‘Her Boob Will Bring Us a Chance of Rains’ — Closed Captioning Strikes Again
Being in the broadcasting business is fun and sometimes exhausting, especially when it comes to being a weather professional. Behind the scenes, so much goes into what appears as a seemingly simple 30-minute newscast.
One of the many steps taken when producing a newscast is writing the script, which is then used for the Closed Caption feature on your television. In the weather business, we also write scripts to describe the forecast we will give on-air, and viewers can read it as the forecast is presented if closed captioning is turned on.
In the event of severe weather, things are somewhat different.
Due to the real-time nature of weather events, a script is not something that can be written up before the weather personality is on-air. In these cases, closed captioning is typically provided by an automated system, which utilizes text-to-speech technology in order to produce the closed caption script.
Sometimes words are difficult to pronounce, city names don't always translate as well as common words, and then the script has odd words in odd places.
During yesterday's haboob in Lubbock, a Dallas area meteorologist, Jesse Hawila, had to cover weather in such a way that the closed captioning was not scripted in advance, and the text-to-speech tech apparently didn't recognize the word 'haboob.' What was read on the screen instead was hilarious!
Unfortunately, this is part of the issue that goes with being on a live broadcast. But it sure is funny when it happens and nobody gets hurt!