Thursday, January 20, 2011

The parallel world of house styles

 House styles are .txt files that contain words and phrases that the viewer watching telly at home will never see. This is because every time they appear in your transcript, the computer automatically changes them to something else that you have previously specified. It is a great way to catch errors before they happen.

For example, a recurring capitalisation error like "National Union of students" can be entered into the house style as follows: National Union of students = National Union of Students. From this point onwards, it is more or less impossible for that capitalisation error to occur in that combination of words, providing that this house style is included in my transmission. We also use house styles for things that are tricky or temporary. Sometimes the networks prefer extra hyphens or mess around with the capitalisation of Arabic names beginning with 'al-', only to change their minds later.

House styles are also great for preventing misrecognition before it happens. Or, as is more likely the case, before it happens for a second time. After all, there are only so many times you can refer to tight fiscal responsibility in government as requiring a "cocksucking Budget" before people start to complain. ...I assume.

But amid the "cocksucking" budgets, the malfunctioning engines of the "crud up A380s" and the "kilo that might strike again", there are entries that hint of a strange and whimsical world of fairy dust and stories for children. It is in the magical world of house styles where the royal couple, "William and cake" are soon to be wed, and where "Mama Gaddafi" lives in some kind of totalitarian gingerbread palace and cares for photogenic and suitably grateful young orphans. It's a world where everyone speaks like they're in an Enid Blyton novel as the sports reporter merrily tells the young footballing star - "Your career is off to a gay start, wouldn't you say?"

But of all the errors that never happened outside of the world of house styles, one of my favourites would have to by the exciting glimpse into the field of cryptogeography provided by "Puppy New Guinea."

Amid the sugarplums and the candy floss, the mind boggles.


Mama Gaddafi

Mama Gaddafi

2 comments:

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  2. Interesting blog post, may link to it if that is ok. There must surely be a long long list of these to avoid errors? Pretty sure I've seen William & Cake on subtitles going to air ;)

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