A Glaring Void: The Possibilities for Buddhist Translation Theories to Emerge in the English-Speaking World

Abstract for an upcoming presentation. 
Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

Presently no coherent translation theories exist for Buddhist translators from Chinese to English. What elements might a Buddhist translation theorist in the predominantly Christian West consider and integrate as she gleams sacred text translation theories east and west? This paper theorizes that syntactical rules dictated by and spiritual development required of translators from Han to Tang dynasties and contemporary western sacred text translation theories can complement each other, which may help to complete the development of a system of Buddhist translation theories from Chinese to English.
This paper chooses to focus on early Chinese Buddhist translators’ primarily linguistic ideas because the first climactic wave in Buddhist text translation occurred with these Sanskrit to Chinese translators. By analyzing western translation theories that usually surface in discussions about the translation of sacred texts, this presentation argues which extracted features will be most suitable or can be adapted for Buddhist translation as Buddhism migrates westward. Despite the distance in time and location, elements selected from sacred text theories during these two eras in history may counter-balance one another as a system of Buddhist translation theories struggles to emerge.

2 thoughts on “A Glaring Void: The Possibilities for Buddhist Translation Theories to Emerge in the English-Speaking World

  1. Please keep me updated on this content as I am a translator of Chinese sutras and commentaries. I wish to know these ancient master's approaches as well. I won't be able to travel to you so if you could please send me a file copy in email. I won't use it for publication but I really need to see what the ancients chose to do as well. I worry when I find sections of the famous sutras altered to save print space and key ideas removed from the usual repetition of 3 or more time in Chinese text. I do not think Western translators know who their audience is. They tend to translate in story form, this is not the original form of sutras. Sutras as mind training are not in story form.

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