Some thoughts about interpretation 

-Johanna Joergensen from Sweden

It is explained that the way to approach the Buddhist teachings is by following a gradual method of studying, contemplating and meditating. By doing so we can really internalize the teachings and their meaning into our own being, and that will then be reflected in our speech and actions.  

Keeping this in mind I am so grateful to right now be taking the Translator Training Program at Rangjung Yeshe. You may ask why, and in what way it relate to the above-mentioned? 

Obviously, I can only speak for myself, but my experience is that to be able to render what has been said, most preferable in your own languish, then first of all you have to understand it. But apart from that you also need to really make the understanding your own and the only way to do that is by reflecting on its meaning.  

So, to be able to interpret, apart from knowing the source languish you also need to really know the topic in order to be able interpret it correctly. By knowing I mean that you have to have made that knowledge your own.  

To try to interpret when the topic that is given is new to you, is like running after a train that is already speeding up. But on the other hand, to interpret a topic that one has at least a basic understanding of is like sitting relaxed on the train and being able to really focus on what is being said.  

Because however well you may know a topic there is always more to know and other ways to explain it. So, the prior understanding you may have should only be like a base that makes you relax. You have to be careful that it does not block you from really listening to what is being taught.  

And for the third part, meditation, I have also gained the experience that in order to be able to interpret one has to be able to stay really focused and at the same time be very relaxed. It is actually like meditation in that sense. If you are distracted by any other outer or inner object, you lose focus and you will not be able to get what was being taught. If you are too tense, you won’t get it and if you are too dull, you won´t get it either.  

So, in that sense, I have found it necessary to apply the three, listening, reflecting and meditation to the activities of an interpreter. 

One thought on “Some thoughts about interpretation 

  1. Namo Amitābhāya,
    Great advice for those who are teaching or learning any subject. Thanks for this blog post. Namo Amitābha.

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