What Are Provisional Translations?

On my Translations page, I have included a list of Baháʼí Writings which I have translated into English provisionally. In Baháʼí parlance, “provisional translations” refer to renderings of the Writings that have been produced by one or more translators (Baháʼí or not) in a personal capacity. These stand in contrast to “authorized translations,” which have undergone a rigorous vetting and editing process facilitated by the Universal House of Justice—the international governing body of the Baháʼí Faith—who then approves these translations for publication in Baháʼí texts.

I will reiterate here that, unless indicated otherwise, the translations of the Baháʼí Writings I have produced and featured on this website fall into the former category. In other words, they have not been authorized by any Baháʼí institution, nor do they possess any sort of official status. They are merely the products of an individual initiative, which I offer to the reader for his or her personal use and enjoyment.

In a memorandum from the Research Department at the Baháʼí World Center, entitled “Policies Governing Authorized and Provisional Translations of the Bahá’í Holy Writings into English and their Publication” and dated 4 July 1999, we read:

Individual believers [Baháʼís] are free to translate into English any of the Holy Writings for their own use. Such translations may also be issued electronically, and may be published in circulars or journals without review by anyone other than the editors of the publications, but they must, in all cases, be clearly labeled as “provisional translations” [source].

Out of respect for the aforementioned policy, if you wish to distribute my translations of the Baháʼí Writings in any way, I request that you please indicate clearly that they are provisional or unauthorized translations. The easiest way to observe this standard is to simply share the URL associated with the translation you wish to distribute, rather than selectively copying and pasting the text of the translation. This will ensure that my personal disclaimer, which I have attached as a prefatory note to every one of my translations of the Writings on this site, is retained and conveyed to the reader.