Tibetan Translator Program

Tibetan Language

According to Bon history, the original Tibetan alphabet was copied from the ancient Zhang-Zhung alphabet before the reign of the second Tibetan king, Mukri Tsedpo. Later, in the 7th Century AD, Songsten Gampo, the 33rd king of the Yarlung Dy nasty of southern Tibet and the first Emperor of Tib et, sent Thonmi Sambhota, one of his ministers, to India to gather information on Indian Buddhism. The minister then reputedly devised a new script for Tibetan based on the Devanagari model and also wrote a grammar of Tibetan based on Zhang-zhung grammars. Here is an example of Zhang-Zhung text, the words “Yungdrung Bon”, followed by the same text in the newer Tibetan script that is better known by the world:

Throughout the centuries Tibetan has been written using different scripts. Two scripts, U-chen and U-me, are the most common. U-chen is the script you see on this site. It has been used for centuries to print religious books and is used today for books, newspapers media. U-me is more of a handwriting script, although it is sometimes used in books. Students will learn both scripts and utilize a computer tutorial for pronunciation and letter recognition.

The Tibetan alphabet consists of 30 consonants and four vowels. The consonants are traditionally arranged in a set of four columns and eight rows.

Gyalshen Institute Tibetan Translator Program

Participation in this program presents an opportunity for you to access the
teachings in a new and dynamic way. You can gradually advance your skills in
translating written Tibetan by learning to identify the basic letter characters and
word construction, then go on to develop an understanding of grammar and usage.
The culmination of the program enables you to join in the important activity of
translation and analysis of Bön texts for the compassionate benefit of many in the

Classes are divided into three groups based on the experience and capacity of each
student. Each class term lasts 12 weeks. Once per week, we will meet for
approximately one hour, either in person or via Skype, to review exercises, answer
questions and examine new materials.

Tibetan Language Learning Tools