“Almost 3500 Victorians tabby virus”: 10 News breach over captioning

Spelling errors, delays in captions, and some too briefly seen, all let down deaf & hearing-impaired viewers, says ACMA.

10 News First has breached the Broadcasting Services Standard for failing to provide accurate captioning to two bulletins in August 2020.

Captioned versions of the program were broadcast on TEN Melbourne which were both live-captioned.

A viewer complaint described unreadable, jumbled upper and lower case letters and noted these were “a long-long-longstanding and deleterious problem.”

“For months and months and months, or perhaps for as long as I can remember, your sub-titles for audio-impaired has been a farce, with higher-case letters popping up in almost every word; and it has become so tedious as to now be totally unacceptable to viewers like myself,” they wrote.

An investigation by the Australian Communications & Media Authority found the positioning of the captions against displayed graphics made them difficult to read in one segment, whilst in others they were out of sync with the visual displays, making it difficult for the viewer to comprehend. In others the captions were not displayed for a sufficient length of time and did not clearly identify different speakers.

One weather report misspelt “Moorabbin” as “Grabban.”

Another caption read, “This women telling the Washington Post shed been marching for weeks.”

The spoken phrase: “Almost 3500 Victorians have the virus” was captioned as, “Almost 3500 Victorians tabby virus.”

Another error turned, “We have seen rioting and looting and protests there since” into “We have seen looting and writing their sense.”

ACMA deemed the errors not readable, accurate nor comprehensible, and concluded the program was not meaningful for deaf and hearing-impaired viewers.

10 indicated it was not aware of the viewer complaint, but attributed the errors to a faulty caption inserter card.

“When Network 10 became aware that a caption inserter was intermittently impacting upon the captioning service, the faulty caption inserter card was replaced,” it told ACMA.

“Subsequently in March 2021, Network 10 implemented a new IP based broadcast playout system. We have replaced our legacy caption inserter cards with new cards that work with the new playout system.”

“For 10 News First (Melbourne), closed captions are no longer inserted via caption inserter cards but rather are inserted directly to the playout system.

“Given the technical changes, we do not expect the same or similar issues to recur for the captioning service accompanying 10 News First (Melbourne). ”

Network 10 will summarise and distribute the Final Investigation Report to staff for training and discuss the findings with its caption service provider.

6 Responses

  1. I only read captions when watching morning news while giving plasma at the Blood bank, since the TV sound is turned off.
    I notice that the scripted news is word-perfect and contemporaneous which I suppose is sourced directly from the auto-cue. Street reporters’ captions are delayed and frequently imperfect. In fact, some of the captions are hilarious. I would hate to have to rely on the captions for news.

  2. Why single out 10 Melbourne? Guess a viewer there who hasn’t yet given up complaining to the ACMA.
    Still can’t understand how programs previously aired with captions (Planet America, e.g.) are not captioned when repeated.
    Often the whole intro to a news item is dropped so the captioner can sort of catch up. Often a ‘read only’ piece is captioned so late that the reader is onto the next story before captioning begins on the previous bit. Interestingly ABC World News Tonight is 99.5% correctly captioned but seems SBS doesn’t want to pay for the captioned version but farm it out to some local outfit, Red Bee Media to have a crack at ‘live’ when it’s replayed to air 2 hours later.
    The abovementioned link shows “Hawaii Five-0” as being captioned. Only old reruns. Newer seasons which haven’t earlier aired on 10 are not captioned. Not captioned, I won’t watch.

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