- Dear Tony, me ole fruit, rather than slag you off as they do in the the asuric bar-rooms of the lha ma yin, I would like to bring to your notice the English that most of speak, which is a flexible, fluid, impressionistic language, and the English that most of us try to write, which has at least seven levels of ambiguity, each level of meaning invoked by nuances of word choice and juxtaposition. Dzogchen texts likewise have levels and levels, and individual syllables and words cannot be pinned down fascistically with a single english meaning. To the contrary, context requires that a wide variety of synonyms and close synonyms are at hand to express the subtleties of the mystical verbal expression of Dzogchen.
So there seem to be at least two quite distinct ways of translation; the mechanistic literal method that provides a mirror image of grammar and syntax and uses the same equivalent word in every context, and the interpretive free method that seeks to invoke a cloudburst of invocative meaning in poetic english prose. The former requires a rationalistic code, similar to the one that you have designed, which the reader needs to become familiar with to gain full benefit; the latter hopes to stir a congruous impression that stimulates equal sentiments. Just look at Cleary’s translations of Chan and Taoist texts from the Chinese – they demonstrates the interpretive method at full throttle.
There is little point in detraction of one methodology by the other – they are as dissimilar as chalk and cheese – and, ok, sometimes neither of us gets it spot on. But although we may talk to different audiences don’t we both have the same aim?
You may note that I have left this group – I don’t see much Dzogchen or self-release going on here, more like Trumpish politics…
How does everyone feel about this idea of "two quite distinct ways of translation"? I personally do not see the point of an "interpretive free method", as in the case of Dowman's efforts, this allegedly intentional "loose style" often seems to lose the meaning the original text intends to convey. Curious to hear what others think.