Who is brian?

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Email from a colleague in computer science, listing some of the mistranscriptions in the Zoom captions of his office hours:

timing problem -> tiling problem
bulletin annually -> boolean formulae
satisfy your ability -> satisfiability
fire patterns -> tile patterns
inquisition -> position
valuables -> variables
double fines -> double prime
double poison -> ?
amen -> m, n
wine is in the continent of age -> ???
I do not want a diet climb to brian -> ???

I will stop here and I hope that you can all satisfy your ability with no double fines
and avoid inquisition.
Who is brian?

This is a timely reminder of the background for our poster at ASA2021 today: "High quality recordings and transcriptions of speech via remote platforms". The poster's problem statement:

And a diagram of the recording, transcription, and analysis pipeline that the poster describes part of:


  1. Seth said,

    December 3, 2021 @ 5:50 pm

    Shades of "sick as hell" anemia (sickle-cell anemia).

    "double poison" is probably "double Poisson [distribution]" (pun unintended)

  2. Stephen Hart said,

    December 3, 2021 @ 6:37 pm

    I find the arrow direction confusing.

    timing problem -> tiling problem

    I assume this means that recorded audio of "tiling problem" is transcribed as "timing problem."

  3. Jerry Friedman said,

    December 3, 2021 @ 7:56 pm

    Stephen Hart: Other way, I think. It means "Change 'timing problem' to 'tiling problem'. Change 'bulletin annually' to 'boolean formulae'."

    The two mysterious excerpts might be good puzzles if we had the context.

    Personally, I'm grateful that my employer isn't spending a considerable part of its budget on transcribers with the skill to transcribe a physics lecture accurately—though maybe the few people with that skill aren't so grateful.

  4. Michael Lugo said,

    December 3, 2021 @ 9:07 pm

    “ wine is in the continent of age ” may be “y is in the complement of h”.

  5. milu said,

    December 3, 2021 @ 9:46 pm

    as a French person in my 30s the title of this post reminds me irresistibly of a very famous bit about middle school English lessons by standup comic Gad Elmaleh. This video has (not great) english subtitles.


    i figure, it's off-topic but it isn't completely out of place on a linguistics blog =)

  6. Philip Taylor said,

    December 4, 2021 @ 3:48 am

    Milu — your linked Youtube video was amusing, but the follow-up which Youtube then went on to suggest had me absolutely rolling on the floor at 01:06–01:10 …

  7. milu said,

    December 4, 2021 @ 7:42 am

    oh yeah the German Coastguard commercial ^^ classic.

  8. Wanda said,

    December 6, 2021 @ 4:56 pm

    Zoom autocorrects my pronunciation of "organ" to "Oregon." I talk about organs quite a bit in my physiology class, so this is a major issue. I also am more than a bit worried that I am pronouncing one or both of these words wrong because to me they are quite distinct.

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