Srila Prabhupada's Audio to Text Fidelity Project

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Introduction

On April the 19th 2014, Vanipedia launched the Śrīla Prabhupāda's Audio to Text Fidelity Project to proofread all the lectures & conversations of Śrīla Prabhupāda.

We invite devotees to participate in this project to bring the transcriptions of Śrīla Prabhupāda's audio to their pristine condition.

Actually from 1966 to 1977 there are approximately 4,000 files to be proofread so it is not that much to go through - approximately 1500 hours of real time listening - so, adding on the time it takes for the proofreader to make corrections and then the correcting in Vanisource we estimate a maximum of 4,000 hours of vaniseva.

Here are some variables of the time frame that we could have them finished by;

  • 100 devotees performing an average of only 5 hours of vaniseva a week could complete them in 8 weeks.
  • 50 devotees performing an average of only 5 hours of vaniseva a week could complete them in 16 weeks.
  • 20 devotees performing an average of only 5 hours of vaniseva a week could complete them in 40 weeks.
  • 10 devotees performing an average of only 5 hours of vaniseva a week could complete them in 80 weeks.

If 10 to 100 devotees can offer only 5 hours a week of attentively hearing and offering service to Srila Prabhupada's divine audio instructions then, what has been waiting for decades to be done, can now be completed in only 8 to 80 weeks. Just see the power of collaboration. This is why Vaniedia loves collaborating with devotees. It is so ecstatic to perform services in this way. Together we can create clean polished pearls of Śrīla Prabhupāda's words in text form.

This final checking of Śrīla Prabhupāda's audio is now possible as the Bhaktivedanta Archives has started to release the full unedited audio files (1975, 1976 & 1977 are available & 1974 is planned for November 2014) and the Archives plan to have all the unedited audio released by February 2026. Vanipedia is now taking up the service of proofreading the text. We can only hope that we will be able to finish them all timely.

Once we have checked all of the lectures and conversations we will have;

  • A very transparent presentation of Śrīla Prabhupāda's audio teachings in text form.
  • The texts ready for printing in hard copy - Starting in 1988 and going up to 1993 the first edition of all of Śrīla Prabhupāda's lectures & conversations totaling 37 softbound books and 25 hardbound books were printed in hard copy. These books are now out of print and since they were printed more audio has been found, thus with the extra audio and a better fidelity check we can all be transcendentally happy to see them once again (in the not too distant future) back in print.
  • The texts ready for translating in multi-languages.

All that is required to get involved is:- some desire, a little time, Microsoft Word and a very attentive ear. Basically you will be listening to a lecture of Śrīla Prabhupāda while reading the text, and correcting any mistakes you see. Microsoft Word has an excellent feature to track all the changes made to a document, so when you send us the file we can see exactly what changes you have made, verify them by listening ourselves, and then update our Vanisource pages with the corrections.

We are starting first with lectures from 1976. The following Google doc with multiple spreadsheets is being used to manage the project. It has the links to the lectures we want to proofread, and it is here we will track the progress of each lecture.

Audio-to-Text-Fidelity

Files Ready to Work With

1974
  • 266 Lectures in English
  • 57 Conversations in English
  • 106 Morning Walks in English
  • 6 Lectures and conversations in Bengali
  • 3 Lectures and conversations in Hindi
1975
  • 257 Lectures in English
  • 121 Conversations in English
  • 186 Morning Walks in English
  • 20 Lectures and conversations in Hindi
1976
  • 282 Lectures in English
  • 269 Conversations in English
  • 135 Morning Walks in English
  • 22 Lectures and conversations in Hindi
  • 2 Bengali lectures
1977
  • 29 Lectures in English
  • 342 Conversations in English
  • 15 Morning Walks in English
  • Lectures and conversations in Hindi still have to be identified and some have to be released by Bhaktivedanta Archives.

Progress Reports

  • Ασ οf 22nd July 2014 - 357 files have been proofread in 95 days by 23 devotees, that makes 3.76 files a day or 26.31 files a week
  • Ασ οf 18th August 2014 - Śrīla Prabhupāda's Vyasa Puja day - 444 files have been proofread in 122 days by 26 devotees, that makes 3.64 files a day or 25.48 files a week. A total of 3,894 edits and 3,404 missing words have been added into Vanisource and 124 extra words have been deleted from Vanisource.
  • As of 16th of September 2014, 30 devotees had participated to complete 510 of these files and 4,121 edits, 3,404 missing words were accepted and updated into Vanisource.
  • As of 5th March 2015 - Gaura Purnima day - 737 files have been proofread in 321 days by 34 devotees, that makes 2.3 files a day or 16.07 files a week. A total of 4,943 edits and 3,813 missing words have been added into Vanisource and 189 extra words have been deleted from Vanisource.

Participation

If you are interested to participate please email Rishab - [email protected] who is starting off as the first coordinator of this project. He will help you get up and running. Below you can already see a list of TO DOs.

If this project can take off as successfully as the Uniting Śrīla Prabhupāda's Mulit-lingual Family project then we can rest assured that these audio files will be proofread very quickly.

TO DO LIST and THINGS TO CHECK for Proofreaders

Common Editing Issues

  • Spelling - The standard here is American spelling.
  • Extra/missing words - Sometimes even several sentences are missing.
  • Punctuation - There are a couple common punctuation mistakes.

The first is extra spaces, for example when there are double quotation marks. " 'text' ". The spaces in this example should be deleted. Also there is sometimes extra spaces before commas, like this - "Bhakti-yoga ,".

The second is concerning ellipses, which is the three dots (...). In normal written English this is used only to show that something is missing from a quotation. But in transcriptions, where we have many incomplete sentences, we use this to show the end of an incomplete sentence. It is often used when Śrīla Prabhupāda starts saying a few words and then switches to a different sentence. When using this remember to capitalize the next word, which will be the start of a new sentence.

The mistake which is very commonly made is when ellipsis are followed immediately by a comma - "...," This does not make sense because the two parts contradict each other - one means the sentence is over; the other means the sentence is continuing. I change this to just a comma if I think it should remain as one sentence, or else I remove the comma and start a new sentence.

  • When you see (?) or (indistinct), this means the original transcriber could not understand. Try to listen to this a few times to hear what is there, and if you cannot understand make a comment at that point so we can listen.
  • Missing references - Whenever Śrīla Prabhupāda quotes something, especially from his own books, it should have the reference in brackets. If you find something quoted without a reference or with a (?) after the quote try to find where it is from, either through the Vedabase or Google. If you don't find it, leave a comment so we can look. Here are some examples of common references.
(SB 1.1.1) Srimad-Bhagavatam
(BG 1.1) Bhagavad-gita
(CC Adi 1.1) Caitanya-caritamrta
(Bs. 5.43) Bramha Samhita
(CB Antya-khaṇḍa 3.45) Caitanya Bhagavata
(Gurv-aṣṭaka 1) Gurvastaka Prayers
(Ṣaḍ-gosvāmy-aṣṭaka 1) Ṣaḍ-gosvāmy-aṣṭaka Prayers
(Brs 1.1.11) Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu
(Vedanta Sutra 1.1.1) Vedanta sutra
(NoI 1) Nectar of Instruction
(Īśo Invocation), (Īśo mantra 1) Isopanisad


  • Capitalization of pronouns referring to Krsna or Caitanya.
  • Paragraphing. Sometimes there are very long paragraphs that can be broken up where there is pause or change of subject in the middle.
  • If there is anything else you are unsure about, please explain it on a comment next to it. If you select some text and right click it, at the bottom of the menu should be the option to add a comment.

For the first few lectures you do we will also edit them, and send you back what we found and some feedback. After that we will just be checking your edits and not listen to the whole lecture.

Please contact Rishab by email - [email protected] or skype - rishab.hauter if you have any suggestions to improve or add to this list.

How to Download an Audio File

Usually listening to the lecture directly from the page is good enough, but sometimes when the file is very long or not so good quality it can be useful to download the file to have easier control over the playback.

We don't actually have a button to download the audio. What we have is only to play the audio on the page. Therefore you will need another program to download the audio once it starts playing. The easiest way to do this is by using a browser extension. There are many of these for both Firefox and Chrome which let you download any video or audio you are playing on a webpage.

Here are my recommendations:

  • Try http://www.downloadhelper.net/ for firefox,
  • or FVD downloader for Chrome,
  • or Internet Download Manager which is a program that works with all browsers.