On March 11th, 2023, Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto (FGS Toronto) had the honor to invite Venerable Miao Guang to hold a four-hours long translation workshop for young people who are committed to the "Localization of Humanistic Buddhism". Venerable Miao Guang is currently the Deputy Chancellor and Director of the Department of International Affairs of Fo Guang Shan Institute of Humanistic Buddhism and she also serves as the Director of the Fo Guang Dictionary of Buddhism English Translation Project. Venerable Miao Guang was accompanied by Venerable Zhi Yue who is the English Translation Editor of FGS Institute of Humanistic Buddhism. The workshop was specifically designed for young people who are committed to the localization of Humanistic Buddhism and provided valuable tips of both written and oral translation. 25 students cherish this rare opportunity to learn together.
Venerable Miao Guang inquired about the ongoing translation work at FGS Toronto. About half of the participants are engaged in simultaneous interpretation (also known as “simultaneous translation”) for both written and oral communications, including two volunteers who have joined the Fo Guang Dictionary of Buddhism English Translation Project. Some volunteers without previous translation experience expressed their eagerness to join the temple's translation team. Venerable Miao Guang hoped that all the volunteers would have a clear understanding of their purpose for participating in this workshop and then apply what they have learned to the localization of Humanistic Buddhism.
Next, Venerable Miao Guang then explained how to decode the seemingly complicated and challenging task of visual Chinese translation. She emphasized that "visual translation" is an iterative process that requires multiple rounds of revisions and improvements to convey the meaning of the original text seamlessly. She had demonstrated how to break down the translation process into fragments of individual characters, words, and sentences, and then rephrased them to form a complete translation.
After a short break, the participants joined Venerable Zhi Yue in learning how to use electronic tools to assist in their translations. Tools such as electronic dictionaries containing both Buddhism terminologies and non-Buddhism terminologies enable those with incomplete knowledge of the language to assist in their translation work. Venerable Miao Guang highlighted the importance of utilizing tools to enhance our abilities, drawing a parallel to how we use cars to travel to faraway places, instead of walking on our own two feet. After learning how to use the tools, the participants practiced using their computers and smartphones to translate some of the more challenging Buddhist verses.
Venerable Miao Guang praised the potential of Toronto BLIA translation team, and encouraged all the volunteers to continue their hard work. She also suggested the participants re-group regularly, either biweekly or monthly to continue practicing and exchange ideas. This will improve their simultaneous interpretation skills. If time permits, Venerable Miao Guang and Venerable Zhi Yue will join online for future translation practice.
The four-hour training session flew by quickly. The participants expressed that the training had given them renewed courage and strength to continue their work on localizing Humanistic Buddhism and strive towards fulfilling the wish of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the founder of Fo Guang Shan temple, for peace and happiness to shine over the five continents.