Professor Gyatso, one of the most creative thinkers in Tibetan studies, reflects on translation, transmission, tradition, and authenticity, while discussing a range of topics including the particular joys of translating Tibetan. Janet has been a pioneer in Tibetan Studies in so many ways starting with her early work on Terma and opening that area up to the inquiry of other scholars and to the general public. She is likely best known for her pioneering and groundbreaking work on autobiography with the publication of Apparitions of the Self and her recent book Being Human in a Buddhist World, winner of the […]
As curators of context, translators create and manage the ongoing, multifaceted process of transmission through their work. Panelists explore this process from varied angles. Ringu Tulku articulates the view of transmission from the Tibetan tradition speaking about empowerment, transmission, and instruction while David Germano highlights the importance of the perpetual responsibility of translators when considering both temporal and atemporal spaces. Relationship and interconnection feature prominently in Anne Klein’s talk and John Canti focuses on the translator as the creator of context so that transmission is properly received.
The theme of translator as cultural broker emerges in this plenary session as panelists discuss how lineage is transmitted through both written translation and oral interpretation. Karl Brunnhölzl outlines the formal elements of a modern translation pointing toward the need for standardization of practical skills based on understanding the intended audience of a translation. Asserting the skills of practice and reflection as two essential tools for translators, Willa Miller brings forth the importance of how meaning is embodied and not merely a cognitive process. Richard Barron speaks about finding the right word to evoke meaning and context, and Larry Mermelstein […]
This session begins with Tom Yarnall giving a brief overview of the extent of the canonical literature in the Tibetan tradition which leads into Christian Wedemeyer’s consideration of the audience of the translations of such esoteric materials. He then discusses issues of secrecy, transgressive language, rendering mantras, and refining of terminology. David Gray tries to untie particular knots that he has encountered when translating collaboratively for the 84000 Project and discusses specific textual criticism related to this work. Tom Yarnall then speaks on the need to acknowledge the intertextuality and overlapping constructs of these canonical materials.
Poetic and inspirational materials exist as a place where culture emerges creating a challenge for the translator to capture both the meaning and the psychological effect of the literature in the target language. Andrew Quintman begins this workshop with a theoretical discussion of how the characteristics and structure of a traditional song of devotion give clues about indigenous conceptions of poetry in the Tibetan tradition. Holly Gayley works through various grammatical structures and literary conventions, like metaphor and parallelism, to illustrate the scope of possibility in conveying meaning. Finally, Wulstan Fletcher guides the group through the challenge of capturing the […]
This session offers advice for translators working with philosophical materials. John Dunne presents a specific problem of finding that your good translation has gone bad. Douglas Duckworth speaks about collaborative translation and its rewards while offering advice about the process as it relates specifically to philosophical texts, and Klaus-Dieter Mathes discusses specific phrases and their meaning as they support one’s comprehension of philosophical concepts.
Discussing the translation of the genre of sadhana and ritual materials, presenters consider particular challenges and rewards. Stephen Gethin talks about accuracy and precision as they relate to sadhana readership and considers the demand for chantability of the ritual texts in English. Anne Klein follows this by considering the somatic and cognitive experience of practice, melody as transmission, and the possible trade-offs in the process. Larry Mermelstein speaks about specific choices in translation that elicit somatic experience during the practice of sadhana and ritual.
Is Abhidharma just a collection of dry, boring lists? Presenters in this workshop comment on the need for Abhidharma literature as the basis of both morality and advanced meditation practice when bringing Tibetan Buddhism to a Western setting. Art Engle presents the need for a viable English translation from original source texts of the Abhidharmakośakārikā and Abhidharmasamuccaya. Ian Coghlan discusses terms, grammar, and syntax related to meditative states and the subtlety involved in creating satisfactory, standard English terms for this material. Gyurme Dorje presents short passages from Abhidharmakośa and traces the illusion of terminology and taxonomy through Tibetan traditions.
Jeffrey Hopkins offers reflections on his life and work and how his trailblazing study of Tibetan Buddhism, his poetic sensibility, and his love for the English language and its literary heritage informed his translations of Tibetan literature which is equally fraught with meaning and legacy.