Harry Potter and the Overlooked Marathi

Those sneaky publishers over at Manjul pulled a fast one and published a brand new authorized translation of Philosopher’s Stone in Marathi under the radar in 2018! It came to my attention when @mcallister_alaskagrown pointed out an inconsistency between two Marathi editions that he noticed while inspecting them in response to an inquiry from @theharrypotterspecialist.

I guess to be fair, I have to concede that it is kind of obvious if you speak Marathi. This new addition to the cover right above J. K. Rowling’s name rendered in the Devanagari script says “improved edition”.

सुधारित आवृत्ति
sudhārita āvr̥tti
improved (new) edition

And on the copyright page, you’ll find the following tidbit:

मंजूषा आमडेकर यांच्याकडून नव्याने अनुवादित प्रस्तुत चौथी आवृत्ती 2018 साली प्रकाशित
Man̄jūṣā āmaḍēkara yān̄cyākaḍūna navyānē anuvādita prastuta cauthī āvr̥ttī 2018 sālī prakāśita
This fourth edition, newly translated by Manjusha Amdekar, published in 2018

Certainly this highlights a serious blind spot for enthusiasts like myself collecting books in languages that they don’t speak or read. We rely on non-linguistic cues to focus our attention—and here I still take umbrage with Manjul. This new translation is on their website of course—a website that I monitor for changes—and there is nothing to indicate that they’ve made any changes to the book! They treat this brand new, completely different translation, like it’s the same publication both in the front matter and on their site. Same ISBN, same “first published in 2004” and they’ve never listed translators on their site. Manjul also doesn’t distinguish between printings and editions—the first translation had three printings in 2004, 2006 and 2010. The “4th” here is a continuation of that numbering.

Part of me wonders if there isn’t a “rights” consideration at play here. I have no evidence to support this suspicion—it’s pure speculation—but I wonder if publishing a new translation might have demanded opening up their agreement with the Blair Partnership and they wanted to avoid having to do that and so obscured that fact.

Interestingly, it was a misprint on the copyright page of the third print that piqued @mcallister_alaskagrown’s interest. Without that mistake, possibly we never would have realized:

Translation by Bal Udhwareshe

The translator doesn’t appear on the copyright page at all in the first two printings. This third print added the translator but mistakenly added Manjusha Amdekar—the translator of the new edition. Clearly the mistake was discovered late in the process and they corrected it with a sticker—perhaps there are even mistakenly attributed editions in the wild.

It makes one wonder if Amdekar was already working (or planning) on a translation of PS when the third printing was published and that that may have been the source of the confusion; however, I think that is unlikely. The new translation came out in 2018—at years after this reprint came out 2010. At that point, Amdekar’s translation of COS and GOF had been published. Possibly they were already finished OTP and were working on HBP, both of which came out in 2011. I think whomever edited the copyright page for the PS reprint, simply thought Amdekar had translated them all.

Interestingly, this correction is the only place in all of the publications where either translator’s name appears in Latin text. The translator doesn’t appear on the copyright page of the first or second printings at all (only on the title page) and although the copyright pages of the first through third printings (the first translation) are almost completely English, the printings of the new translation—I’ve seen the fourth (2018) and fifth (2021) thus far—have copyright pages that are almost entirely in Marathi.

Collectors needing to pick up the older translation are likely to have some challenges figuring out which is which since the ISBN will be of no help and because stock cover images seem to abound. 2018 and later will be new, so before that should be the old one. Presumably, the last old-translation print was 2010, but I’ve also heard people already reporting used books available that state 2013 or 2014 publishing dates. Until we see the copyright pages of those, it’s hard to know what’s up there!

Fortunately the covers do have some distinct differences—namely the addition of text around J.K.’s name at the bottom. With = new; without = old. More photos can be found in The List records linked below.


Title: हॅरी पॉटर आणि परीस
Transliteration: haêrī pôṭar āṇi parīs
ISBN: 978-81-86775-97-4
Published: 2004


Title: हॅरी पॉटर आणि परीस
Transliteration: haêrī pôṭar āṇi parīs
ISBN: 978-81-86775-97-4
Published: 2018

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