Khmer, Lao, Thai, Tai Tham Tipitaka Translations

Hi, Is any possibility to get a translation of Lao, Thai, Tai-Tham, Khmer Tipitaka translation in line by line, and side by side in as like as roman-english? If you already started the project please let me know how I can help?


Welcome back!

I can’t speak for Bhante Sujato or the devs, but here on SuttaCentral there are two types of translations, as you have seen. Most are called “legacy” and they are translations only. They have various copyrights and are included on the site as simple HTML files.

The translations that also have the Pali are part of a different system (although for the user they look the same as the others). These translations are added to the site through special software called Bilara. This is what allows them to be viewed side by side with the Pali. The other special thing about these translations is that they are in the public domain, meaning that they have absolutely no copyright.

So if a completely copyright free translation existed, it would take someone carefully adding it into the Bilara software, line by line.

Perhaps @carmi would know if someone is working on this.

I would absolutely love to have this.

This is possible, but I really can’t recommend this method. It’s fighting against the system at every point. The purpose of Bilara is to support the work of translators to create new and better editions.

The best way is to start with a new translation. We do have a plan to begin with Thai translations, this would start from scratch.

Ven Chayasaro, would you be interested in doing translation work in any of these languages? We’d love to have your help!


I would be happy to help in Thai, Lao, and Lao original.


That would be excellent!

Normally our friend @carmi helps us to set up projects for translation. She’s away for a couple of weeks on vacation, so if you don’t mind waiting a little, that would be excellent.

Meanwhile, just to let you know some background.

We can, and should, support translations into all these languages. Obviously you’ll want to decide your priorities.

We have been working with a long term friend of Suttacentral, @Dheerayupa to begin work on translating into Thai. She’s a professional translator of many years experience, and is currently learning Pali. She has been considering very deeply for a long time the process of making a new and idiomatic translation into Thai, one that will be comprehensible to young people and non-specialists, without using lots of Sanskritic forms in Thai.

If you’re interested in working in Thai, then reach out to her and see how your projects might relate. Perhaps you would work together, or work on separate texts, or check each other’s work. That’s entirely up to you, so long as you have an understanding.

As for other languages, Khmer would be fantastic! But really it’s up to you. You might want to work on multiple languages simultaneously, which would be slow but still worthwhile. Or perhaps you want to just focus on one.

One thing that I would say, consider focusing on completing entire works, such as a nikaya, rather than cherry-picking suttas from here and there. We aim for completeness! And once a work has been completed, we can published it as a book.


Bhante @sujato, I guess you have psychic powers (reading minds) as you are asking me not to do what I’m planning to do! :grin: :laughing: :rofl:


Well, every project has to start somewhere! :grin: I’d say cherry pick within the Majjhimā Nikāya.
That way you’re slowly working up to a complete translation but are also delivering a lot of value right away. :coin: :coin:


This is how I started initially, with the AN. But then it just happened that people asked for specific Suttas, like the first three sermons of the Buddha, so I did them. …

Then it happened that I came to know that with the next update of SuttaCentral, a whole set of German DN translations would fall away, as the translators had decided to do a revision. As the other German DN translator had only translated about half of the Nikaya I rolled up sleeves and did DN in order to avoid that there would be a big gap in German coverage. …

Then it happened that I myself felt so inspired of one or the other Sutta outside of my current scope that I just had to translate it! …

And so on …

Meanwhile, about 3/4 of the canon are translated, with three big Nikayas and some of the KN books completed, and each of the other books having at least a few Suttas translated.

If cherry-picking ends up like this, I’d say it is great! Especially, as a translator I need to have fun with what I am doing, otherwise the result won’t be that good.


So true. I get paid (a little) translating house registration and ID cards and birth certificates, but I need cash, so I’ve gotta do it.

Then, last week I got a big assignment (over 7,000 words) translating the interview of a sex worker/ queer sex work film producer. It was very interesting and I had fun translating it.


Greetings Venerable @chyasaro and Bhante @sujato :pray: Please let me know which project (or projects) you would like to begin with. I’ll follow up with the details I’ll need for their set up in a separate thread.