An automated live subtitles service late on Sunday night committed what can only be described as one of the most unintentionally hilarious and hideously embarrassing auto-correct typos in the history of television. Or in the history of auto-correct, for that matter.
ESPN UK’s coverage of the Gold Cup final at Chicago's Soldier Field stadium was just about to come to an end, after the United States saw off Panama 1-0 to secure the title. All that remained was for the broadcast’s commentary team to sign off the coverage.
Unfortunately for the channel, a non-human subtitles contraption is of course bound to fail from time to time when trying to pick up unfamiliar words, or perhaps words spoken in a heavy accent.
Even still, it's pretty hard to fathom what the machine churned out when the lead commentator began his goodbyes: “That’s it from the Soldier Field (or "from the pair of us", perhaps)" became "That's it from the paedophiles."
Whoops! Or, as ESPN's subtitle machine would say, Artichokes!
World of Sport understands only too well what went wrong here, having listened many times to the grumbles of experts at the heart of the live subtitling industry (read "underpaid friends who type until their fingers bleed while doing subtitles for live sport"). The rendering of the next line of the commentator's sign-off shows exactly the sorts of problems subtitling, runs into, with "On behalf of Stewart Robson" becoming "And a half of Stewart Robson".
We could be wrong. Perhaps the commentary was being broadcast from a pub where the real ales on tap include Stewart Robson IPA. But we're pretty sure it was another mistake.
The video clip started doing the rounds on the internet as soon as the broadcast finished, but the spoilsports at ESPN have had the videos pulled down for ‘copyright purposes’.
Of course, in this instance, ‘copyright purposes’ means ‘face-saving purposes, with copyright law serving as the perfect means to an end’.
WoS cannot help but feel for the poor guys in charge at ESPN, especially if any heads roll over an unfortunate but innocuous situation.
Still, gotta laugh.