In terms of Sherab Zangpo's claims, for all I know they could very well be true- since I have not listened to his work I have no idea. His texts are of high quality from what I have seen (my strength is interpretation rather than written-and I still consider myself very much to be in training, but from what I do know his written work seems to be excellent).
Thank you. But I'm not really making claims, again the point was to give people who cared to advise me a better idea of my (perceived) level. It's not like I came here to brag. Thanks for the kudos. I still have a long way to go though.
However, there are many AMAZING translators working in India/Nepal and elsewhere in Asia. Off the top of my head I can think of Michelle Martin (translates for HH Karmapa and Gyaltsab Rinpoche among others), Ven.David Karma Chophel (HH Karmapa, Thrangu Rinpoche),Ven. Tenzin Namdak (in his 15th year of Geshe studies at Sera Je, translates for many Gelug lamas in S. Asia and Singapore), Claire Barde (Khandro-la among others), Ven. Lhundup Damcho (HH Karmapa, Tai Situ Rinpoche), Ven. Damchoe Wangmo (graduate of the nun Shedra attached to Namdroling, translates at the Palyul Centre in Nepal), Ven. Bob Miller/Losang Zopa (Khamtrul Rinpoche, Dzogchen Master) and several others.
The above are all fantastic and I have at least some idea of the quality because I have listened to them. If Sherab la is in the same league, I can only rejoice.
Thanks for mentioning those good translators, it's nice to show appreciation for them. However, this isn't really relevant to what I said. I didn't say that I was the best translator in Asia, I said I might be the best translator under the age of 32 (again, just as a way of giving a better idea of where I'm at), meaning that there are plenty of people older than me who are better, including many of the people you mentioned. My friend Ven. Bob Miller/Lozang Zopa is certainly one of them, he's 37 and has been studying for about 14-15 years, whereas I'm 31 and have only been studying for about 8. I believe all of those people you mentioned are significantly older than me, most of them in their late 30s at least. I really am not that familiar with any of their work, but given their studies I am sure they are quite good. I have my doubts about Claire Bard, but I may be wrong. The reason I say this is that I don't know any translators younger than me who are better. Actually there aren't many genuinely competent translators younger than me in general. In Tibetan-French or another language, maybe, but Tibetan-English, not that I know of. There is one guy from Rangjung Yeshe, Zach Beer, who is 1-2 weeks older than me and I think he is probably pretty good, but likely not as good in colloquial or literary, overall. So he is the closest contender. This whole thing seems rather silly and I do recognize the humor of making such statements, but again it was not meant to boast but to explain. As for being in the same league, I'd say at the least that I'm close, although most of the people you mentioned certainly have a better knowledge of Buddhist philosophy than me and are more experienced/older.
Another point is that, the skills necessary for being a truly excellent translator are actually quite hard to fulfill. And the standards for Tibetan translators are rather low, mainly due to the lack of opportunities for good study, and lack of wide-spread knowledge of what is really necessary. A lot of people think that if you can just read or speak Tibetan and know a little bit about Dharma that's enough. Not talking about the people you mentioned, but in general. I don't even think that I really fulfill some of the necessary qualities really, especially in terms of Buddhist philosophy. They include many aspects, such as fluency in colloquial, literary, and Dharma/classical Tibetan, a broad Dharma knowledge covering a lot of subjects and philosophy, the skills of translation itself, excellent English, public speaking skills for oral translators, writing skills for textual translators, a whole lot of experience in translating, an ability to read Tibetan in a casual and fluid way with good comprehension, and so on. In reality there may not be even one translator working today who is ideal in all of these regards, although a few do come close. I would argue that Lozang Zopa does fulfill most of these requirements and is probably the best translator under the age of 38
, but I don't know about everyone, such as some of the ones you mentioned. Obviously there are a lot of pretty good ones over the age of 40-50.
By the way, these aren't just my opinions but those of most of my colleagues in India. If anyone disagrees, I think we should form a separate thread to discuss those issues.
As to any perceived defects in Sherab Zangpo's character, two things. Firstly, in North America (USA and to a lesser extent, Canada, where I am from) people of my generation were taught that to secure opportunities one needs to be insanely confident. So what you perceive as rude might actually just Sherab-la thinking he is being confident and explaining his situation. From living in Asia and Europe the last 9 years, I have learned the low key approach (plus I had self-confidence issues growing up).
True, there might be some American habitual tendencies there. But again I am sorry if I came off as arrogant, it wasn't my intention and it's not like I really think I am "all that" or "so great". I just was trying to help people get a better idea of where I am at, obviously somewhat unskillfully. So don't read too much into it. Indeed I was just trying to explain my situation.
Secondly, Sherab is under the care of some excellent teachers in Dharamsala including Geshe Lobsag Dragpa at Namgyal whom I know personally. Do not worry, they are taking excellent care of him and will guide him in character development if at all necessary, we don't need to worry. At the same time, I can see how his words could be quite off-putting.
Thanks. Yes I have some good teachers here. And I do hope that I can overcome any flaws in my character through studying with them and my experiences here.
Anyway I'd prefer to just get back to the subject at hand.
So, back to PhD programs in Asia.