Guidelines for Translations

Working as a team
The flow of teamwork as follows:

1. The coordinator assigns a video for which the English team has already made the English subtitles (having a video assigned is the preferred way for many translators, but the translator can also email to check if a specific video is available for translation if they find a video which strongly touches their heart).

2. The translator translates from the English captions into their language (see below for details). This simplifies the role of the translator as their work is based on already proofread English subtitles and careful attention has been paid to the synchronisation, reading rate and smooth flow of the captions. These are the steps of the translation process:
  • Translate all the captions
  • Watch the video with the sound turned off and make any adjustments to sync timing which translation may require (e.g. to reflect changes in word order in translation)
  • Read through all the captions with the video turned off to check the flow of the language and grammar (and correct any mistakes)
  • When all checks are complete, the translator should email the Amara link to the coordinator. Please note that we do our best to complete assignments within 2 weeks. If this is not possible, the translator lets their coordinator know.
3. The coordinator assigns a proofreader.
4. When the video has been proofread, the proofreader emails the file with subtitles to the coordinator for upload to the Moojiji channel (or also the YouTube language channel for the teams that are uploading this way).

Communication in the team
The translator and the proofreader can contact the coordinator regarding unclear or challenging matters. This can be done via emails or a Skype/Google Hangouts/Zoom meeting.

It is also recommended for the language teams to meet regularly, on a monthly basis or even more often, and see what arises within the team. These meetings bring us together as a sangha and are immensely powerful in promoting harmonious energies within the team and clearing up any misunderstandings which might arise in sharing this seva. Many of us experienced the power of sangha field when following Guruji's pointings. Also in seva beings join together to work on tasks and form teams. We are encouraged to work as a team even on small projects when we are translating only a few sentences.

Karma yoga and seva are our opportunity to apply and test the understanding gained in Satsang. It's the coming together of the bhakti and jnana aspect, where they are expressed in action - we work on tasks together, uniting our energies, resolving differences and misunderstandings through communication, learning to discern the truth from the untrue, developing wisdom.

When we work, we work from the heart, tuning into Guruji’s and Sangha energy. This can be done by chanting Om three times to harmonise our energy, chanting the Mooji mantra to tune into Guruji's presence.

The accuracy of translation
We aim to convey the meaning and feeling of Guruji's pointings to the beings who read the subtitles as accurately as possible. It is important that we don't add our own interpretations. Staying in the Heart with the translation gives the reader the best opportunity to dive into the pointings.

A glossary of agreed translations of key terms used by Guruji is available in many languages. Please make sure you use the agreed translation by referring to the glossary for your language as you translate. If you are not sure how to translate a specific word or phrase which is not in the glossary, please check with your coordinator.  The agreed translation of that word or phrase might then be added to the glossary.

There might be places where adding words which are not spoken makes the pointing easier to understand, especially in cases of incomplete grammatical structures. In such case, you can add the necessary words. If you are unsure, you can just indicate this in the translation and leave for the proofreader to see if it's necessary.

We ask you not just to translate word by word literally. Instead, use the richness of your language to convey the meaning and fragrance of Guruji's words with accuracy. You can omit unnecessary words and sounds (filler phrases, like 'somehow' or 'you see?'). Including only the essential words make the subtitles easier to read and understand. Wherever possible, you can express the pointings in fewer words, so the reading rate is lower, and the subtitle stays on the screen longer. This way the reader has more time to read and digest the pointing. Based on the experience of the English subtitles team, the pace of captions should be as slow as possible, to invite a calm feeling of contemplation.
Reviewing the videos as many times as necessary and hearing the pointings over and over allows us to digest the pointings more fully and convey their essence more accurately.

Guruji said a few times that each being in Satsang who speaks at least two languages should have an experience of translating his pointings because this is a very powerful way of absorbing and digesting them that deepens our understanding of the pointings. When we translate, we have to let the pointings touch our heart deeply so they can come out in a way that can be understood in the language we are translating into.

As defined in the Guidelines for Sri Mooji’s English Captions, conveying the meaning and fragrance of Guruji's words in such a way that they are as easy to read, understand and digest as possible takes priority over all other ‘rules’. The English captions team is the first one to work on the videos and break up the pointings into captions and synchronise them in a way which facilitates this. It gives the language teams a strong base to work with which they can let guide the translation. Of course, necessary adjustments to captions, grammar and synchronisation can be made to respect the individuality of each language and the flow of the specific translation.

Quality of language
We are asked not to compromise when it comes to the quality of language. We represent Guruji and Monte Sahaja, and it is their essence that is carried in our work and introduced to the beings who read the subtitles. It is important that the subtitles are published without errors in spelling, punctuation and basic grammar. For those who struggle to achieve this, a different type of seva might be more suitable.
The English captions team works systematically to create high-quality captions and basing the subtitle translation on them aid the quality of language.

English captions style
The current style of the English captions has been defined by the English subtitles team taking into consideration the feedback of language teams.
  • It aims for a maximum reading rate of 15 characters per second for each caption.
  • It aims for one line of text per caption, but two lines are acceptable.
  • It allows up to 50 characters on 1 line, with a total of 60 characters per caption (rarely up to 72 to retain the grammatical unit).
 A caption should include the whole clause, or sentence preferably, that a speaker says so that while the actual words are spoken, the one who watches is able to read the translation on screen. If the reader gets the meaning in a glance, s/he has the opportunity to look directly at Mooji as he speaks and listen to the English words.

Wherever possible, each sentence and the grammatical unit are kept intact within a caption. Ideally, the meaning of each caption should be able to be understood on its own, without the reader having to remember the content of the previous caption.

One caption of up to 60 characters works better than two or three very short captions, as it allows more opportunity to keep the grammatical unit intact. It is easier to read and absorb, and it relieves the mind from having to assemble different captions to make sense. If captions change less frequently the general feeling of subtitles is smoother, more quiet, with a slower pace. There is no upper limit to the time duration of a caption, but captions under 2 seconds duration are avoided.

Indicate who is speaking

Use square brackets to indicate the first time a new person speaks, and each time there is a change of speaker. As our subtitles are used by hearing-impaired sangha friends, it is helpful to indicate who is speaking whenever the camera angle doesn't make this obvious, as son users may not be able to hear the switch between speakers. 

A rule can be broken if it helps the flow of speech or in conveying the meaning simply and cleanly.

Grammar, punctuation and consistency
Guruji often uses unconventional grammar and punctuation in the written resources. This is deliberate and done to encourage deeper contemplation. One example of this is that when Mooji quotes himself, no quotation marks are used.  
·         Punctuation - although your language might have different rules for the use of punctuation, especially of quotation marks, we ask you to let yourself be guided by the way these are applied in the English captions wherever possible. If you find a place where such use of punctuation is inappropriate in your language, you can check with your coordinator. Please note that we use single quotation marks for technical reasons as double quotation marks (“) can cause problems in the content of uploaded subtitles files.
·         Capital letters - we are encouraged to use capitalisation sparingly. We can refer to the Mooji Media Publications Style Guide for advice about capitalisation of particular words and phrases. Please note that the same word might not be capitalised throughout, depending on the context in which the word is used. An example of such a word is 'This' which we would capitalise only if used about the absolute.
·         Short sentences - for ease of reading and understanding, Guruji prefers shorter sentences. Just be careful not to divide a long sentence into several sentences if this would result in changing the meaning of Guruji's words.
·         Pronoun Consistency - a specific example of grammar correction is pronoun consistency. For example, mostly when telling stories, Mooji often switches from 'he' or 'she' to 'they'. It is desired to use consistent pronouns (singular or plural as appropriate) instead of following the spoken word exactly, as this aids understanding.
·         Full grammar structures - you can add words, change word order, etc. if it helps the flow of the speech.

You can check with your coordinator if you would like some advice on common grammatical errors to avoid.

Adjustments to subtitles
Guruji sometimes reminds us that the translation should be more precise in feeling than in words. Although we recommend to let yourself be guided by the English captions wherever possible, feel free to make adjustments that respect the individuality of your language and flow of the subtitles. As long as you don't compromise on the quality of language, you are free to express the pointings in a way that you feel reaches the reader in the most simple and clear way.

The adjustments can be mostly made in the final stage and can include grammar and synchronisation adjustments. For example, where the text in the translation is longer than the English caption, you can move the end of the caption to the right. It is also encouraged to write the Sanskrit words in a way which resonates with your language.

If clarification regarding adjustments specific to your language is necessary, you can check with your coordinator. 

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