Bhante Sujato's translation process

This may have been discussed before, but I’d appreciate Bhante @Sujato’s input on how he approached his 4 Nikaya’s translation project. I understand that the text was assembled using the Pootle software, but I’m interested in what other enhancements were used. For example, is there some automatic mechanism to populate the translations for identical sentences across multiple suttas? Or to make global changes to the translation of particular words? Or maybe some of these things are already in Pootle? Did the translation proceed linearly through the nikayas, or was there some other ordering?

This kind of detail may be of interest to those considering similar, or somewhat related projects.


Pootle uses “translation suggestions”, so if a similar “segment” has been translated before it will be suggested as a possibility. It’s not automatically populated, it’s just a suggestion for the translator.

Obviously this is very helpful, but note that it only works if the repeated phrase is the same scope as the segment. If, for example, half a segment is repeated, it won’t match. In practice, I used Pootle’s search constantly to check consistency.

Pootle has no global find-and-replace. In cases where systematic changes were wanted, either they are done one at a time, or the whole thing is downloaded, the changes done in a text editor, then re-uploaded. But that is only done very rarely!

I started with AN, as I wanted to check my translations against the latest (and presumably most correct) version of Ven Bodhi’s translations. I then worked backwards to DN.