ABC's Automated Transcripts of Speeches Are Hilariously Bad

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 29 2013 10:25 AM

ABC's Automated Transcript of Jimmy Carter's Speech: "Police Found a Dead Head"

"And they were elected to go let me. Police found a dead head. And we have found that white children had three nice brick building."

Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

ABC has your daily beat poetry fix with its automated transcript of former President Jimmy Carter's speech at the March on Washington's 50th anniversary yesterday. Just imagine Carter slowly making his way to the podium, somberly looking out over the sea of people gathered on the Mall, and letting loose a string of incomprehensible word salad.

Speaking about his time on the board of education in Georgia:

I suggested to the other members. Believe that that -- -- choose an accounting. They had never done this football.
And they were elected to go let me. Police found a dead head. And we have found that white children had three nice brick building.

On the injustice of Washington, D.C.'s lack of statehood rights:

-- the -- and more states -- stand your ground law well. I think we know -- -- -- would have reacted. -- people of the district of -- Colombian.
Still not had a close -- -- right. I think every well no I got decaying body reacted. -- -- -- 830 -- thousand.

Members of the King family who spoke received a similar treatment. In Bizarro World, Christine King Farris used her speech to remind single men about the perils of exoticizing people of the Far East:

Every day. Did you -- my skin care on that -- A century ago. Remain at the state meant -- unmarried men -- The beautiful Asian.
Public -- very fair freaked -- Well. -- Just fifth rather. And sifted -- it yet they ends tonight kidney month.

And Martin Luther King III's transcript may as well be an excerpt from "Howl":

-- on to say don't some questions how what is -- -- the positions they get speed. Did you ask in the division politic vanity yet in the position popular that something deep inside all options apps in the position rank. So we often talk about Santana we must take positions that are neither say nor popular.

Apparently, the ABC Transcript-O-Bot needs better calibration for southern accents (or human voices in general). To be fair, ABC offers this disclaimer below each: "This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate." (h/t Will Saletan)

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.


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