English translation misspellings and typos

As port of the voice assistance project, I have found some misspellings, typos or potentially offensive words in English sutta translations:

For the curious, this list was created by ispell during a search for Pali words in English translations. The Pali words will be romanized and added as synonyms to the search index so that we can search for Mulapariyaya without diacritics.


Maybe Bhante sujato had in mind Australian grasstrees, as known as blackboys? :sweat_smile:

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Hey thanks, I’ve now fixed all these.

Just a couple of notes.

“Blackboy” is indeed potentially offensive; it’s in a racially charged passage in DN 3:

‘He spoke as soon as he was born—a blackboy is born! A goblin is born!’

The Pali is kaṇha = black one, dark one. Also, of course = Krishna. In context there is a clear racial overtone to the notion that a black child is a goblin.

The other problematic term is “wifey”, which translates jāyikā. This is a diminutive form of jāyā, one of the stock words for “wife”. The passage is in MN 66, where the squalid circumstances of a man’s life are discussed, one of which is the marriage to not the best sort of wife. It appears the diminutive occurs only in this one passage in the entirety of Pali literature. It is therefore clearly an exceptional term, with a negative connotation. Other translators just use “wife” and let the sense emerge from the context, but I have elected to render the exceptional term with an equally rare and diminutive English word.

I did indeed! I wanted a term that would clearly indicate the racially-charged nature of the term, without binding it too closely to any specifically modern expression of racism.

Growing up in Perth, these were all around, yet no-one ever thought there was anything off about calling them “blackboys”. So I guess it echoes my own growing awareness of the harm that unthinking racial epithets can cause.

Nevertheless, they are a beautiful and distinctive part of the Australian landscape!