SAP button

Perhaps I’m the only one who’s bored enough to think about stuff like this, but recently I’ve wondered why the button to change English speech on your TV to Spanish is called the “SAP” button. Why isn’t is SPA, the order of the letters in both the words Spanish and Espanol?

“Give a man a match and he’ll be warm for an hour… Set him on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.”

“spanish- [or secondary-] audio program” ?

Because SAP doesn’t stand for “Spanish.” It stands for “Second Audio Program.”

I can’t stand it, I have to add something. The SAP, while commonly used to add a spanish dub to the program, is not the only use for it. If you get C-Span, they use SAP as a NPR type function.

The precise term is “Secondary Audio Program”. You can’t imagine what a hastle this little option was when it first came out. I was a cable TV service tech at the time. People would accuse us of sending the wrong programing to their house. Finally, most TV manufacturers stopped making it a one button feature on remote controls. That and consumer education about the feature’s existence helped cut down on these calls.

Spanish isn’t the only language that can be found on the SAP. In the LA market there was a channel that showed Vietnamese programs, dubbed in Chinese, with Korean subtitles, and a Japanese SAP! You also heard really weird stuff that had nothing to do with the video portion of the program, like the BBC World News and NOA weather bullitans.

Our local PBS station has the National Weather Service on SAP. They also have descriptive audio for some shows – the announcer describes what is going on for those whe can’t see it.