Will wrote: Namdrol wrote:
Will wrote:In Porter's defense, he avoided translating the Lanka for many years because he could not understand Gunabhadra's Chinese. It followed the Sanskrit syntax, which makes a profound text many times harder to understand, much less translate into English. The fact that only one other translation has appeared since 1932, suggests it was & is a very hard nut to crack.
If you don't know Tibetan or Sanskrit, then yes it could be.
The Tibetan version reads very straightfowardly though.
Good for Chos-grub, but he was translating from the Chinese of Gunabhadra, not the Sanskrit - why? - beats me. Also I wrote "Sanskrit syntax", but Porter wrote "Sanskrit word sequence" - if that makes any difference. A later Tibetan version by Anonymous is from the Sanskrit.
To my mind, Gunabhadra's is not too difficult. Not exactly easy, but not as opaque as Lokaksema or the like. Moreover, with a number of translations to read synoptically (eg. just use the 楞伽會譯), along with the Sanskrit (and Tibetan too), things can easily be worked out. And that is not even considering the various commentaries, and so forth. It's isn't too difficult to render a given passage with this wealth of material. However, it's more just a matter of having all the time required to go through the entire text thoroughly.
While somewhere I recall that Porter says he reads Sanskrit, from what I've seen, I'm not entirely convinced. Sanskrit is a grammar heavy language. Before I studied Sanskrit, I already knew a lot of Sanskrit basic terms, but no grammar. Which meant that I couldn't really make sense of it, just guessing. And using Suzuki isn't really going to help much here.
And actually, no - Gunabhadra does not really appear to follow the Sanskrit word order or syntax from what I can see. eg.
utpādabhaṅgarahito lokaḥ khapuṣpasaṃnibhaḥ
te prajñayā kṛpayā
ca te|| Lank_2.1||
māyopamāḥ sarvadharmāḥ cittavijñānavarjitāḥ
te prajñayā kṛpayā
ca te|| Lank_2.2||
śāśvatocchedavarjyaśca lokaḥ svapnopamaḥ sadā
te prajñayā kṛpayā
ca te|| Lank_2.3||
etc. you get the idea. (Hope it didn't psychedelic everyone out!) No. The Chinese word order is standard Chinese - SVO. And very standard word order / style for translation of Sutra, too. The Sanskrit is the usual, kind of SOV (skipping the instru. etc. etc.) So, don't know where this idea comes from at all, to be honest.
Though I think it great that Porter has made a translation - the more the better, and that he'll have the basic gist of the text, I have a few reservations. A while back, while this was being proof read, I heard from a real authority in this area who was involved in the process that it wasn't much of an improvement over Suzuki. I won't mention who this was, but if I have any credit on this Forum, I hope you can take my word for it. And, the philological issues like taking parts of one text and mixing them with parts of other texts is really just ... not on! Said authority also expressed serious concern about this too. (Okay, now I know that Conze did this for his "Large Sutra" translation, too, but ... now who is going to go out there and actually translate either the entire Astadasa- or Pancavimsati- now that he's done his hybrid philo-travesty thing? ... apart from fools like me, of course ... Again, useful, better than nothing, but it's a translation of "a text that never was", not really representing any actual text in existence.)
Still, it's easy to be a critic. Right now I'm getting some feedback from some of my own translation works, and it's that kind of petty stuff about a word here or a sentence there. But, I think, if the proof reader is so hot and sharp, why don't they just translate the whole thing? Exactly! Because picking apart a sentence or two is easy and has no responsibility. Sitting down to do the hard yards, or miles, or yojanas, of a complete translation ... that is certainly something that we should commend and appreciate.
And in the end, if we have any real complaints, the best way is to just get out there and do a better job ourselves!
</rant-off> grumble grumble .. .. ..
Getting back to the translation job over the winter break.