewhere, ‘proroguing’ was transcribed as ‘Poirot being’, while ‘justiciable’ [subject to trial in a court of law] became ‘just disabled’.

Lady Hale was telling the Supreme Court about Parliament 'making laws' which was in subtitles as 'making love'

Lady Hale was telling the Supreme Court about Parliament ‘making laws’ which was in subtitles as ‘making love’ 

CHINESE ‘YEAR OF THE WHORES’

USHERING in the Chinese Year of the Horse in 2014, the BBC’s Tina Daheley had people around the globe celebrating something completely different.

‘EXPECT HEAT AND NUDITY’

When they are forecasting thunderstorms on the way we are not surprised to be told that ‘heat and humidity’ are expected. But the BBC made it much more exciting.

THEY RESPECT SNOWBOARDERS’

Theresa May’s warnings about Russia were rather undermined by how they were reported on screen. Her declaration that the country ‘respects no borders and it is a threat to our values’ somehow became a comment on winter sports.

‘HERE’S PRINCE HARRY AND HEZBOLLAH’

In 2017, Jeremy Corbyn sent his congratulations to newly engaged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Somehow, ‘Harry and his brother’ became mangled and gave the royal seal of approval to the Lebanese terror group the Labour leader once called his ‘friends’.

In 2017 Jeremy Corbyn sent his congratulations to newly engaged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle which became mangled and gave the royal seal of approval to the Lebanese terror group

In 2017 Jeremy Corbyn sent his congratulations to newly engaged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle which became mangled and gave the royal seal of approval to the Lebanese terror group 

‘ABORTION FRUIT’ — EAT SEVEN A DAY

Enough to put you off your dinner. ‘A portion of fruit’ became rather less appetising as the BBC reported we should be eating seven portions a day.

'A portion of fruit' became a rather less appetising 'abortion fruit' according to subtitles on a BBC report

‘A portion of fruit’ became a rather less appetising ‘abortion fruit’ according to subtitles on a BBC report 

VATICAN’S ‘ILLEGAL PAPAL RUMINATION’

Carrie Gracie quit as BBC China editor in a dispute over salaries. Railing against what she called ‘unlawful pay discrimination’ it came out wrong on screen.

AND FINALLY, ‘TIK . . . TAK . . . TIK . . . TAK . . . TIK . . . TAK’

In a rare moment of no commentary during a tennis rally, the computer filled in the gap.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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