Tibetan Language

Interested in learning Tibetan or deepening your existing Tibetan language skills? Below is a set of resources to support you. We offer two tracks: modern/colloqiual Tibetan for those who plan on traveling or spending a longer period of time in India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Tibet; and classical written Tibetan for study and practice.

TIBETAN BUDDHISM  |  ZEN BUDDHISM  |  GENERAL BUDDHISM

BOOKS ON CLASSICAL AND MODERN TIBETAN

ON TRANSLATING TIBETAN

Translating Buddhism from Tibetan
with Sarah Harding and Larry Mermelstein

In our second On Translation video series cosponsored with the Tsadra Foundation, we are pleased to share this recording of Sarah Harding (Naropa University and the Tsadra Foundation) & Larry Mermelstein (Nālandā Translation Committee).

This session is for any student, practitioner, or translator of Tibetan Buddhism and is an opportunity to enter the world of translators of the Buddhadharma with two of the most experienced Tibetan translators. Most people encounter the Buddhist teachings through translations of texts, so like it or not, the translator is indispensible. However, translators are not always appreciated and many debates about style and approach still rage on. Students and practitioners engaging in the Tibetan language will be especially interested in this dialogue with Sarah and Larry as they discuss their lives as full-time translators and address three critical topics: literal versus creative translation (or “dharmanese” versus idiomatic); group translation under a lama or in relative isolation; target audience: restricted or scholarly translations.

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STUDY & LISTEN

READER'S GUIDE

How to Start (or Perfect) Tibetan

Interested in learning Tibetan or deepening your existing Tibetan language skills? Below is a guide to help you choose the right resources for your needs. We offer two tracks: one for those who plan on traveling or spending a longer period of time in India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Tibet; and another for those who are focused on classical written Tibetan for academic or practice purposes.

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WORKSHOPS

Translating The Way of the Bodhisattva

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An insider's view of translating one of the most important texts we have.  Padmakara Translation Group's Wulstan Fletcher discusses the text with University of Colorado professor Holly Gayleyfocusing on the translation of the text itself and how a master translator approaches such a daunting and challenging masterpiece. With a rich background of language expertise, deep knowledge of both Buddhist traditions and Western religion, and, most importantly, extensive involvement in Buddhist practice, Wulstan weaves his own experiences as a translator in with his interaction with the Bodhicharyavatara, specifically. They also discuss issues related to translating classical Sanskrit texts into Tibetan, by detailing the challenges of style, word choice, and considerations of audience—all while referencing different translations (Wallace, Crosby/Skilton, Batchelor, Eliot) to demonstrate how certain choices were made. Wulstan will share how the Padmakara Translation Group used Khenpo Kunpel’s commentary to inform their translation and discusses the complexities of presenting the text in English in a way that elevates the text rather than diminishes it.

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EVENTS & COURSES

ARTICLES

TIBETAN LANGUAGE ARTICLES FROM THE SNOW LION NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE