12th Tibetan Translator Training-Merigar

The course of Tibetan Translator Training for intermediate and advanced students organized by the Shang Shung Institute Austria was held for the 12th consecutive year at Merigar West in Tuscany under the guidance of Prof. Fabian Sanders, professor of Tibetan Language and Literature at the Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice.

In addition to those students who were present, several others from places as far afield as Finland, Nepal and Poland were able to attend the course via Skype.

One of the students, Nicola Bajetta, spoke about his experience of the course.

Ka-ter Tib. course

I would have never thought that 20 days of intensive Tibetan translation training could go by so quickly.

As I first approached the text on which I would have been working on for the first three or four days, I was overwhelmed by the complexity of the language. It appeared to me as though I had to decipher some kind of incomprehensible code with few keys to understand it at my disposal. Without doubt the knowledge of the basic grammatical structures of the language that I acquired in university has been essential in breaking through the initial barriers encountered in every text, but it has been fundamental to cooperate with people with a solid experience in the field and an overall knowledge in Tibetan and Indian culture.

Prof. Fabian Sanders with students during the course

Prof. Fabian Sanders with students during the course

The relationship between fellow students and professor was from the first moment very relaxed and always of mutual respect, creating an atmosphere in which everyone was encouraged to discuss and compare different interpretations, making it possible to proceed at best in the translation of the texts.

The most exciting thing is certainly the language itself, in which every single sentence is hardly understandable on its own, acquiring meaning in the totality of the text, but always maintaining a certain degree of ambiguity. I’m convinced that the study of the language is one of the best and most direct ways through which one can thoroughly understand the culture at issue, therefore I believe that this training is extremely important for whoever wishes to strengthen their knowledge in the Tibetan culture by learning how to directly consult its written sources, as well as for those who have no academic background in the field who approach it for the first time. Being one of the latter, the course has had a decisive influence in directing my future studies, and therefore I highly recommend it to everyone.

Download PDF