Translation Team

Working with Each Other on Translations

Dear Devotees,

My praṇāma to you. Jaya Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga.

For some years now, I have wanted to share with others something of my experience of working on Śrīla Gurudeva’s publications, but now that I have been asked to do so, I am not sure where to start.


I think all of us who work on Śrīla Gurudeva’s books feel honoured, and at the same time, inadequate. After all, we are conditioned souls, and the task of representing his transcendental message is beyond our capacity. But Śrīla Gurudeva’s strong order to publish his books is there. And in his working in tandem with the devotees assisting him in his Hindi publications, he demonstrated that it is to be done as a team. This teamwork is thus integral to the English GVP editorial policy (established in 2008), which I will now summarize in a paragraph:

While working on a project, no one sevaka ever claims that their input is final, and the manuscript, divided into chapters, passes from the translation fidelity checker to editor and back again, sometimes twenty or more times, as questions are answered, problems solved, ambiguities clarified, etc. Finally, it is sent to the proofreaders, layout persons, and post-layout proofreaders. Devotees work honestly, in accordance with their respective capacities. At any stage, someone can ask for a point of siddhānta to be checked or clarified. A book only goes to press when all who work on it are satisfied or at least willing to acquiesce to group decision.

A really wonderful quality of all of Śrīla Gurudeva’s GVP publication sevakas is that they respect and cherish the project they are working on. Fidelity checker, translator, editor, proofreader, layout person, and designer – each one works with maximum care and goes to any extent to serve the publication to the best of their capacity.

Another amazing quality of the sevakas is that they are enlivened by another’s adjustment to their work if it better represents Śrīla Gurudeva’s message. If a person feels discomfort because his or her false ego has been pinched, he/she neglects that for the greater good.

On several occasions, our printers in Delhi have commented that they themselves are enlivened by the enthusiasm of the GVP sevakas and that is why they accommodate our sometimes frantic deadlines, personally come to Vṛndāvana to meet with us, adjust their schedule for us, and so forth. They said they rarely come across such enthusiasm. Naturally, this has warmed my heart, but I was also surprised. I always assumed everyone was passionate about the production of a book they had worked on. Śrīla Gurudeva has no doubt mercifully injected his sevakas with this zeal, in order to spread Mahāprabhu’s message across the globe.

None of us will claim that a book is one hundred percent perfect, but we can certainly claim that as a team, we have done our best to present Śrīla Gurudeva’s Hindi work.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those devotees who never cease to encourage and support the endeavors of the publication sevakas.

Aspiring to serve Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas,

Vaijayantī-mālā dāsī