Week 2 : Monsoon Breaks, Translations Begin

This past week was very exciting and productive. I arrived in cool Dharamsala right as the monsoon was breaking. Through the sheets of rain, I caught a glimpse of the majestic Himalayas from the taxi window on the drive up to lush McLeod Ganj, where His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama lives.

Work started right away, the day after His Holiness’ 77th Birthday. The sense of joy was palpable from dawn to dusk, little girls running around in traditional dress and music filling the streets.

The SLSI hired a team of three student-translators: Kunchok, Lobsang and Damdul (for more information, click on the “Meet the Translators” page above). For a week now, we have been working together three hours in the morning and two to three hours in the afternoon — although these guys have a tendency to work overtime and I have to pull them away from their work. Lobsang explains: “This project is so beautiful. I want to give all my time for free.” Still as enthusiastic as the first day!

We’re almost done with the first and biggest step: translating the books. Each translator works on one title at a time. When one has a question, we all focus our attention on whatever term or idea he is struggling with, and then go back to our individual tasks. Dictionaries are scattered all over the table, pens click on and off, and the occasional grunt or sigh of concentration breaks the otherwise perfect silence.

Typing everything into Word documents (step 2) begins this afternoon. Onwards and upwards!

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