Typing up the Udanavarga translation: a volunteer project

I’ve come across another project for a volunteer. This time, it’s the English translation of the Sanskrit Udanavarga. This is one of the several Dhammapada-style texts that is available. There are translations from the Tibetan version of this text, but so far as I know this is the only translation in English.

Chapters 1-15 (of the total 33) were translated from the Sanskrit into French by NP Chakravati and Sylvain Levi (ch. 4). The French translation was translated into English by the experienced Buddhist translator Sara Boin Webb and published in the Buddhist Studies Review over several editions starting in 1981.

A scanned copy of the text is available in several places on the web, which I have OCR-d. The PDF extremely poor quality, so the OCR is even more patchy than usual. Still, some parts of it may be useful.

The text is about 8,500 words. It needs a careful proofreading, and many parts have to be typed afresh. If anyone is interested to take up this job, it would be much appreciated.

Here’s the pdf and the OCR-d text file.

udanavarga.zip (7.6 MB)

i’ll be glad to do it


Most excellent! Have a look at the files and let me know how it is.

This is a straight typing job, so at the end of the day we’ll just use plain text. But what software you use is up to you, just don’t expect any fancy formatting to survive!

so a plain text with discernible divisions between verses will do, right?

That’s right, just a line space. You’ll find that’s mostly what’s in the text file already. Keep the verse numbers at the beginning of each verse.


occasionally in the original text sanskrit words with diacritics pop up, do we keep the original spelling or can we simplify them to plain Latin?

Best to keep the diacriticals.

OK, and is it necessary to keep translation credits given after each varga?

No, don’t worry about that. Just make sure the text is there. We’ll add the credits as metadata later.

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1 there’re some incomplete and missing verses in the in the Chapter XII of the Sanskrit text and the translators give alongside or instead of them their alleged parallels from the Tibetan version in italics, which fact they forestall at the beginning of the varga with a note

how do we handle this? if we keep that, i could insert tags for italics in the plain text or there’s an option to distinguish between the variants by the type of parentheses used for the verse numbers: square for the incomplete Sanskrit version verses (as is in the original text) and round for Tibetan


[11.] … the wise… from the bond of Mara [incomplete].
(11.) There is no other road but this one that leads to perfect enlightenment; by concentrating your mind on it you will cast off the bonds of Mara.

and consequently amend the note at the beginning of the varga accordingly

2 in the chapter XI verse 15 a Sanskrit word spelled something like Pravtajita is used, the scan copy is faint at its spot and so the correct spelling is difficult to ascertain
i didn’t find such a word in Sanskrit, neither the word pravta separately

there’re words prapta and pranta of which prapta would make more sense in combination with jita to mean something like ‘one who attained maturity’ (not sure about grammatical sense of such a compound), which could go well with the topic of the verse, but there’s no such word as Praptajita either

I should have mentioned this, just leave the Tibetan sections out. We will include a full translation of the Tibetan at some stage, I hope.

It’s pravrajita.

i should have recognized the Pali pabbajita in it, thank you


i hope i’m done

uv_en-TXT.zip (16.9 KB)

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Does anyone know of any spanish translations for this texts? I have been looking for it, but no luck.

Thanks so much, this is terrific. There’s one thing I’d like to ask you to do, I hope it’s okay. Most of the verses have line breaks, these should be removed. In fact the last several chapters are correct, we need to me the rest like this. So for example:

26. One of the things pertains to the present world: the other 
pertains to the world to come: it is because he has an intuit
ion of things that the thinker is called a sage.


26. One of the things pertains to the present world: the other pertains to the world to come: it is because he has an intuition of things that the thinker is called a sage.

I’ve not heard of a Spanish version, but then, I hadn’t heard of this English version till recently. There is, however, a French version, if anyone can find this it would be great.

Thank you Bhante.

A lot of this verses look very helpful for my meditation group. I may have to start a translation if there is none available, but I am not an expert in that subject. If I do end up doing it, I will send them to you.

I will also look for the French version, I might actually find it.

That would be terrific. It would be better to use the French version as a starting point. I can’t find it anywhere on the web. But it could probably be requested through a University or other central library.

most definitely

it appears that the software does matter, i did it in the Notepad and with the Word wrap option disabled it didn’t betray any line breaks, but they were visible in Sublime, so now i hope i removed them for good, please have a look

UPD 4: uv_en-TXT.zip (16.6 KB)