Pop quiz time: Which of the following statements is NOT an accurate quote from His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama:
- “Love is the absence of judgement.”
- “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
- “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
- “Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.”
- “Just F@!# it!”
If you selected quote number five, you win. Give yourself a cookie!
However, students at Brown University of Rhode Island who rely on closed captioning might have come away with a different impression of the spiritual leader, after an error in transcription for his speech there last week. According to the Brown Daily Herald, after delivering a speech about the importance of peace and breaking the cycle of violence, the Dalai Lama “turned to humour again in his conclusion, urging the audience to spend their time thinking and discussing — or, if they had been unaffected by his words, “just forget.”
Unfortunately, perhaps due to his accent, the person transcribing the speech misheard that last bit, typing it instead as “just f@#! it.”
Obviously, when transcribing videos for closed-captioning, it’s important to pay close attention to what you’re hearing. especially when the speaker has an accent or speaks another language. While amusing, this incident also underscores the importance of using a reputable company for captioning and carefully proofreading transcriptions before publishing them.
Of course, this was a live video, so there wasn’t a chance to proofread. And we should spare some sympathy for the transcriber, as apparently he’s not the only one who misheard. According to NBCNews:
“Some in the audience also believed the Dalai Lama, who has a strong accent, had used a profane phrase. Questions have arisen previously over the same comment in other venues.”