I think this project of yours is a great and very worthwhile endeavour which will be of the benefit of many.
Somehow, I always liked the language used by Bhikkhu Bodhi, because it gave the teaching the flavor of being something special and sacred, while I could still understand it quite well. However, when reading the DN translations by Rhys Davids, I sometimes start finding the language a bit confusing.
Nevertheless, I think your envisaged approach to formulate the teaching a simple as possible helps to apply it in the daily live. After all, the teaching is not meant to be some aloof philosophy, but one of its purposes is to be applicable and to offer guidance in everyday life situations. So, I think it is better to have a translation that is a easy to understand as possible (to brifge this gap) and if someone wants the teaching in a ‘sacred’ language that is pretty much reserved for the teaching only they can study Pāli (or the like), which will then add that inspiring dimension including the idea to be closer to the Buddhas own words.
Regearding the translation of gender, Ven. Anālayo often uses “one” instead of “a Bhikkhu” or passive forms to render the translations gender neutral in the book ‘Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna’:
p. 13 (from the Ekottarika-āgam version)
"What are the four [satipaṭṭhānas]? Here, in regard to the body …
one abides contemplating the body, diligent, clearly knowing,
and mindful, free from desires and discontent with regard to the
> world. In regard to feelings … the mind … dharmas one abides
contemplating dharmas, diligent, clearly knowing, and mindful, free
from desires and discontent with regard to the world. "
Or a passive form on page 15 (Majjhima-nikāya version):
In regard to feelings one abides contemplating feelings internally …
externally … internally and externally.
Or one abides contemplating the nature of arising … the nature of
passing away … the nature of arising and passing away in feelings.
Or mindfulness that “there is feeling” is established in oneself
just for the sake of bare knowledge and for the sake of continuous
mindfulness. And one abides independent, not clinging to anything
in the world.
In the first quoted passage, he also deviated from the usual translation of “covetousnes and grief for the world”. He did such deviations not only for this expression, but in several cases. However, he maintained to translate “samādhi” as “concentration”, because this is the common way (and most people know by now that the meaning is not concentration, but samādhi. In fact also “stillness” does not do justice to samādhi in my humble opinion… So I would humbly agree with you that it is best to leave this untranslated). He also used the sanskitized word “Dharma” (somewhat to my despair), because he sees that this expression prevailed by now in publications. (However, I think that good monks an nuns can also dare to set a standard… )
I imagine, that defining and using a consistent table for the ‘technical terms’ will be some significant work (well maybe not so much for you, since you already have quite some experience with publications in the field, so I guess you already have pretty much a detailed vision).
I am currently working on a translating Anālayo’s book into German and I am struggling with a gender neutral translation, while using normal language. The German language puts much more emphasiz on discriminating between genders than English does (e.g. with its three cases “der Mann/die Frau/das Kind” is simply “the man/the woman/the child”)…
I wish you much success for this endeavour. If there is anything I can do, I will be happy to help!
With much mettā,