Sutta pitaka pali -> english translation wiki

I’ve been off the grid for a about a year and a half. when i returned and resumed internet access, it doesn’t look like this wiki has taken off yet. anyone know what’s going on with this?

It seems the site has simply, as you said, not taken off. A shame, since it’s an interesting idea. The similar Wikipitaka has been around for a few years, and has more texts:

This, too is incomplete, but it does have a useful number of texts.

BTW, this forum is not officially active yet, so you’re pretty much the first commenter! Congrats!

Is there any plan for sutta central to host a similar type of wiki for translations?
What I have in mind is something more in depth that has much more value for future pali translators. There will come a day when Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translations may not make sense to future dhamma followers.

Sutta central already links to existing finished, proof read, polished translations. But it would be good to have a wiki with translations that “show the work” in different amounts of detail.
The 1st level: such as Ven. Aanandajoti’s translations which show interlaced lines alternating pali and english (but doesn’t break down exactly how each pali word corresponds with each english)
2nd level: like the tri-linear translations of the pali yahoo group. 1st line pali, 2nd line word by wrd breakdown in english 3rd line fluent translation in english
3rd level: like Ven. Nyanatusita’s treatment of Patimokha. A word by word analysis with all the gory detail.

This would leave a lasting legacy and make it easier for future translators hundreds of years from now.

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I agree, translation needs to be a process, it is not a final state. The Chinese translations, for example, are often so archaic that speakers of modern Chinese cannot make sense of them; they should probably be translated into modern Chinese.

This platform, Discourse, can hopefully serve to help with some of these things. I hope it can be used as a place to upload alternative translations, suggest corrections, discuss issues, and so on. However, when it comes to detailed studies such as those you mention, it is probably best for them to happen in a piecemeal way, like the work on Ven Anandajoti’s site; we can’t anticipate all the ways people might want to approach things.

What I am thinking of is to develop a corpus of translations that is developed using the PO markup standard. Essentially that means that we translate the texts segmented into sections, probably at a sentence level, and this is matched with the Pali at the same level. This allows us to use the benefits of computer assisted translation, such as reusing repeated sentences, while at the same time, open translations may be freely adapted, changed, and evolved over the years. In a sense it would be a move towards a status quo of “living translation”, rather than one static, fixed work (parallel with the development of HTML5 as a living standard.)

There are many exciting things we can do in this field, and we’re just getting started. For the first time, we’re assembling a multi-lingual corpus of Buddhist translations, all marked up and organized in a coherent and consistent fashion. I hope that many developers will take our texts and use them for cool things that we hadn’t even thought of.


Dear Sujato, could you elaborate on or link to the “PO markup standard”?

Perhaps you could encourage members to participate in translations on in particularly, for no other reason than that all material is licensed under the CC0 (univeral public domain).

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Po is a file type that is part of the gettext translation standard used widely in the open-source world for translations. Po files are plain text, so they can be opened and used everywhere. They basically consist of a head with some metadata, then a series of strings, like this:

msgid "Saṃyutta Nikāya"
msgstr "Collection of Connected Discourses"

Thus each string of original text is matched with a corresponding translation. You can include various other things like comments and so on. Some links:

If people want to use that, great. The fact that they’re supporting CC0 is fantastic. But the project seems pretty much dead, only a few suttas, and nothing added for years. Moreover, using a wiki platform for this is probably not the best idea. Wikipitaka has done a similar thing, with a lot of content, but it is not properly documented or sourced.

The main problem with these platforms is that they are not built with long-term in mind. There’s no proper markup (headings on Wipitaka are marked <p><b> for example), and no proper references or integration.

Rather than focusing on the platform, which will inevitably change over time, our main emphasis should be on creating the underlying texts and files in a clean, semantic, portable form.

All of SC’s files are in a simple, semantic HTML. That means that anyone can simply take our text files (which you can grab from github) and open them in any browser or HTML client, even a plain text editor, and read them fine, or edit them. Throw in a bit of CSS and they will even look nice! They can also use them to create their own site, app, or whatever.

This includes things like Wipitaka: anyone can put our texts in there if they want to. Only licencing is an issue, but this will go away when we have our new CC0 translations.

HTML is the language of the web, and hence is the most important markup language that has ever been developed, and probably that ever will be developed. As long as computers exist, they will be able to read, open, and present HTML texts. The semantic structure of HTML5 is very well suited to the Suttas, and I would strongly recommend that anyone who wants to create sutta translations do so in HTML5.