May 14, 2013 CANADA (SUN) The Sampradaya Sun recently conducted an interview with Visnu Murti das from Vanipedia, asking a series of questions about the project. His replies will undoubtedly inspire our readers.
[Please also see the update article of July 21, 2013: Uniting Srila Prabhupada's Multi-lingual Family]
Sun Staff: Can you please tell us a little about this new project that you are working on in Vanipedia?
Visnu Murti: The multi-language subtitle project "Prabhupada Speaks" is really a dynamic way to feel the presence of Srila Prabhupada. We can hear him, see him and also offer some direct service to him by preparing his words to be understood by people of all languages.
Our goal is to eradicate the barrier of people not being able to hear Srila Prabhupada because they do not speak English. As we are using YouTube as our platform of presentation, the possibilities of distribution are large. Srila Prabhupada's books have been distributed on mass scale for many years, but very few people have directly heard Srila Prabhupada's voice. This multi-language subtitle project is aimed at mass-distributing Srila Prabhupada's voice to the world. As devotees, we understand the importance of "hearing". There is no better person to hear from than Srila Prabhupada.
SS: How do you anticipate devotees using this repository?
VM: Well, in 1970, just after the GBC was newly formed, they encountered their first challenge. At that time Srila Prabhupada wrote to one of the GBCs: "My oral instruction as well as my books are all at your service. Now you GBC consult them and get clear and strong idea, then there will be no disturbance. Disturbance is caused by ignorance; where there is no ignorance, there is no disturbance." The words of Srila Prabhupada are there for all of us to destroy the ignorance that is within and around us. Srila Prabhupada gives us the answers to qualify ourselves to become his competent followers to be able to fully live, share and defend his teachings. Thus a repository of Srila Prabhupada's words in such a publicly accessible format as YouTube will surely help the devotees to feel sheltered by Srila Prabhupada's pure sound vibration.
Devotees can relish these videos for their own individual enlightenment, embed them into their own websites and blogs, use them for their seminars and lectures, and share the links with their friends and people who are new to Krishna consciousness. The added facility of having them available in all languages offers many possibilities. There are so many ways to "enjoy in servitude" the words of Srila Prabhupada. He consciously labored so hard to leave us the legacy of his Vani for all of us to enjoy generationally.
"You European, American students, you take full advantage of this Vedic culture. I am therefore so much laboring hard that before my leaving this body, I may give you some books who you can enjoy after my death. So utilize it. Utilize it. Read every śloka nicely, try to understand the meaning, discuss amongst yourselves."
SS: How do you choose the content of the clips?
VM: The devotees at Vanipedia have been thematically categorising the texts of Srila Prabhupada's teachings for the last 6 years within the Vaniquotes petal, so we have lots to choose from. As we have full faith in everything that Srila Prabhupada says it is not difficult to choose some nectarine statements. However, there are quite a few quotes that we want to include in this series but cannot, as the Bhaktivedanta Archives have yet to release the audio.
SS: Can devotees suggest their favourite quotes as well?
VM: Oh yes, we will be very happy to upload the favourite quotes of any devotee.
SS: Can you explain a little how you prepare a video?
We start by creating an audio clip of a lecture or conversation from a Vaniquotes page and then we make a video of Srila Prabhupada's photos, give it a short title, and create the English subtitles. The video is then uploaded to Dotsub.com, a subtitling website that allows translators to easily create subtitles in their own languages. Dotsub automatically syncs these subtitles to our Vanimedia YouTube channel.
SS: How many clips will you make?
VM: Vanipedia is committed to make at least 1,080 clips. The clips are from 1 to 10 minutes long. We can imagine the power of delivery to have such a large repository of Srila Prabhupada's words in one place, available in multiple languages. We plan to have all of the 1,080 clips up by Srila Prabhupada's Vyasa Puja in 2014. These clips will have the English subtitles prepared by a core team. The real victory though, will be to have them all translated into 50+ languages by devotees around the world by the same time. Actually, this is not so difficult to do as before our official launch there are already committed devotees from Belgium, Bengal, Bulgaria, Czech, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Russia who are translating regularly. As we prepare them in English they translate them. Already there are over 50 videos on Dotsub and YouTube and as the translating teams grow the subtitling can go really fast.
SS: Why have you decided to have only short clips and not the full classes of Srila Prabhupada?
VM: That's a good question. You know, it is not easy to have people on the Internet listen to a lecture of 45 to 60 minutes, so we decided to make short clips which are much more in line with how content is being shared on the web these days. In 4 or 5 minutes, Srila Prabhupada already delivers so much and over time, some people will surely become attracted to hear the full classes of Srila Prabhupada and they will also be able to do this in Vanimedia. If this short clip project is a success, then we can also translate the full lectures as well.
SS: How long does it take to translate the subtitles for one clip?
VM: Very quick, in only ½ an hour to an hour a video can be subtitled. The process is really simple and sublime. It is simple because of the technology used, and sublime because we are subtitling Srila Prabhupada's words.
SS: So how do people get engaged?
VM: If someone wants to do this vaniseva it is easy. This link explains the project and inside the link is the step-by-step process for using Dotsub.