The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA), Dharamsala, will organize the fourth three-month Intensive Translation Program (ITP) from 20th July to 20th October 2009. The ITP will exclusively cover the various methods and practices adopted in the translation of Buddhist teachings and scriptures.

Through the ages, translation (a simple yet complicated process of rendering a piece of information from its language of origin so that it may be expressed within a different culture) has proven the greatest force behind constructive interaction among humankind. Translation has enabled the sharing and exchanging of knowledge on religion, culture, science, technology, education, tradition, arts and so forth among people of different cultural and environmental backgrounds. For the Tibetans, translation ushered in a golden era as it facilitated the advent of Buddhism in Tibet from India in the late seventh century.

Today, Tibet's identity is largely characterized by the principles and values enshrined in the innumerable ancient Buddhist scriptures that have been translated from the languages of India and other countries. Though its history is brief compared to other ancient countries, Tibet has witnessed one of the highest rates of Buddhist translation in the world, both in quality and quantity. The quality of translation works by the great scholars motivated solely by the intention to benefit others continued for hundreds of years under the patronage of the Tibetan kings and the successive rulers.

The Chinese invasion and its occupation of Tibet in 1959 resulted in the mass killing of Tibetans, including monks and nuns, and vast destruction of temples and monasteries. The infamous decade-long Chinese "Cultural Revolution" (1966―1977) and the subsequent repressive policies instituted by the Chinese government further intensified religious and cultural persecution, ravaging much of the priceless Tibetan literary, religious and cultural wealth. The illegal occupation forced Tibet's spiritual and temporal leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and thousands of Tibetans to flee into exile and seek asylum in India and elsewhere.

Today, despite all adversity, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-exile, with generous support from India and other countries, have taken tremendous strides towards rebuilding the ancient monasteries and cultural institutions and opening new schools for the teaching of modern subjects. This effort has led to the establishment of many cultural centers, including one of the oldest: the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala in the north of India.

Founded in 1971, the LTWA was formally recognized as a "Centre for Tibetan Studies" by the Himachal Pradesh University and as a "National Library," "National Archive" and "National Museum" by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile on 9th February 1996. With an extensive library facility aided by several other departments, the LTWA functions as an academic centre for Buddhist and Tibetan studies.

In the wake of the new millennium and the ongoing struggle for Tibet's freedom, Tibetans stand face to face with two major challenges: firstly, to sustain their unique identity through the preservation of their distinct culture and religion, and secondly to begin to embrace modern science and technology and seek to excel in these areas for the betterment of Tibet and the world. In view of these challenges, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-exile have worked tirelessly towards the rebuilding of monasteries and centers for cultural education, and the opening of new schools for teaching modern subjects.

These two challenges further spur the need for translations to enable both the dissemination of Tibet's ancient spiritual culture to the materialistically advanced West and the assimilation of Western knowledge of modern science and technology to further Tibetans' spiritual richness. This imperative could well yield an unprecedented growth of literary works to add to the already vast Tibetan literary collections, and will significantly help to ensure the intellectual growth of a nation. In light of these pressing needs, the LTWA has been organizing its annual ITP for the last three years.

The program shall be conducted for a period of three months from 15th July to 15th October 2009. However, classes will not be held on Sundays, on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, on Tibetan national holidays and during His Holiness' teachings in Dharamsala. Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% of classes.

Throughout the period, the ITP will primarily focus on four subjects: Buddhist philosophy and practice, Tibetan language, English language and translation methodology and practice. On each working day there will be four or five classes of 50–60 minutes.

At times, extra classes will be conducted to provide students with direct interaction with scholars. Whenever possible, the LTWA will also invite experienced translators and scholars to speak on related topics. Students can also attend scholarly talks organized by the LTWA for the general public.

The LTWA will entrust students with translation tasks during the training program such as translating religious and secular texts from Tibetan to English and vice-versa. Translated works may be published by the LTWA.

The ITP will be administered under Geshe Lhakdor, the Director of the LTWA. The teaching faculty consists of experienced translators and language teachers with years of experience teaching international students. There are seven teachers. The number of teachers may change in the event of their unavailability.

  • Buddhist philosophy             Geshe Lobsang Tsondue
  • Tibetan language                  Acharya Naga Sangye Tandar
  • English language                  Ms. Katrina Moxey (Australia)
  • Translation methodology    Mr. Tenzin Tsepak
                                                     Geshe Lhakdor
  • Translation practice             Dr. Chok Tenzin Monlam

Extra support
During the program, students are free to ask for any assistance, technical or otherwise, from the existing LTWA staff for the furtherance of their knowledge. Assistance may include free use of the Tibetan and foreign language reference library sections. Students can also avail themselves of services such as the copying of audio-recordings containing Buddhist translations, photocopying, etc. at nominal charges.

In all, the program will facilitate the training of thirty students: fifteen gratis and fifteen private students.
Gratis Students
Fifteen seats will be reserved for gratis students. They will be selected through the regular selection process (see SELECTION AND ADMISSION) and provided with accommodation and a monthly food allowance.

Individual Students (Private)
Five seats will be reserved for students exhibiting an in-depth knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and having adequate knowledge of spoken and written Tibetan and English. This category will consider applications from private Tibetan individuals (as opposed to the following categories).

Institutional Students (Private)
Five seats will be reserved for candidates officially sent by monastic, academic or medical institutes. They also must have an in-depth knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and an adequate knowledge of spoken and written Tibetan and English. This category will accept applications directly from the institutes in favor of their candidates, whose skills will eventually be utilized by the respective institutes.

Non-Tibetan Students (Private)
Five seats will be reserved for non-Tibetan candidates. They too must have an in-depth knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and adequate knowledge of spoken and written Tibetan and English.

The LTWA will select and enroll fifteen gratis students, five private students, five institutional students and five non-Tibetan students for the ITP 2009.

Admission for the gratis quota will be advertised in Tibetan newspapers such as Bod kyi dus babas (Tibet Times), in the Tibetan Review, on the LTWA official website ( and on

Selection of Gratis Students
Each student applying under the gratis quota is required to fulfill the essential requirements for admission to the ITP. The basic requirements are:

  • Copy of updated Registration Certificate (RC)
  • Copy of updated Tibetan Green Book
  • Copy of Bachelor degree or equivalent degree (10+2+3 system)
  • Copy of Class XII certificate or equivalent (with Tibetan as one of the subjects)
  • No Objection Certificate from current employer, if employed
  • Two essays (400–500 words), one in Tibetan and one in English, discussing your educational background and work experience

In the event of any confusion regarding the term "Bachelor or its equivalents", equivalence standards adopted by the Public Service Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration or the Government of India shall be considered the definitive source.

Selection under this category will be made on the basis of academic degree, marks obtained in the final three-year Bachelor degree, work experience and other factors as specified hereunder in order of priority:

  • Academic degree
  • Formal degree in Buddhism or other religious studies
  • Marks obtained in the final three years of Bachelor or equivalent course
  • Years of service, whether paid or voluntary
  • Other academic achievements

Selection will be made strictly on the basis of merit in each of these above determinants. For instance, if two students have the same degree and background in religious studies, the third determinant—marks acquired in the three years of the Bachelor or equivalent studies—shall determine the choice among the two candidates.

Selection of Individual Students (Private)
Selection under this category will be made on the basis of educational background, work experience and other achievements as specified hereunder in order of priority:

  • Formal training in Buddhism (course level completed, if a degree such as Geshe or Khenpo is not held)
  • Years of service, whether paid or voluntary
  • Any other achievements

Selection will be made strictly on the basis of merit in each of the above determinants. For instance, if two candidates have the same educational background in religious studies, the next determining factor, in accordance with the order of priority, will determine the choice among the two candidates.

Selection of Institutional Students (Private)
Unless institutes specify their preferences among their students, selection under this category will be made in the same manner as the Selection of Individual Students (Private).

Selection of Foreign Students (Private)

  • Credentials showing knowledge of Buddhism
  • Credentials showing adequate knowledge in Tibetan and English languages

Selection Committee
All matters relating to the selection and admission of students will be overseen by a committee comprising:

  • The LTWA Director
  • The LTWA Secretary
  • The Head of the Research and Translation Department
  • The Head of the Tibetan Culture and Research Department


In the event of any disagreement, the decision of the Selection Committee shall be final and binding.

On completion of the program, the LTWA will confer upon students a certificate stating that they have successfully completed the Intensive Translation Program 2009. Only those attending a minimum of 80% of the total working classes will be entitled to receive the certificate. Should a student fail to fulfill the minimum attendance requirement, no reasons—medical or otherwise—shall be entertained for the issuance of any certificate.

Students excelling in their studies and exhibiting special skills during the program will be, if deemed proper, allowed to work at the LTWA as translators and so forth. The student will, in such cases, be entitled to a monthly wage and allowance, as decided by the LTWA.

Each of the students selected under the gratis quota will be granted a monthly stipend of Rs. 2,000 (two thousand) in lieu of a food allowance during the program. The LTWA will arrange accommodation for all gratis students for the entire period of the program. Once rooms are allotted, each occupant shall strictly observe the rules of the institution and maintain the cleanliness of rooms and the surroundings. If, however, the LTWA is not able to accommodate all the students, a limited monthly house rental allowance will be given, on request, to each gratis student who does not receive the LTWA accommodation.

No fee will be charged to students, gratis or private, for any class or extra-curricular activity that the LTWA might conduct during the program.

In the event of any dispute relating to the program, the LTWA reserves the sole right to make decisions or to entrust such cases to the appropriate bodies. The LTWA also reserves the right to terminate the program for any significantly viable reason or suspend a student for any improper action or behavior.