Gude to Translators for Beginners

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BKh
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Re: Gude to Translators for Beginners

Post by BKh »

DooDoot wrote: Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:22 am Therefore, the "beginner", in my opinion, should always be open to some skepticism.
Sure. That's just not the problem this article was trying to solve. My experience working with people, especially new Buddhists, is that they come to the table with an abundance of skepticism.
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DooDoot
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Re: Gude to Translators for Beginners

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BKh wrote: Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:37 amSure. That's just not the problem this article was trying to solve. My experience working with people, especially new Buddhists, is that they come to the table with an abundance of skepticism.
Sure. But I was referring to the following idea:
But in the mean time, you can start by choosing any of these translations and not worrying that you are going to be misinformed.
What is meant by "not going to be misinformed"? Does this mean the translations are accurate, including interpretatively? Or does it just say the translator has attempted to translate the Pali therefore if you have doubts you know at least where to start to look?
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Kare
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Re: Gude to Translators for Beginners

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DooDoot wrote: Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:22 am
BKh wrote: Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:17 amWell, the article was aimed at beginners and helping them overcome the problem of where to start. And more importantly to help them overcome the hindrance of doubt when they read all the debates about translations. Personally, I believe that it is more problematic to feel that one must learn Pali to understand the suttas. (Wich may not be what you are saying; I'm talking in general because I see it a lot in people I speak with.
I was not referring to Pali. I was referring to the translations, which are often "interpretations". If each translator was completely accurate, then all of the translations would be the same (which they are not). Therefore, the "beginner", in my opinion, should always be open to some skepticism.
Anyone who has tried his hand on translation, knows that "a completely accurate" translation is a dream and a mirage - it does not exist. Any translation HAS TO BE an interpretation. After translating the Digha, the Majjhima, the Dhammapada, Udana, Suttanipata, Itivuttaka, Theri- and Theragatha, and presently translating the Samyutta, I can say this with deep conviction. This is a fact we just have to learn to live with. Therefore I highly recommend a study of Pali. Only this can give you the real flavor of the ancient texts.
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BKh
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Re: Gude to Translators for Beginners

Post by BKh »

DooDoot wrote: Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:42 am What is meant by "not going to be misinformed"? Does this mean the translations are accurate, including interpretatively? Or does it just say the translator has attempted to translate the Pali therefore if you have doubts you know at least where to start to look?
Well, perhaps some examples of what is not included on that page might help. There is a Dhammapada translation where the author has changed all references to heaven and hell into mind states. There is a Sutta Nipata translation with an editor who snuck in several Advaita Vedanta concepts. There is another Snp where the translator has a very hard secular view and doesn't believe in traditional views on the nature of the Buddha or enlightenment. I haven't actually read that translation but I know that the Snp is prone to mistranslation, so it just isn't going to make the cut. And then almost all of the first generation pts translations are not included because 1) there are plenty of alternatives, and 2) they are prone to some wacky language. For example translating ariya as "the Elect" is clearly wrong even if you don't have an understanding of calvinism.

So, compared to these kinds of situations, I feel the translations listed are "accurate enough, including interpretatively" for beginners.

I may be wrong, but I think most people naturally understand that a translation is always a step away. So why emphasize it. I also don't subscribe to a hard line of "the only way to understand the Buddha's teaching is by learning Pali." (not that anyone in this thread does) And when addressing beginners, I really don't think even a more tempered view is helpful. I prefer the message of "when you want to learn Pali there are lots of resources."

I really appreciate this discussion.
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