Cognitive Dissonance in Auto Captions

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Dean Jansen

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Jun 16, 2014, 10:40:36 AM6/16/14
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Hi everyone,

Someone just forwarded me this funny case of terrible auto-captions gone awry. It's Apple's Tim Cook talking about his philosophy about product design – the auto-captions interpreted "just and wise" as "just Android". I suppose Google doesn't mind this mistake ;)

I'm wondering if anyone is collecting a "hall of fame" for this kind of thing? I've seen some that are "funniest caption fails", but I think it'd be interesting to collect auto caption fails that meet a few criteria:
  • High profile speaker or organization featured in video (someone who wouldn't want to look bad)
  • Funny, absurd, or offensive caption fail
  • Posted on high profile organization's YouTube channel (i.e. the org should know better and have better captions)
Does anyone know if this already exists? Could be a great tool for spreading awareness to both the public, but potentially also the people/orgs involved.

Best,
Dean


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Dawn Jones

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Jun 16, 2014, 11:12:35 AM6/16/14
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Hi Dean

Ha! That's a good one!

There are dozens of tumblr blogs devoted to you tube auto-caption fails but how funny you find them probably depends on how well you know the original content or subject matter. I quite like the one devoted to Shakespeare which is naturally going to be harder for a machine to understand (never mind old english spelling!) http://shakespeare-transcribed.tumblr.com 

I tweet funny fails under #subtitlefail! but these tend to be broadcast fails from respeaking not automated captions. 

Lots of advocates have blogged about this topic because as you say there is a serious side and mis-information can potentially have disasterous consequences  - I'll see if I can find some for you. 

Dawn


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Claude Almansi

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Jun 16, 2014, 1:39:49 PM6/16/14
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Hi, Dean and Dawn

My favorite one is in a video posted by ENS, the Italian Deaf People's
institution who stubbornly insist on not captioning their videos, only
offering signed interpretation. In a part about a bar in Bologna where
the deaf publicans offer a discount if people order in Italian Sign
Language, a woman signs and says "Birra Corona" and the autocaption
says "fanculo" (get buggered). See
<http://youtu.be/G9elwLqb9sA?t=33s>.

Dawn, you mentioned advocates - in fact, the CCAC (Collaborative for
Communication Access via Captioning) (<http://ccacaptioning.org/>)
has discussed autocaptions on several occasions in its mailing list:
are you also a member, Dean?

The mailing list is member-only, so I can't quote from it, but one
thing that's come up regularly is that YT autocaptions may be amusing
for hearers, are a royal pain for the deaf, and yet are also one of
the other facets of what makes Android voice recognition pretty good,
for a non trainable program. I.e. it can be used in F2F informal
conversations with deaf people.

Also: while they still have howlers, the YT autocaptions themselves
are getting better. Not good enough for deaf people, but more and more
often good enough to be editable in less time than making them from
scratch would take.

So could Amara also fish them, like the human YT subtitles, when an
Amara page is created from a YT video? Of course, they should land in
a separate subtitle track, not in a human language one. Maybe you
could create a Meta: autocaptions track option, like the existing
Meta: Audiodescription one?

Then another thing about videos in sign languages. Amara keeps having
only the American Sign Language option. What about replacing that by
"Sign Languages", for which there is a sgn ISO code? Then people would
specify which sign language in the description - it would not sound as
US-centric.

Best,

Claude


On 6/16/14, Dawn Jones <ihearts...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Dean
>
> Ha! That's a good one!
>
> There are dozens of tumblr blogs devoted to you tube auto-caption fails but
> how funny you find them probably depends on how well you know the original
> content or subject matter. I quite like the one devoted to Shakespeare
> which is naturally going to be harder for a machine to understand (never
> mind old english spelling!) http://shakespeare-transcribed.tumblr.com
>
> I tweet funny fails under #subtitlefail! but these tend to be broadcast
> fails from respeaking not automated captions.
>
> Lots of advocates have blogged about this topic because as you say there is
> a serious side and mis-information can potentially have disasterous
> consequences - I'll see if I can find some for you.
>
> Dawn
>
>
> On Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 3:40 PM, Dean Jansen <de...@pculture.org> wrote:
>
>> Hi everyone,
>>
>> Someone just forwarded me this funny case of terrible auto-captions gone
>> awry. It's Apple's Tim Cook talking about his philosophy about product
>> design – the auto-captions interpreted "just and wise" as "just Android".
>> I
>> suppose Google doesn't mind this mistake ;)
>>
>> I'm wondering if anyone is collecting a "hall of fame" for this kind of
>> thing? I've seen some that are "funniest caption fails", but I think it'd
>> be interesting to collect auto caption fails that meet a few criteria:
>>
>> - High profile speaker or organization featured in video (someone who
>> wouldn't want to look bad)
>> - Funny, absurd, or offensive caption fail
>> - Posted on high profile organization's YouTube channel (i.e. the org

Dean Jansen

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Jun 17, 2014, 11:44:08 PM6/17/14
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@Dawn Yes! The old english stuff is pretty amusing. Any luck finding anything? I did a little more searching and nothing immediately popped up, but I still haven't done a deep dive.

@Claude CCAC is a good idea – will reach out there when I have a minute. Totally agreed that they're more than just annoying, which is why a campaign like this might be an interesting way to help raise awareness about how potentially dangerous raw auto-captions could be for someone who is relying on them for information. Also agree that they're a potentially good starting point – we've started to talk more about how we might leverage existing technology like ASR.

Great thoughts – thanks for sharing.

--Dean


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