No English translation of Therigatha?

Thig has no English translation. Did it get lost? Am I missing something? Thanks.


if copyright permits, Caroline Rhys Davids’ one could perhaps be published on SC

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I made a start on translating it, but alas, was diverted. Hopefully I’ll get back to it one day.

Yes, copyright permits, but wow, it’s really bad. I don’t know if it’s possible to read it unironically at all today.

In the mean time, I could put the verses that have been translated on accesstoinsight on it. These are only under CC license.

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the language maybe archaic and fanciful but i had a chance to collate one gatha of this translation with an authentic German translation published on SC and they’re on a par, so that deviations in accuracy could be insignificant

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Is there a German translation you would consider better?
As far as I know, there is only one other translation by Neumann.

i haven’t come across another translation but my German knowledge is anyway pretty shallow for being in a position to assess and appreciate stylistic value of translations and draw comparisons

if it’s faithful to Pali to the extent i myself can understand it (Pali that is), it’s good enough for me :relaxed:

Dear Bhante, Thanks for all your work on this site! I don’t want to ungratefully ask for more, surely you have already given more than enough… and yet considering the value of the Thig for helping remedy the extreme dearth of female voices in the Canon, perhaps you may consider bumping it to a higher priority than whatever other pending translations you may have in mind.


I will do my best. But surely this is a text that should be translated by nuns!


I still think it’s worth having on SC, at least until there’s something better!


“…should be translated by nuns!” Don’t look at me! I couldn’t translate my way out of a paper bag.

However, just last night I finished final edits to a new Thig translation by the Mahamevnawa monk community, making a last clean-up at their request before they publish. (That is why I sought a translation on Sutta Central the other day, to compare wording on some phrases.) Their translation is in very simple English for comprehension by children. Shall I inquire whether they may be willing to put their translation onto Sutta Central?


Actual LOL.

This sounds like an excellent idea!


Okay, will do!

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Dear Bhante, Your comment planted a seed it seems. I’ve gotten hold of several translations of Thig, and am willing to undertake a fresh (ie non-copyrighted) version to post on Sutta Central. Since I rarely finish things the best approach would be to add each set of verses when done rather than try to get all the verses completed first. And since my skill in Pali is virtually nonexistent it’d be a good idea if you were to vet each one. May I simply email them to you bit by bit?


Well, that sounds great.

What I have is a preliminary version worked on by Jess. You may remember her as Nibbidā Bhikkhuni.

This version is an adaptation from Norman’s translation. Jess went through each verse, using Norman’s text, with reference to the Pali, aiming to render the verses in more clear, expressive English. With the Theragatha, I then went through each verse and made further changes and corrections. But I never got around to finishing the Therigatha.

So this would be a good starting point for you, if you’re interested in such an approach. Here’s the file, remembering that it’s a draft. (22.3 KB)

I’d be happy to check your work. In fact, if you like, we could do this using SC’s Pootle translation software. This is a web app, so we can easily see what each other is doing, make notes, and so on. The only thing it requires is a decent internet connection.


Yes! Wonderful! Not sure I can improve on her work, but I will give it a try.

(Will tackle the web app tomorrow when not late at night here.)