The need to open a spiritist group to pursue in-depth studies of Spiritism showed us rather soon that we lacked study materials in English.
As a result, a number of its founders and participating members combined their efforts and founded the Spiritist Alliance for Books (SAB), a project that brings together people from all over the world who are willing to volunteer in the effort of translating spiritist literature, originally written in other languages, into English thus furthering the dissemination of the Spiritist Doctrine in the English-speaking world.
At the time of the foundation of the Spiritist Group of New York (SGNY) on April 12, 2001, there were only a few books translated into English and available to the general public:
As one may readily see, not even the initial five books of the spiritist codification were available in English at that time, and having them translated was of utmost importance.
We then started to work on the translation of two books: Heaven and Hell, and Genesis. We found out-of-print English translations of both books and began to work on them and on the original French editions. Our main concern was to ensure a faithful translation of the French original, written and published by Allan Kardec in 1865 and 1868, respectively. To achieve that goal, we meticulously analyzed each paragraph from both the English and the French versions.
In the case of "Heaven and Hell," we decided to maintain the name of the original translator, Anna Blackwell, with the addition of "Revised by SAB," as the amount of changes and updates we introduced were not much significant; about 20% of the entire book. In the case of "Genesis," however, the new translation is that of SAB for significant changes and additions had to be made so that readers could rest assured that they would be able to enjoy an unabridged, pristine translation of the French version.
Of course, a project of such magnitude could only have been accomplished through the effort and dedication of tireless and dedicated workers.
In addition to those two projects, and during our work in other Spiritist Centers, we had already begun translating other books and supplementary materials into English. With the foundation of the Spiritist Alliance for Books, we had the opportunity of gathering together all those translations and make them ready for publication.
We still lack people to help us with translations for there are not many who actually find the time to contribute on a large scale, so any help we receive is welcome.
We are not necessarily the ones who choose the books to be translated. We have been working in association with the Brazilian Spiritist Federation (FEB) and the International Spiritist Council (ISC), and they tell us which books they consider to be a priority. Since we have a great interest in the translated books being published, we follow their instructions. We may also suggest titles for translation, in accordance to our needs.
Choosing a book is not an easy task because we have to deal with copyright rules. First of all, we lack trust from the publishers, who hold the copyrights of the books in Portuguese, and are the only ones who can grant us the rights for a translation. Of course, we are referring to serious-minded workers here, who are committed to preserving the pure essence of the doctrine of the spirits and are already well known in Brazil by the gravity of the work they already achieve abroad with regard to Spiritism. Initially, we started translating books without prior authorization from their respective publishers, in the hope that, once they were completed the publishers would ultimately grant us the rights to print them or even display an interest in publishing the books themselves; however, we no longer do that.
A second challenge for us in obtaining the consent of the publisher to translate books and commercialize them is the small target market, that is, the number of English-speaking followers of the doctrine, which is still very small. Publishers are not enthralled with the prospect of such an insignificant immediate return from the sale of translated books, particularly since publication costs in the USA are relatively higher than they are in Brazil.
We have a few individuals working on the translation of some spiritist materials as well as others on the translation of books. The latter requires more dedication and commitment. Unfortunately, it is easier to find individuals to proofread the translated books and materials than to do the translation itself. Our translations are always revised by a team of workers for both accuracy in relation to the text in its original language and grammatical correctness of the English language.
It depends on the number of workers, which we have already mentioned not to be to large. It may take years for a book to be translated and be ready for publication after several revisions.
We here make an appeal to all brothers and sisters of goodwill, to join and aid us, within each person’s possibilities, to make it possible for us to have more books translated. We urgently need translators, reviewers, and publishers. We particularly appeal to the latter, to those who are not concerned about receiving their rewards in the material plane, but would rather have the awareness of the fruits that they will be planting and the opportunities that they will create as they strive for the advancement of the understanding of humanity.
Jesus said "Love one another, that is the first commandment" and we need your love to motivate us; "Educate yourselves, this is the second," therefore, help us so we may be truthful to the responsibilities that we assumed when we were still in the spiritual world, when we committed ourselves to working for the dissemination of the Spiritist Doctrine by bringing the spiritist literature to to our brothers and sisters of foreign lands.
The answer is very simple, some copyright owners have given us the right to place the books in our website as electronic versions, whereas others have not. However, there are some books that are of public domain, which we can make available in our website.
We are currently working on the translation and publication of the following titles:
If you want to be part of this great initiative, please contact us.