TRANSLATION
SERVICES

 

As Tibetan Buddhism meets the West, more and more lamas and teachers from Asia are able to teach students directly in English and other Western languages. This is a delightful development, as it brings us closer to the lineage masters and living Buddhist wisdom tradition.

Dharma Tibetan is highly technical, however, and salient words are rich in shades of meaning difficult to carry from Tibetan into other languages. Moreover, English and other Western languages are typically far more prolific than Tibetan, and finding the mot juste to render the Tibetan accurately may be difficult, even for native speakers.

Thus, some Dharma teachers who can navigate English quite well in everyday settings nevertheless prefer an interpreter for oral teachings. 

Working with classical Tibetan texts, be it for study or practice, is a whole other story. Classical language carries a rarefied frequency. Intended for personal use, these texts require heightened attention to precision and poetry in the target language. While this approach takes more time, it is central to our philosophy that translating Dharma is more art than science, a matter of transmitting subtle ideas and evoking lived experience rather than drawing strict terminological equivalents. 

As a result, a great deal of time and preparation is needed to be able to understand, not only the words, but the underlying meaning of the Dharma, to allow for accurate and potent transmission of the substance of teachings, texts, and practice liturgies. Gifted translators of Tibetan Buddhadharma engage in language and philosophy studies and meditation practice for years, even decades, to hone their craft.

The economics of Dharma centers often means that it is difficult, if not impossible, to support qualified translators on a salaried basis. Usually, translators are hired as independent contractors for specific teachings. In this system, compensating translators at a living wage is challenging for everyone.

At this time, it is not realistic for us to take on translation and interpreting work with frequency. We have implemented these guidelines to facilitate making reasonable arrangements for translation services that we are able to undertake. Rates vary with the kind of work, the time commitment required, the requesting party, and other factors. 

We ask parties interested in booking translation or interpretation services to use these guidelines as a reference point for their proposal.

As with every contribution to Prajna Fire, 100% of the proceeds support our Dharma work and scholarships for students otherwise unable to attend teachings.

 

RATE GUIDELINES

TEXT TRANSLITERATION OR TRANSLATION

Practice sadhana up to 10 pages
$15 -25 per double sided Tibetan style page

Philosophical text up to 10 pages
$30 -50 per per double sided Tibetan style page

 

More than 10 pages: Inquire

AUDIO OR VIDEO INTERPRETATION & TRANSCRIPTION

$500 - 750 / hour of recording time or part thereof

REMOTE ORAL INTERPRETATION

Personal interviews

$50 per hour or part thereof

Preparation sessions for Dharma teachings
$35 per hour or part thereof

One-time teachings on general Dharma topics

Single day of teaching up to two hours per session
$ 100 / session

Two- to four-day teaching up to (2) two hour sessions per day

$ 90 / session

Five-day to two-week teaching up to (2) two hour sessions per day
$ 85 / session  

More than two-week teaching

Inquire

Ongoing specialized Dharma teachings

One or more days on a weekly, monthly, or other repeating basis

Inquire

IN PERSON ORAL INTERPRETATION

Supplemental rate in addition to remote interpreting

$ 30 / session

Travel expenses plus room and board: Reimbursement

REVIEW OR MEDITATION SESSIONS IN SUPPORT OF TEACHINGS
$ 50 / session

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These are guidelines based on our experience interpreting and translating in different settings. No two Dharma offerings are alike, however, so feel free to use these rates as a starting point, and contact us with a detailed proposal for your specific needs. 

We encourage Shangpa and Karma Kagyu lamas and centers to contact us with details of their specific needs for lineage rates.