Translation Previewer for Bilara texts

Click to learn what the heck Bilara is

Bilara is a web app that aids in the translation of segmented texts for

The most prominant segmented texts on SC are those by Bhante @Sujato and Ven. @sabbamitta. They allow the reader to see the translation side by side with the original Pali.

One of the ways Bilara helps the translator is by suggesting translations for previously translated similar segments.

Currently there is no easy way for a translator to share their work with editors outside the Bilara software. But since the translations are stored on GitHub, this new (unofficial!) previewer app allows them to share with anyone.

I’ve written a simple web app based on my SC-Light project that allows Bilara translators to share their translations with proofreaders outside the Bilara system.

There are two types of URLs that the app will accept.

  1. The URL of the sutta in Bilara, e.g.

  2. The URL on the unpublished branch in suttacentral/bilara-data. e.g.

Paste that entire link into the url field in the app. Press “Go” and if the link is correct, it will load the translation:

To share this page, simply copy the url in your browser:

You can also toggle the Pali, English, and segment ids:

Please note that this is an unofficial app and does not actually tie into the Bilara app in any way. I believe that there are plans for a much more awesome sharing feature within Bilara and I hope that makes this app obsolete.

Special thanks to Ven. @sabbamitta and @Hugo for testing. And as always thanks to Bhante @Sujato and the whole SC team for all their hard work to make the API that powers this app. And thanks to Ven. @Khemarato.bhikkhu for his help in my efforts to learn to code. I share all merit with all of you and all those translating the Buddha’s words into modern languages.

Please report any bugs or feature requests in this thread. The Github icon at the bottom of the app will take you to the source code.

PS: Translators may also find my Sutta Differ app helpful.


Thank you so much for all your work, Bhante! This is indeed a worthy subject for training your (for me totally amazing) coding skills! :pray:


I was thinking in doing some parse “coding” from bilara url to github url (scripting or even excel :exploding_head:) to not having to open github, is not posible to do it directly? paste bilara url? Looks like quite straight forward, at least for sutta links, and for someone with very limited knowing of coding :slight_smile:

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This would unfortunately make it impossible for someone who has no GitHub account to use the previewer.

I understand that the whole project started from the situation that currently there is no way to share a draft translation with a proofreader or someone who’d like to give feedback, unless they are logged in to a GitHub account.

I am not sure however whether or not a clever coder could make it happen that the previewer can transform one of these two forms of URL into the other …? :thinking:

If you look at the urls on both webs seems like changing the bilara root for the github root, extracting the language, translator and nikaya/sutta from the last part of the bilara url, and adding .json at the end would do it. Looks like is just playing with text strings in coding. I mean, all the data you need to compose the github url is just there in the last part of the bilara url.

It is also true that when you start coding things are usually not so straight forward as you think :slight_smile: .


Ah, of course! I’ll work on it.


Yes, and indeed there is a small issue.

From the url in Bilara, e.g. sn3.3_translation-es-maggatr we need to come up with sn/sn3/sn3.3_translation-es-maggatr That’s not so difficult. However for the Itivuttaka and the Sutta Nipata, the suttas are grouped into “arbitrary” folders. I feel like I’ve solved this problem in one of my other apps, but I can’t remember. It’s a good exercise. I’ll work on it.


Hello Bhante @Snowbird, today we met with our Dhamma discussion group, and we continued our study of DN 16 with your new previewer. :smiley: I sent the link around yesterday, so everybody could load the Sutta and see the latest version of the translation.

Most participants used tablets to read the text, but one person had a mobile phone. For him it was not possible to toggle the theme because the other toggles (Pali, English, Ids) covered the button.

Not sure if there is an easy solution for that, but I thought I just let you know.

As an aside, still a curious experience: One participant had accidentally enabled the Google translator, and although he viewed the Sutta in German only, the translator would still interfere and change the text (not to the better, I’d say …)! :open_mouth:

It took a while until we found out the reason why he saw something different than everybody else …

Of course I assumed the app would only be used for people proofreading. And who would proofread on a phone!

I was just being lazy. Next time I push changes this should be fixed.

That’s really odd because I went out of my way to wrap the translated text in lang="de".

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Juts to confirm, yes, we are building proofreading into the updated Bilara. As things come together, I’ll invite current Bilara users to test it out.

Proofreaders would still need permissions to read, however, so generally speaking unpublished translations are not available on the open web. (Of course you can still read them in the relevant branch on Github).


I realize that this app may soon become obsolete when the new version of Bilara rolls out, but I wanted to ask if there were any changes I could make to make it more useful for you and proofreaders. Let me know if you need anything.

Or, of course, any new needs that might be met by a new app.

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Thank you for asking, but I can’t think of any right now. Perhaps others here?

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