Baby linguine and Alex the seal

Dr Erin Bowe psychologist

January 20, 2022

This week, while scrambling for yet another fun summer holiday activity, I suggested to the kids that we could have an ‘ice cream bar’ on the weekend. As in, we put out some ice creams and toppings on the bench and they could build a sundae.

My littlest one thought I said ‘ice cream bath’, as in we’re going to eat ice cream in the bath.
Equally as fun, maybe?

As a kid, I lived right near the beach so I actually do have fun memories of occasionally being allowed to eat my Bubbalo Bill icecream in the bath. It was my mother’s genius way of dealing with the mess of sand and dripping ice cream in the one place.

Children’s retellings of misheard phrases and misheard song lyrics (mondegreens) are one of my true joys in life.

Embarrassingly, I was 22 years old when I realized the 1981 Go Go’s song Our Lips are Sealed, was not in fact, what I heard (and sang along to) “Alex the Seal”.

Have you heard of ‘baby linguine’? Neither had my friend Paula. I think she even looked for it at the supermarket near all the Annabel Karmel products.
She couldn’t find it, of course, because she misheard a conversation about ‘baby led weaning’. Side note – someone should totally make ‘baby linguine’ because enough exasperated parents seem to do a Google search for it.

All jokes aside, the value of clear communication has been on my mind this week.

Five percent of the population (or about 430 million people) experience hearing impairment.
If you’re thinking of launching a course, or putting videos on your website, think seriously about creating captions.
Captions are the words that appear on screen when someone speaks. You’ll hear people call them ‘subtitles’, but that’s technically not the same thing. When I developed my first course I had to create and upload all the captions myself. I used Rev which was ok.
Speech to text AI software is still not great at converting speech with a non-American accent. Have you tried watching Australian YouTubers with the captions on? It’s hilarious.
If you’re creating a course, I recommend you write the script first rather than hit ‘record’ and think “I’ll get it transcribed later”.
If you want to get videos transcribed later, then just set aside some of your budget to pay an actual human to do it. Thinking you’ll save money by using a machine won’t give you good results. That’s been my experience anyway. Huge waste of time!
There are other reasons why captions for your videos is important. What about people whose first language isn’t English?
I have students from 40 countries who take my courses. They learn in 12 languages other than English, which is kind of amazing.
Having clear, crisp audio and clear captions means that translation programs will work much better. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but so far my average rating still stays in the 4.5-4.8 out of 5 range.
There’s also a huge percentage of people who prefer to learn with the sound off. If your target audience is parents, then personally, I think captions is non-negotiable – for courses, any videos and your social media videos.
What might seem like a slight inconvenience could actually be life changing for someone else.
Send me your favourite misheard song lyrics and funny things children have said 🙂


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