Monday, December 05, 2005

Expressions - LA SOGS PA

Let's take some very common expressions and patterns you could see when looking at classical Tibetan texts. One of my favourite ones is la sogs pa, sometimes sogs pa. It means et cetera, and so on, and the like, and so forth. It's actually a very common expression in commentary texts.

Try to search for la sogs pa in this text, Compendium of All Trainings by Master Shantideva, yes this is the other famous text Master Shantideva wrote, a collection of all the important Sutra trainings, with references to sutras that we don't even have available today.

One reason this expression is very common is that some of the texts assume that the reader has studied the topic before, or read about it in the same commentary. The other issue is that it's really tough to carve from wood all the needed blocks for printing texts (the pages are called pechas in Tibetan). So to minimize the amount of words, the writer sometimes added a statement such as 'you know from before'. It's also typical for Tibetan texts to sometimes be terse and to the point.

When translating such cases, either you push it to the reader, or now with computers and easier ways to publish material, it would be preferred to either make a footnote, or then really add in the knowledge directly to the sentence, this to clarify the point.

Now, it also means that you need to know the topic, good translators have spent a long time mastering the actual topic before attempting to translate such texts.

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