Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Books in Translation

By: 
Jayadvaita Swami

 

Since the BBT now publishes Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books in nearly ninety languages, you might be interested to know what Śrīla Prabhupāda said about the editing of his non-English books. It is worth noting, perhaps, that the non-English books are translated from the English ones. If the English ones have errors, the non-English ones are likely to repeat them.

As with English, Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted his books published to a high standard in other languages too. As he wrote to Jaya Govinda Dāsa on 3 Feb 1970 concerning French and German: 
. . . you must see that all work is thoroughly correct by mutual checking so that errors of spelling and grammar will not appear in the printing. 
Nor should philosophical mistakes be allowed to appear. As Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote to Tamāl Kṛṣṇa Gosvāmī and Gurudāsa (23 August 1971):  
Regarding the Bengali translation by S. Ganguli, it is almost perfect; 90%. But 10% incorrect. . . He is a new man. Therefore there are little discrepancies with our thoughts. Besides that there are some mistakes in spelling as Sanskrit verses. . . . Even it is 99% all right, still that 1% must be corrected. 
To Haṁsadūta Dāsa (20 January 1972), Śrīla Prabhupāda gave the same message: 
It is not that we may present anything crude translation and that is acceptable. No, even though the transcendental subject matter of Vedic literature is still spiritually potent despite the crudest translation, still, because we have got facility to make it perfect, that is our philosophy. When I translated Srimad-Bhagavatam I had not the facility so you may notice grammatical discrepancies. But because Mandali Bhadra is now Head of the translating department you have got all facility to translate our books in perfect German language.
Both in English and in the other languages of the world, Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted his editors and publishers to make sure that BBT books would be philosophically faithful and grammatically and linguistically sound.