Joe Clark: Media access

CBC captioning errors and omissions

From November 2002 to 11 October 2005, I kept detailed notes on captions that were missing (130 cases) and incorrect or improper (39 cases) on CBC Television and Newsworld.

Dates listed below are accurate, but times may be only approximate. This document itself is dated 2005.11.15.

See the ongoing list of new captioning errors observed after the publication of this list.

Missing captions

2002.11.03 23:41

While watching Tom Stone on CBC-C feed (channel 227), promo for Da Vinci’s Inquest was uncaptioned, and subsequent promo for Geminis was incorrectly encoded, with the same caption appearing three times (the correct two captions appearing for only a split-second). A previous promo for an Ignatieff movie on the 11th was overedited and used this format:

november 11
Scar Tissue

Another Geminis promo has several overwritten captions (and “thank you” hyphenated). One minute later, the previously-uncaptioned promo appeared captioned.

2002.11.05 18:27
2002.11.21 18:26
Promo for National item on home care not captioned. Ron Charles apparently the narrator.
2002.11.25 18:27
Two promos uncaptioned:
2002.11.26 18:27
Just like yesterday: Show rundown and promo for “Health care in Nunavut” segment on The National uncaptioned.
2002.11.27 18:27
Yet again with the uncaptioned lineup and National promo: “Will the Romanow report on health care make a difference? See why the odds for change have never been better in a feature report tonight on The National.”
2002.12.06 18:28
Yet again with the uncaptioned lineup and National promo: “Oil-rich Alberta says it does care about the environment – but not at the expense of its bottom line.”
2002.12.13 00:50
No captions on subtitled Emporte-Moi.
2002.12.18 18:10
Preview of Toronto news with Ben Chin uncaptioned.
2002.12.19 18:09
Preview of Toronto news with Ben Chin uncaptioned.
2002.12.25 07:58
Preview for Hot Type and standard CBC Newsworld bumper uncaptioned.
2002.12.26 09:54
Apparently because the Avril Lavigne video whose snippets were shown also had captions, captions crashed on a Newsworld Morning recycled segment about her.
2002.12.30 18:26
Lineup and National promo uncaptioned again.
2003.01.01 16:01
Entire 4:00 Newsworld newscast uncaptioned. 16:06: Captions came back on during the wordless time-lapse photography show of New Year celebrations (“earthTVnet,” says the Chyron).
2003.01.17 17:59
“New on CBC News: CBC News World View” uncaptioned promo.
2003.01.17 18:26
National promo uncaptioned.
2003.01.21 13:32
2003.01.27 18:27
Standard evening lineup and National preview (this one a puff piece on Peter Mansbridge) uncaptioned.
2003.01.28 18:11
Previews within Canada Now for the Toronto edition uncaptioned, apparently.
2003.02.16 21:55
Newsworld Docfest ad uncaptioned. It had a E-mail address and a 416 205 number at end; it was not an outside commercial.
2003.02.19 18:27
Standard lineup and National preview uncaptioned.
2003.03.06 00:25
La Seconda Volta: Subtitled, but not captioned.
2003.03.06 18:25
Evening lineup and National teaser uncaptioned.
2003.03.11 18:26
Evening lineup and National teaser uncaptioned.
2003.04.09 18:27
National teaser uncaptioned.
2003.04.28 23:39
. French with English subtitles, no NSI, no captions, no captions on Japanese dialogue.
2003.06.16 21:44
“CBC’s presentation of Taken is brought to you by (Volkswagen)” uncaptioned. But “Taken continues, on CBC,” lasting all of three seconds, had been captioned just before (but clear pulse was missing).
2003.06.19 09:18
No captions on Newsworld, and I can’t remember seeing any since 0900. Back at 2003.06.19 09:47.
2003.06.22 07:58
Bumper for “Olympic decision” uncaptioned on Newsworld.
2003.06.23 19:00
“Sean Majumder hosts” Shaun Majumder Presents. Shaun is spelled properly in the Chyron and misspelled in the caption.
2003.06.26 08:25
Canada Day promo has at most ♪♪ for captions.
2003.06.30 18:27
Lineup promo uncaptioned, but National promo captioned.
2003.07.14 18:26
Lineup uncaptioned – but when we cut back to Canada Now, captions scrolled up there, then were followed by real-time captions of that show.
2003.07.14 20:08
Taken is brought to you by” blurbs for VW Touareg and KFC uncaptioned. Hard to identify those as outside commercials, given the CBC announcer.
2003.07.17 20:46
Escape from the Newsroom promo uncaptioned.
2003.07.17 21:25
“We’ll be right back with the CBC summer movie Chasing Cain” uncaptioned, then ANNOUNCER:... for Taken promo (caption at bottom, self-captioning words screen centre).
2003.07.21 20:06
“CBC’s presentation of Taken is brought to you by” KFC & Touareg uncaptioned, but uses CBC narrator.
2003.07.22 18:26
Lineup uncaptioned, National preview captioned.
2003.07.25 23:08
Sports Journal and Hot Type promos (consecutive) uncaptioned. Also, later, Saturday Report and National promos. In fact, no promos on At the End captioned. And I don’t think any commercials were, either: Possibly pass-through mode not set by stenocaptioners.
2003.07.30 16:53
Return to Nagasaki promo uncaptioned, possibly also the immediately-preceding one.
2003.08.08 08:29
Foreign Assignment and “Closed captioning is brought to you by... Nova Scotia” uncaptioned. So were commercials. Probably encoder not put in pass-through mode.
2003.08.11 00:00
No captions at all on Pan Am Games (watched since before midnight).
2003.08.15 18:50
Uncaptioned lineup 2mins after identical lineup aired with captions (paint-on and pop-on, with blinkrate errors).
2003.08.19 18:12
Toronto update in the middle of Canada Now had no CC; original CC died; video snippets in preview of newscast had old captions.
2003.08.20 17:58
National and local intros for Canada Now uncaptioned.
2003.08.21 08:14
The Current promo and subsequent commercials uncaptioned, no doubt because of encoder pass-through.
2003.08.28 11:12
“It’s your right to know what’s really going on in the world” and Princess Diana promos uncaptioned, no doubt due to decoder pass-through.
2003.08.29 18:12
Preview of Toronto segment uncaptioned. 2mins.
2003.08.31 00:30
Intro to Havana uncaptioned.
2003.08.31 07:59
Tail end of Sports Journal uncaptioned.
2003.09.02 00:00
Music Hall uncaptioned. Subtitled, of course. I just saw a knock on door unrendered.
2003.09.04 18:14 Toronto lineup uncaptioned.
2003.09.07 20:05
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon dubbed and captioned, but “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be right back” extros uncaptioned.
2003.10.01 15:11
Ontario Votes promo uncaptioned. (also seen two days ago).
2003.10.13 15:12
Insurance at a Premium promo uncaptioned on Newsworld. In fact, no captions at all during the commercial break, no doubt due to encoder passthrough.
2003.10.13 17:04
Last part of news on the hour uncaptioned.
2003.10.22 17:29
Two promos, one for The Docket and other about marriage, uncaptioned, due likely to encoder pass-through. Previous commercial for an opera CD by CBC Records uncaptioned, which is probably not an “outside” commercial.
2003.10.23 19:09
Crash of captions on Canada Now on Newsworld, then a partial return for two lines, then freezing and absence for segment and promo, then back.
2003.11.07 17:26
No captions on Newsworld.
2003.11.11 13:12
No captions for promo of Liberal convention on Newsworld, immediately followed by no captions on known-to-be-captioned commercials. (Encoder pass-through.)
2003.11.14 18:32
Canada Now captions died.
2003.11.18 16:30
No captions during commercial breaks for about a half-hour. Encoder pass-through.
2003.11.23 22:04
Many key minutes uncaptioned in Dateline: Iraq on main network. And it should not be real-time-captioned anyway.
2004.01.25 14:30
Two CBC PSAs uncaptioned during Da Vinci’s Inquest, but at least two others captioned. Not a question of encoder pass-through.
2004.01.26 20:30
Bumper “The following is a special CBC presentation in association with Showcase” before The Newsroom uncaptioned.
2004.01.28 00:08
Introductions to late-night movies (as tonight and last night) are never captioned.
2004.02.09 20:01
Program intro has CBC and CBC Monday Night in red, except at the end when it’s in ital.
2004.03.01 21:00
“The following CBC presentation is a described video and is simulcast on VoicePrint for the benefit of the visually-impaired” bumper uncaptioned.
Zed missed CC for about 15 minutes.
2004.05.10 23:32
Wordy intro and entire episode of La vie, la vie uncaptioned.
2004/05/18 11:06
For three minutes, no captions on Newsworld.
2004.06.30 22:00
Intro by Carla Robinson to upcoming news headlines uncaptioned.
2004.07.06 15:40
Promo for Passionate Eye uncaptioned. (Seen captioned last night.) This is for the program about the possibility that the moon landings were fake. I’ve since seen it uncaptioned three times, including 2004.07.09 12:55, in that case right before a captioned promo, indicating that encoder pass-through wasn’t the issue.
2004.07.13 10:32
No captions on Newsworld for at least three minutes now. Captions restarted 2004.07.13 10:36.
2004.07.19 14:09
Announcer on commercial pre-bumper (“The Bells of St. Trillian’s will continue on CBC”) within that movie not captioned.
2004.07.23 10:49
Entire brief weather update (in a pre-captioned show, Movin’ On) uncaptioned. Then a Good Living Update sponsorship bumper for captioned, and an actual commercial for them that wasn’t.
2004.08.02 18:31
Trans-Canada Comedy Trail has captions that are nonexistent when they’re not single words (mostly NSI) embedded in rows of @s and Bs.
2004.08.03 21:11
Da Vinci’s Inquest had garbled captions, mostly with apostrophes substituted by letters (that sometimes almost made sense: youhd).
2004.08.09 23:51
Fortier episode has wordless sequence with “White Rabbit” playing that is of course uncaptioned, because subtitled programs don’t need to be. Bumpers still uncaptioned.
2004.08.16 13:02

No captions on Newsworld top-of-hour news until 2004.08.16 13:04.

2004.08.16 13:16
Promo for Newsworld (known to be captioned) aired without, no doubt due to encoder pass-through. Subsequent commercials also uncaptioned.
2004.08.16 15:10
Captions stop for a moment, allowing yesterday’s real-time captions from Olympic swimming through.
2004.08.18 11:00
Athens Today promo on NW not captioned even though preceding promo and subsequent newscast were.
2004.08.18 17:09
Same Athens Today promo not captioned. But a known-captioned promo right after isn’t captioned, either; probably pass-through.
2004.09.11 16:59
David Suzuki’s extro for “the next Newsworld edition of The Nature of Things” uncaptioned over end credits (showing merely ♪ ♪).
2004.09.23 0:31
Metro Morning commercial uncaptioned (but other CBC Radio commercials were).
2004.09.23 0:31
La dolce vita uncaptioned, as are most subtitled movies. Including offscreen playing of church organ as we focus solely on a head and shoulders. And enormous numbers of unsubtitled utterances, many of them comprehensible and easily written down by an anglo.
Extros to commercial on Sex Traffic uncaptioned.
2004.10.13 0:27
Historical drama Far from the Madding Crowd captioned in steno!
2004.11.08 20:03
Audio goes dead after ill-described show intro. Captions continue. Then back again.
2004.11.12 17:00
End of Hemispheres on NW has no captions.
2004.11.14 00:58
The Mexican captioned in real time.
2004.11.17 13:24
Coronation Street DVD ad, with clear logo of Shop CBC, uncaptioned on NW.
2004.11.17 17:06
No captions at all on 5:00 news on NW.
2004.11.20 16:55
Announcement by Suzuki for “the next Newsworld edition of The Nature of Things not captioned over closing credits of another episode.
2004.11.22 21:28
Similar voice-over for John Morgan retrospective not captioned at tail end of Monday Report.
2004.11.22 21:30
On CBRT, Alberta Provincial Election Pre-Results Show uncaptioned. 2004.11.22 21:36: Finally, captions start.
2004.11.27 19:21
Movie Night in Canada VOs uncaptioned before commercial breaks.
2005.01.30 13:00
Intro to Sunday Encore uncaptioned. All their movie intros (and extros at commercial breaks) are uncaptioned.
2005.02.18 18:14
Teaser for Toronto edition of Canada Now uncaptioned within national edition.
2005.02.20 18:32
No captions on The Desk. Captions were fine on commercials.
2005.02.21 20:31
Announcers at end credits of Monday Report and beginning of Newsroom uncaptioned.
2005.03.23 18:37
Captions crash on Toronto edition of Canada Now, with red, yellow, blue, and green underlined lines of gibberish onscreen and then no captions at all. Resumed 2005.03.23 18:49.
2005.04.07 06:26 PM
Promo for The National uncaptioned. Minutes before, a particularly sensitive reportage about Michael Jackson trial (involving the words “oral sex” and “boy”) were mangled and left static on screen for many seconds.
2005.04.12 06:01 PM
Captioners don’t even bother attempting to caption the Yea side of a vote in the House of Commons. Funny, they at least gave the Nays a go.
2005.04.16 19:32
No captions on The Desk.
2005.04.24 01:25
Cider House Rules that appeared after a long spell of no captions appeared and disappeared in an instant.
2005.05.14 18:02
No captions on first two minutes of news.
2005.06.13 20:35
Intros to commercials on The Royal Tenenbaums uncaptioned.
2005.07.07 ≈13:28
Newsworld breaks into a commercial to show Jacques Chirac at the G8. Crosstalk from control room, news anchor’s remarks, further crosstalk about translation being mixed in with the French, and Chirac’s French-language and translated remarks were all uncaptioned. Suddenly the letters “CC” appear (2005.07.07 13:33). News anchor returns and is uncaptioned. Captions only resumed at 2005.07.07 13:36.
2005.07.11 18:26
Promo for The National uncaptioned.
Greatest Canadian real-time-captioned on Newsworld, even though it is months old. Of course, the original airings were audio-described, proving that there was plenty of time in advance to caption the program.
2005.07.13 18:44
“at – .org, not .com” uncaptioned, merely captioned as WEBSITE AT: with the expectation of a Chyron.
The Mexican real-time captioned, even though it was captioned at least twice before that.
2005.07.18 18:26
Closed-captioning sponsorship spot on Canada Now (from Canadian Blood Services) uncaptioned.
2005.07.19 17:14
Stand-up intro to Doc Days of Summer on Newsworld uncaptioned for the first minute.
2005.07.19 18:28
Closed-captioning sponsorship spot on Canada Now (from Canadian Blood Services) uncaptioned again.
2005.07.30 15:34
Bumpers for World Track and Field Championships and Doctor Who uncaptioned, no doubt due to encoder passthrough.
2005.08.12 14:14
Promo on Newsworld asks “What do you do with a politician who stands up to Columbia’s drug lords?” Where’s Columbia?
2005.08.16 00:23
On the second day of the strike, the BBC news had no captioning.
Interstitial promo for upcoming documentary (several minutes long) hosted by Rae Hull uncaptioned.
2005.09.08 15:43
Piece by Jerry McIntosh about upcoming programming uncaptioned.
2005.09.14 12:04
BBC coverage of U.N. summit not captioned for about four minutes.
2005.09.14 17:02
No captions on Places That Don’t Exist on Newsworld. After a few minutes, I turned it off.
2005.09.16 22:25
CBC lost signal (except for the bug!) for over a minute, then ran a title card for a similar time. Upon return, no captions for about four minutes.
2005.09.21 11:59
A promo for Canadian Antiques Roadshow on Newsworld was real-time-captioned, meaning of course the last sentence was not completely captioned.
2005.10.07 00:38
La moitié gauche du frigo, with extensive English segments, subtitled but not captioned.
2005.10.11 17:00
No captions on the first episode (since the lockout ended) of Politics on Newsworld until 2005.10.11 17:05.

Incorrect or improper captions

2002.11.15 18:59

Promo for The Hound of the Baskervilles:

2002.11.17 21:30

Talking to Americans promo:


2003.02.27 07:58
Country Canada promo has [lightning bolt]. Lightning is silent.
2003.05.10 23:14
Vertigo with positioned (edited) scrollup, a disaster. BCCS is credited.
2003.06.20 17:32

Caption/voice mismatch:

Don’t miss the season finale
Don't miss an all-new episode

on a Made in Canada promo. All the other words matched.

2003.07.17 19:00
Wayne & Shuster in Black and White has inept and totally garbled captions. Looks like a Zoe job.
2003.08.16 13:52
Arthur this morning was real-time-captioned.
2003.11.27 15:10
Blurb for World AIDS Day program inanely misrenders AIDS as A.I.D.S. Funny, I didn’t know it was four syllables.
2004.01.23 01:08
Newsworld Rough Cuts documentary Punk-X has stenocaptioner deliberately failing to render the word “fuckin’.”
2004.04.26 20:57
Live captioning on Zed censored “monkey come” and “fuckin’ ” three times. April 6 episode.
2004.07.06 12:26
Promo for Idols & Icons Week reads BARBARA FRUMM.
2004.07.09 12:44
Newsworld promo for Witness program on Islam behind bars has the following:
Announcer dialogue
for others, possible links to terror
Pets of the Royals had unbelievably bad live-display captioning.
2004.08.24 10:41
Sounds of the Games feature repeatedly captioned as [SOUNDS OF THE GAMES], then [BELL], [GUNFIRE], and a few others interspersed.
2004.08.25 22:57
2004.08.29 19:20
Three-minute musical montage of “Olympic moments” captioned solely with ( ♪♪♪ ) even though the conventional rock lyrics (the song was apparently entitled “Not Ready to Go”) are perfectly and entirely intelligible. “Not ready to go? We’ll be ready to go in about three and a half hours after our encore performance of the closing ceremonies” was completely uncaptioned afterward, presumably because it relates to the uncaptioned lyrics.
2004.08.30 20:43

Rather unfortunate caption in Making the Cut promo, seen umpteen times:


Be sure to provide a washcloth.

2004.11.08 20:01
Why is The Greatest Canadian audio-described (proving it was available in advance) but real-time-captioned?
2004.11.16 20:10
Promo for Fifth Estate renders “It’s legalized extortion” as IT'S LEGAL AS EXTORTION. I rather think not.
2004.12.10 23:24
The Goodbye Girl captioned with scrollup with innumerable blank lines.
2005.01.04 22:47
Rough Cuts stenocaptioner stops writing when he or she realizes that he or she has been recaptioning a program with existing pop-on captions (to which some clues had been visible before).
2005.01.31 20:59
Shake Hands with the Devil real-timed even though we were told three times (twice in voice, once in Chyron) that it played Sundance. Obviously it was totally complete and in the can months ago.
2005.04.18 19:48
Coronation Street, at this moment using strict live display (real-time at other moments), writes the following: I thought that’s why she wanted to contact you – to get some paris etymon. It’s Paracetamol, fools.
2005.04.24 01:25
Unforgiven airs with misspelled centred scrollup captions with blank lines. Previously, any caption on
2005.05.25 00:00
Promo for Lord of the Rings on Vancouver station shows “Gandolf” in Chyron and “Gandelf” in caption. Both are incorrect.
2005.05.26 20:14
Simpsons on Vancouver station was captioned by CBC, complete with terms like tax right off and captioning a gulp as H'UH, and all-caps speaker IDs on the same line. Plus of course ALRIGHT and NSIs like [pow! pow!]. Leave this to the experts, kids. And Satan mistyped as SATN (not a decoder error). And “God is super” captioned as God, it's super. Also got a mind of it’s own. Also the famous COME ON BABY. Who gets stuck cleaning that up?
2005.05.30 17:52
Nerve has multiple blank lines in scrollup; [Word bleeped out] for every bleeped word, even in the middle of a sentence; initial caps in NSI; and captions scrolling up several minutes in advance over a Japanese exchange student’s captitles (then dutifully rescrolled for the next segment, which is where they belonged). Now-typical error in character encoding of apostrophe.
2005.06.01 16:45
Segment on Absolutely Canadian resolutely fails to caption any remarks by African speakers, or even say (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but captions (sometimes with significant delays) all the white Canadians. Exception: One African woman was captioned at the end of the piece.
2005.06.04 16:30
Worst real-time captioning I’ve ever seen on, curiously, the Paralympic World Cup.
2005.08.28 12:46
An ancient repeat of Venture on CBC was real-time captioned for no reason.
2005.09.08 15:43
Repeat of Life & Times real-timed.
2005.09.10 14:52
CBC Sports Saturday (swimming, cycling) dates at latest from June (as it discusses a meet upcoming in July), yet is badly real-timed.
2005.09.22 15:58

Wow, those “managers” sure aren’t getting the hang of captioning.

One promo:

(among many other issues)



2005.10.08 15:59
Not only is the track-and-field program a repeat, it’s a repeat that announces its original airdate: August 7. Yet it is real-time-captioned, complete with errors and omissions.
2005.10.11 12:22
Promo for Torino Olympics has a single announcer but every sentence begins on a new line prefaced by >>.

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Posted: 2005.11.15 ¶ Updated: 2006.08.03, 2007.03.05