First rate translators in non-English European languages

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dharmafootsteps
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First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by dharmafootsteps »

I don't know much about translation into languages other than English. Who are the particularly highly regarded translator, translating directly from Tibetan into other languages?

Specifically for Dzogchen root texts and commentaries. Anyone working on the 17 tantras or 7 treasuries?
PSM
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by PSM »

Jean Luc Achard is a very talented translator into French. https://wisdomexperience.org/content-au ... uc-achard/

Erik Pema Kunzag, Thomas Doctor, and Andreas Doctor are all non-native English speakers, but I don't know if they have published in other languages.
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by tingdzin »

JLA does indeed have a good reputation for translating into French. As far as the 17 tantras, however, one should be aware that this material is extremely difficult, and any "translations" are provisional, to put it politely. A very famous and learned Nyingmapa master who passed away not too long ago once began to edit and write a commentary on some of this material, seeking out the advice and assistance of the highest lamas of his generation. He gave up the enterprise, however, saying that the language was too obscure in many places, and, unlike much of the other Kama stuff, there was no commentarial tradition, and no "Sanskrit originals" to compare with.

Also, needless to say, even with the best translations, this is not material you can just pick up and use out of a book.
dharmafootsteps
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by dharmafootsteps »

Thanks both for the suggestions.
tingdzin wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:12 pm JLA does indeed have a good reputation for translating into French. As far as the 17 tantras, however, one should be aware that this material is extremely difficult, and any "translations" are provisional, to put it politely. A very famous and learned Nyingmapa master who passed away not too long ago once began to edit and write a commentary on some of this material, seeking out the advice and assistance of the highest lamas of his generation. He gave up the enterprise, however, saying that the language was too obscure in many places, and, unlike much of the other Kama stuff, there was no commentarial tradition, and no "Sanskrit originals" to compare with.

Also, needless to say, even with the best translations, this is not material you can just pick up and use out of a book.
Right, the difficulty is really why I was asking. The question was prompted by a comment I read recently about the fact that probably only a few Westerners have the capacity to read/translate the Dzogchen tantras. I have many friends and acquaintances translating oral teachings from Dzogchen teachers, but I barely know of anyone close to the level of being able to translate a tantra. Basically Malcolm, and a couple of other translators from the Dzogchen Community who did some work on other tantras, but not from the 17 I think. I think EPK may have done small portions, but I haven't heard of him doing much work on Dzogchen tantras.

So I was curious what the state of play is in other languages, particularly as someone learning Tibetan myself.
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heart
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by heart »

dharmafootsteps wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:05 am Basically Malcolm, and a couple of other translators from the Dzogchen Community who did some work on other tantras, but not from the 17 I think.
Malcolm translated four of the 17 tantras and they are also published. Dzogchen Community is working on a translation dra thalgyur root tantra.

/magnus
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~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by dharmafootsteps »

heart wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:44 am
dharmafootsteps wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:05 am Basically Malcolm, and a couple of other translators from the Dzogchen Community who did some work on other tantras, but not from the 17 I think.
Malcolm translated four of the 17 tantras and they are also published. Dzogchen Community is working on a translation dra thalgyur root tantra.

/magnus
Ah yeah, I didn't word that very clearly. I meant that I didn't think the DC translators were doing anything from the 17, not Malcolm. What I knew about from the DC was things like kun byed rgyal po and rdo rje sems dpa' nam mkha' che. I didn't know they were doing the sgra thal 'gyur though, that's great. I have Malcolm's previous translations and will pick up the new ones.
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justsit
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by justsit »

Karl Brunnholzl, perhaps?
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by heart »

dharmafootsteps wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:31 am
heart wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:44 am
dharmafootsteps wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:05 am Basically Malcolm, and a couple of other translators from the Dzogchen Community who did some work on other tantras, but not from the 17 I think.
Malcolm translated four of the 17 tantras and they are also published. Dzogchen Community is working on a translation dra thalgyur root tantra.

/magnus
Ah yeah, I didn't word that very clearly. I meant that I didn't think the DC translators were doing anything from the 17, not Malcolm. What I knew about from the DC was things like kun byed rgyal po and rdo rje sems dpa' nam mkha' che. I didn't know they were doing the sgra thal 'gyur though, that's great. I have Malcolm's previous translations and will pick up the new ones.
http://www.ssi-austria.at/images/info/drathalgyur.pdf

They are also doing the commentary by Vimalamitra on the Dra Thalgyur.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by SkyDragon3 »

May I ask if having an effective English translation of the 17 Dzogchen Tantras, or the Yeshe Lama, is expected to facilitate western students to obtain total transmission of these teachings?

I ask because I am aware that some of the presently available translations are fairly widely circulated outside of specific dharma groups, and there is little indication that they are deeply understood or even applied in any concrete way by the individual readers.

It seems to me that access to authentic masters of this tradition is fading with time, so western students need to exert themselves with urgency in the present circumstances.
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by heart »

SkyDragon3 wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:46 am May I ask if having an effective English translation of the 17 Dzogchen Tantras, or the Yeshe Lama, is expected to facilitate western students to obtain total transmission of these teachings?
They are not the same thing. Yeshe lama is a khrid yig, a meditation manual. For people that actually practice Dzogchen with a genuine master the translation of these texts (there are many) are invaluable. The translation of Dzogchen Tantras open up for an even deeper understanding of the complete path of Dzogchen and for a full transmission for those apply these teachings.

The value of these translations for people that don't practice Dzogchen with a genuine master is limited.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
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"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by SkyDragon3 »

It seems my question was not clear.

I am aware there are existing English translations of the texts I mentioned, but there seems some debate as to the accuracy of the translations. From forums here and elsewhere I have read that new translations are being prepared for some of these texts and I assume this is because previous translations lack something necessary for students to comprehend the texts and benefit fully from them. If this is not the case, then why are new translations being prepared?

Perhaps this is the wrong forum to pursue this question, but as an English speaker only, this is of interest to me.

When I first began to read Buddhist sutras in English the translations I read were almost incomprehensible to me. They had been made by asian translators I believe and presented great difficulties for an English reader. I am aware of the value of a good translator, who fully comprehends the western mind and use of language.
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by Malcolm »

SkyDragon3 wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:49 pm It seems my question was not clear.

I am aware there are existing English translations of the texts I mentioned, but there seems some debate as to the accuracy of the translations. From forums here and elsewhere I have read that new translations are being prepared for some of these texts and I assume this is because previous translations lack something necessary for students to comprehend the texts and benefit fully from them. If this is not the case, then why are new translations being prepared?

Perhaps this is the wrong forum to pursue this question, but as an English speaker only, this is of interest to me.

When I first began to read Buddhist sutras in English the translations I read were almost incomprehensible to me. They had been made by asian translators I believe and presented great difficulties for an English reader. I am aware of the value of a good translator, who fully comprehends the western mind and use of language.
As a well-published translator of Great Perfection material (five books), I can be quite frank about the fact that we are in the infancy of translating these texts. We all try to do our best, and and we all realize there is a long way to go. We all try no to be too harsh with each other, because we are all in the same boat.

There are three important factors to look for in a Great Perfection translation, which is very hard to evaluate for those who do not know Tibetan: is the translator's Tibetan grammar solid? Have the translations been peer reviewed? In general, one is not going to find peer-reviewed translations that are self-published on Amazon and elsewhere. Finally, does the translator have practical experience as well as the necessary Buddhist training both within the Great Perfection tradition itself and general Buddhist philosophy? Who are their teachers? What transmission have they received?

All of the texts we are translating now will have to be translated again 50 years. But for now, we do our best, because we are trying to help people attain buddhahood, not make a living off of book sales (if that was the goal, we would have all starved to death long ago).
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by Fa Dao »

heart wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:58 pm
dharmafootsteps wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:31 am
heart wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:44 am

Malcolm translated four of the 17 tantras and they are also published. Dzogchen Community is working on a translation dra thalgyur root tantra.

/magnus
Ah yeah, I didn't word that very clearly. I meant that I didn't think the DC translators were doing anything from the 17, not Malcolm. What I knew about from the DC was things like kun byed rgyal po and rdo rje sems dpa' nam mkha' che. I didn't know they were doing the sgra thal 'gyur though, that's great. I have Malcolm's previous translations and will pick up the new ones.
http://www.ssi-austria.at/images/info/drathalgyur.pdf

They are also doing the commentary by Vimalamitra on the Dra Thalgyur.

/magnus
Any idea when both will be available? And does one have to have the specific lung for it to be able to study/practice it?
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by Norwegian »

Fa Dao wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:03 pm
heart wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:58 pm
dharmafootsteps wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:31 am

Ah yeah, I didn't word that very clearly. I meant that I didn't think the DC translators were doing anything from the 17, not Malcolm. What I knew about from the DC was things like kun byed rgyal po and rdo rje sems dpa' nam mkha' che. I didn't know they were doing the sgra thal 'gyur though, that's great. I have Malcolm's previous translations and will pick up the new ones.
http://www.ssi-austria.at/images/info/drathalgyur.pdf

They are also doing the commentary by Vimalamitra on the Dra Thalgyur.

/magnus
Any idea when both will be available? And does one have to have the specific lung for it to be able to study/practice it?
Not entirely sure when it will be available, and you should definitely get the lung for the tantra. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu gave the lung for it in May 2015.
"The Guru is the Buddha, the Guru is the Dharma,
The Guru is the Sangha too,
The Guru is Śrī Heruka.
The All-Creating King is the Guru."

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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by Karma_Yeshe »

To the OP:
Lama Henrik Havlat did a few very good translations together with his then consort Lama Waltraud. They translated directly from tibetan into german. They translated only Karma Kamtsang Texts, as far as I know.

Usually I read the english first-hand translations from the original texts, but those translation are really good, especially the Mahamudra stuff, and they helped me a lot in getting a more direct understanding. Which of course is more easy to happen when you hear the teachings in your native language. Also they are both great teachers.

All the best,
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by Fa Dao »

Norwegian wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:08 pm
Fa Dao wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:03 pm
heart wrote: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:58 pm

http://www.ssi-austria.at/images/info/drathalgyur.pdf

They are also doing the commentary by Vimalamitra on the Dra Thalgyur.

/magnus
Any idea when both will be available? And does one have to have the specific lung for it to be able to study/practice it?
Not entirely sure when it will be available, and you should definitely get the lung for the tantra. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu gave the lung for it in May 2015.
That was one of the few transmissions that I missed. So who else is giving it?
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by heart »

Fa Dao wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:15 am
Norwegian wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:08 pm
Fa Dao wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:03 pm

Any idea when both will be available? And does one have to have the specific lung for it to be able to study/practice it?
Not entirely sure when it will be available, and you should definitely get the lung for the tantra. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu gave the lung for it in May 2015.
That was one of the few transmissions that I missed. So who else is giving it?
Any major Nyingma lama.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)
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Fa Dao
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by Fa Dao »

heart wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:28 am
Fa Dao wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:15 am
Norwegian wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:08 pm
Not entirely sure when it will be available, and you should definitely get the lung for the tantra. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu gave the lung for it in May 2015.
That was one of the few transmissions that I missed. So who else is giving it?
Any major Nyingma lama.

/magnus
Happen to know any in New Mexico?
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by Sādhaka »

Fa Dao wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:13 pmHappen to know any in New Mexico?

viewtopic.php?t=31550#p498769
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Re: First rate translators in non-English European languages

Post by heart »

Fa Dao wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:13 pm
heart wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:28 am
Fa Dao wrote: Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:15 am
That was one of the few transmissions that I missed. So who else is giving it?
Any major Nyingma lama.

/magnus
Happen to know any in New Mexico?
I am in Sweden :smile: so you probably know better than me.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)
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