By Tenzin Monlam
Ven Lobsang Monlam speaking during the Fifth Monlam Tibetan Information Technology Conference, LTWA Hall, Gangchen Kyishong, March 20, 2017 Phayul Photo/Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, MARCH 20: “With nearly 300 million Chinese Buddhists, it is imperative that we have accurate translations of Tibetan terminologies into Chinese Language,” said Ven. Lobsang Monlam, founder of Monlam Tibetan Information Technology, known for introducing the widely used Monlam Tibetan fonts, at the opening of its fifth annual conference here.
“In terms of language, Tibetan is the foremost with Chinese coming next. Buddhists not only from China but also from Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and others will benefit. For that we are translating a hundred thousand root terms (ma-tsek) into Chinese first, which begun almost a year ago,” Ven. Monlam said, adding they also have plans for a Mongolian translation after finishing the Chinese translation by next year.
Through the conference, the creator of Monlam Unicode also aims to enhance Buddhist terminologies with help from the representatives of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism attending the conference. Since different schools have varied connotation to a term, the founder wants to avoid lasting impact due to improper translations.
“It is all up to us. If we manage to elevate our language to an international level, our work is done. So it is very important that we have accurate and well-developed translations. Our work will be of great benefit for the future generations,” he said at the conference participated by over 40 people including historians.
With backing from 12 institutions and in talks with various IT companies, the organization is working towards having the Tibetan language as a part of the default setup in various operating systems.
Representing the Central Tibetan Administration, the Education Minister Ngodup Tsering and Additional Secretary Tsering Samdup were present at the conference as special guests. The minister expressed his support and acknowledgement towards the initiative.
“Ever since Monlam Dictionary came about, the number of CTA staff asking for Tibetan spellings have dropped drastically. All the credit goes to him and his team for enabling our language to walk shoulder to shoulder in the modern world of technology,” said Kalon Ngodup Tsering.
The monk from Sera Monastery, a self taught developer, made his first Monlam Tibetan font in 2005. He has also created Monlam Common Tibetan Pronunciation, which was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2009.