I would like to give a little correction. I’m not a translator. I’m just someone who is very interested in early Buddhist texts in Chinese translations and other northern Indic languages. In other words, I’m interested in northern early Buddhist texts.
I agree that there are some unsuitable translations. The one that I can think of is the complete translation of T 1 that is published by BDK. If I’m correct, I believe that Ven Analayo has undertaken the task to make a new translation in English.
It’s definitely a good thing to have people offer their thoughts regarding the Chinese Agamas, so for that I thank you too. And good luck and have a good day to you too.
Modern Chinese dictionaries really aren’t suitable for reading classical texts. It’s like reading old English with a modern dictionary (aside from the spelling differences in English). You can get the gist of it, but modern readings get in the way of understanding ancient texts.
ZDict is handy for Kangxi dictionary entries. I’ve used it to sort out ancient variants to figure out obscure characters. A good online resource for reading Buddhist Chinese is Muller’s Digital Dictionary of Buddhism or the Foguangshan dictionary.
There’s also glossaries and Chinese/Sanskrit indexes by scholars like Karashima and Hirakawa that are helpful. Pulleyblank’s Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar is a great little handbook for the grammar these texts often use, too. It’s different from Mandarin. I just wish there was a good grammar book for Middle Chinese.