Mr. G wrote:Is this the reason the complete Chinese Tripitaka hasn't been translated to English yet?
I think it is just too big to realistically translate within a few decades, let alone a century.
The problem is really that even though the funding could potentially be sufficient if organizations pooled resources together to do it, in reality there are not enough qualified people to accurately
translate Classical Buddhist Chinese into English.
There is also the matter that specialization is needed in translating particular sections. For example, the vocabulary and ideas of Huayan are quite different from Abhidharma. Even in the case of Abhidharma, the vocabulary of Paramartha is different from Xuanzang. So, while one scholar might translate Huayan well, they might need a lot of time to cultivate the knowledge necessary to accurately translate Abhidharma treatises. Treatises written by natives of China can also be heavily literary, requiring knowledge of non-Buddhist literature to grasp and understand the allusions and references.
Ideally, the up and coming Buddhist colleges in Asia will in time foster scholars capable of such undertakings, but even then that is no guarantee they'll be able to do such projects full-time. People get married, have children, work their jobs ... so a project that might be scheduled to take five years could turn into fifteen years or more.
The oldschool method of translation in China was to have a team working together in the same room full-time with proofreaders, editors and scribes all on hand. That's how Kumarajiva managed to translate so much. He had a reliable team to work with. They took it upon themselves to do such a project as a religious, not scholarly, endeavour. Nowadays most academic translations are done by a single individual and then proofread by peers before publication.
Personally, I think we should return to the old model and work in teams in real life. The internet might be a substitute to some degree, but having everyone in the same place at the same time will facilitate speed and efficiency. However, the majority of the few people qualified to do such things in the world probably have other duties to attend to (like their careers as academics or looking after a family).
There's another reason why things are slowly translated: most scholars of East Asian Buddhist in the English speaking world are not Buddhist.