Although TV subtitles are primarily designed to facilitate the viewing experience for deaf people or those who are hard of hearing, research has revealed they are used by millions of viewers who have no hearing impairment. Apparently 7.5 million people who use TV subtitles, six million have no hearing loss. And the reason for this? Trying to keep up with plot twist and counter plot twist against the speed of dialogue delivery on TV today is usually impossible without using subtitles.

However, just as popular as reading the subtitles to keep up with the visual elements, is spotting the bleepers. Viewers are collecting examples of subtitling blunders from 24-hour news channels and sending them to various journals. And there are some pretty big bloopers at that. The vast majority of subtitling is pre-recorded, but when watching the news with subtitles it's evident that the live subtitler has an onerous task, as they struggle to keep up with fast talking newsreaders. And errors in subtitles to television news broadcasts are leaving viewers confused by referring to coughing planes and the Ed Miller Band. Although the hard-of-hearing, having worked out that the items are about aircraft which took off and the leader of the Labour Party, it is more baffling to read about stories involving the Office of Nursed All Statistics, rather than the Office of National Statistics.

Unlike pre-recorded shows for which scripts are dealt with well ahead of broadcast, live news needs to be subtitled simultaneously. This is done by speed typists using voice recognition software but human and machine error can creep in, often with highly embarrassing results.

Some other belters include the government "making holes for surgeons" instead of "helpful decisions" and a reference to Sir Liam Donaldson, the former chief medical officer, as "Silly and Admundsen". The phrase "principally chemical and biological weapons" was corrupted to the sinister "prince of chemical and bionicle weapons", and an item on the sale of millions of "puppies" was not actually about dog breeders but poppies and Remembrance Day.

However, even if you are broadcasting live, PowerPoint 2003 ensures that you can eliminate all your bloopers before your audience is ready to view your presentation. This is ideal, for example, if you need to create a web-based presentation; or for archiving a meeting so that presenters can review it later and hear comments made during the presentation; and even for self-running slide show presentations.

To create a PowerPoint 2003 narration, your computer must be equipped with a sound card, microphone, and speakers for you to record and hear a narration. You can record the narration before you run a presentation, or record it during the presentation and include audience comments in the recording. And if you don't want narration throughout the presentation, you can record comments on selected slides. When you're finished recording a narration, a sound icon appears on each slide where you've recorded. You can either click the icon to play the sound, or set up the sound to play automatically. Because voice narration takes precedence over other sounds, if you've inserted another sound to play automatically in the presentation, it gets overridden by the narration.

As you record, Microsoft PowerPoint records the amount of time you take on each slide. You can choose to save these slide timings with the narration, or you can set slide timings separately. Slide timings are especially useful if you want the presentation to run through automatically. You can turn them off when you don't want the presentation to use them.

You have a choice to either link or embed the narration. If you embed the narration, the narration sound file becomes part of the presentation and it travels with the presentation. However, embedding the narration results in a large file size. If you want the file size to be smaller, you can link the narration. The file is then stored where you specify on your hard drive and plays with the presentation. If you present the show on a different computer, you must carry the linked sound file with you and install it on that computer. A linked file will also play faster.

Because audience needs and computer equipment varies, consider accompanying your narration with notes. This benefits anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing or whose computer lacks a sound card. If you save the presentation as a Web page (.htm file), the notes will appear beneath each slide as it displays. If you save it as a presentation (.ppt) file, you can print out the notes and make them available to your audience.

Try not to rely on sound alone to convey important information. For example, if your Microsoft PowerPoint presentation contains audio, you can make text descriptions of the audio content available as part of the slide, in the notes pane. Making audio information available in an alternative form benefits users who don't have a sound card or who have sound turned off, or users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Something also to remember is that those of us who are hard of hearing often find any music in a presentation overpowering as it tends to block out any other commentary or voice over. Try to remember not to have these elements battling for attention in your presentations.