• Translation is done from a Source Language into a Target Language.
  • The source and targets may be natural languages (e.g. English, Burmese, French, German)
  • The source may be a high-level Programming Language. The target may be Machine Language or a low-level Intermediate Language.

Burma Translation Society was formed primarily to translate reference and text from English to Burmese.

Pali Text Society published Pali texts and their translations (in English).

One of the Objectives of the Sixth Buddhist Council was to translate the Scriptures (including Commentaries and selected Sub-commentaries) from Pali into Burmese. Mahasi Sayadaw and his team (including Sayadaw U Silananda) compiled a Pali-Burmese Abhidan (Dictionary) to aid the translation of the Tipitaka.

Judson and his team compiled two Dictionaries

  • English to Burmese
  • Burmese to English.

There are several Dictionaries compiled by Burmese.

  • U Tun Nyein
  • Dr. Ba Han
  • U Ohn Pe (Tet Toe)
  • U Wun (Minthuwun) completed only part of his “Myanmar Abhidan” before his retirement.
  • U Hoke Sein took two decades to complete his Pali-English-Burmese Dictionary.

Lost in Translation

Some meaning can be lost in Translation.

Grapevine says that the Japanese were given an ultimatum. The response supposedly had two meanings :
(a) We will consider
(b) We don’t care
Due to “wrong” translation or miscommunication, the first A-bomb was released over Hiroshima.


Interpreters have to translate in real time. Many find it difficult to translate jokes or puns. One interpreter pleaded : “The dignitary is making a joke. If you want to help me retain my job, please applaud loudly and laugh heartily.” The job was saved.

WPD Sunday Supplement

Working People’s Daily (WPD) published a Sunday Supplement, which featured the translation of renowned authors and scholars such as

  • MMT (former Chief Justice U Myint Thein)
  • ZMT (former Ambassador U Zaw Myint Thein @ U Zaw Win)
  • Tet Toe (U Ohn Pe)
  • Sao Hso Holm (former Sawbwa & son of Arzani)

The Assistant Editor Daw Khin Swe Hla (formerly “Dawlay” at Guardian) wanted some fresh blood. She assigned me to translate a short story “Nge Thay Lo” by Sayagyi U Thu Kha. I tried my best to come up with “Still So Young” and received a remuneration of fifty kyats. Sayagyi was given fifty kyats.


I later volunteered as Translator and Interpreter at Meditation Retreats and selected events.

I also translated selected poems and articles
e.g. by Saya U Moe Aung (Tekkatho Moe War).

Categories: Translation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s