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A Compilation of Writings about the Hidden Words
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Arts and Architecture
Arts and Crafts
Baha'i Burial
Baha'i Education
Baha'i Elections
Baha'i Meetings
Baha'i Scholarship Statements from the World Centre
Bahá'í Funds and Contributions
Bahá'í Holy Places at the World Centre
Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster and Related Subjects
Centres of Baha'i Learning
Chaste and Holy Life, A
Compilation on the Arts
Consent of Parents to Marriage, The
Conservation of the Earth's Resources
Consultation
Covenant
Crisis and Victory
Criticism extracts from letters written on behalf of the Guardian to individual believers
Cultural Diversity in the Age of Maturity
Days of Remembrance
Defining a Minority for the Purpose of Resolving a Tie for Ninth Place in a Bahá'í Election
Devotional Gatherings, Selected Guidance concerning
Divorce
Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union
Economics, Agriculture, and Related Subjects
Electronic Communication with Covenant-breakers
Establishment of The Universal House of Justice
Europe
Excellence in all Things
Extracts Concerning the Resurrection
Extracts from Four Tablets by Abdu'l-Bahá Concerning the Question of Inheritance
Extracts on the Old and New Testaments
Family Life
Fire and Light Excerpts from the Bahá'í Sacred Writings
Functions and Importance of the Haziratu'l-Quds
Germany, France, Italy, and Switzerland
Guidance Regarding Bahá'í Archives
Guidance to Poets
Guidelines for Teaching
Health, Healing, and Nutrition
Holocaust and the Greater Plan of God, The
Homosexuality
Humor and Laughter
Huqúqu'lláh
Importance of collecting and safeguarding the Bahá'í writings
Importance of Deepening Our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith
Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting
Importance of Prayer, Meditation, and the Devotional Attitude
Importance of the Arts in Promoting the Faith
Islands of the North Sea
Islands of the South Pacific
Issues Concerning Community Functioning
Issues Related to the Study of the Bahá'í Faith
Living the Life
Local Spiritual Assemblies
Music
National Convention
National Spiritual Assembly
Nature
Nineteen Day Feast
Non-association with Covenant-breakers
Obligatory Prayer, Exemption from
On the Naming of Babies
Opposition
Peace
Photographs of Bahá'u'lláh
Power of Divine Assistance, The
Preserving Baha'i Marriages
Professions
Prohibition on Drinking Alcohol
Prominent People
Promoting Entry by Troops
Psychology and Knowledge of Self
Redistribution of Wealth
Removal of Administative Rights
Representation of the Manifestations of God and the Master in Portraits, Photographs, and Dramatic Presentations
Reproduction and other Biological Subjects compilation
Reviewing Practice and Functions of Literature Review
Sanctity and Nature of Bahá'í Elections, The
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Science and Technology
Scriptures of Previous Dispensations
Service in Bahá'í Temples
Significance of the Formative Age of Our Faith
Social and Economic Development
Socrates
Studying the Writings of the Guardian
Teaching Among Aboriginal and Indigenous People
Teaching The Masses
The Local Spiritual Assembly
Traditional African Culture, Aspects of
Translation and provisional translations
Translation, brief compilation on
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Unlocking the Power of Action
Use of Radio and Television in Teaching, The
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Writers and Writing
Writings of Covenant-breakers and other Enemies of the Faith
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Baha'i Scriptures Part 1
Baha'i Scriptures Part 2
Baha'i Scriptures Part 3
Baha'i Scriptures Part 4
Baha'i Scriptures Part 5
Baha'i World Faith Part 1
Baha'i World Faith Part 2
Baha'i World Faith Part 3
Bahiyyih Khanum
Fire and Light
Guidance for Baha'i Radio
Handmaidens of God - Baha'i Prayers for Women
Japan Will Turn Ablaze
Lights of Guidance Part 1
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Compilations : Translation, brief compilation on
Translation, brief compilation on
by Universal House of Justice
To: Universal House of Justice
Date: 3 August 1999
From: Research Department
Compilations on Translation

The Research Department has studied the request from Mr. _____ in his email message of 17 April 1999 to the Bahá'í World Centre. He states that, in discussions with Bahá'ís both in person and on the Internet, he has noticed "a wide variety of views on the nature of translations of the Writings, including such issues as whether the Guardian's English translations incorporate infallible interpretations and the status of provisional translations". He asks for a compilation, preferably in electronic format, of statements from the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice on the subject of translating the Writings. The following is our response.

As Mr. _____ is doubtless well aware, the subject of translation of the Holy Writings is a very complex one. From time to time the Research Department has prepared a compilation in response to particular questions or concerns of individuals and institutions but there is, at present, no one compilation that covers all aspects of the translation process and the policies and procedures relating to it.

The Translations of Shoghi Effendi

Regarding the Guardian's English translations, we have attached a compilation prepared earlier entitled "Selected Extracts from Letters written on Behalf of Shoghi Effendi and by or on Behalf of the Universal House of Justice on Translation". These extracts make frequent reference to principles which infused Shoghi Effendi's translations. Regarding whether his translations are "infallible", it seems to us that this issue is addressed in extract [2] of the compilation and in the following statements from letters to individuals written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice, respectively:

Concerning the different translations of the Words: It is surely the original text that should never be changed. The translations will continue to vary as more and better translations are made. Shoghi Effendi does not consider even his own translations as final, how much more translations made in the early days of the Cause in the West when no competent translators existed.

(14 August 1930)

As regards English, the beloved Guardian's translations are obviously the most authentic and should be used. If for some particular reason, a Bahá'í author, when quoting a passage of the Sacred Text which has been rendered into English by the Guardian, wishes to use a translation other than that made by the beloved Guardian, his request may be referred to the Universal House of Justice. Passages from the Sacred Text not translated by Shoghi Effendi, but already in English and published with approval, may be used. If an author wishes to make his own translation of a passage not already translated by Shoghi Effendi, the new translation may be submitted to the Universal House of Justice for approval.

(3 November 1996)
Status of Provisional Translations

The Research Department is not aware of any compilations on the subject of provisional translations. However, this subject has been under study by the Universal House of Justice, and some new policies have recently been announced. We have attached a copy of Appendix II: "Policies Governing Authorized and Provisional Translations of the Bahá'í Holy Writings into English and their Publication", 4 July 1999. [online here]

Universal House of Justice Research Department

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