School for Tibetan Language and Translation

The School for Tibetan Language and Translation aims to form competent translators in order to keep alive the treasure of the tibetan literature and knowledge, with a specific interest to the Dharma texts, especially Dzogchen. We are deeply committed to give to interested people the means to read and understand the Tibetan texts they may use to study, to practice, to sing and so on.

Our courses


The Drajyor (སྒྲ་སྦྱོར་) is a system devised by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu to precisely represent the phonology of the Standard Tibetan Language, using the roman alphabet. Being very precise, this system is highly technical and rather complex. It is extremely useful for both students of Tibetan Language, as a support and reference to correct pronunciation, as well as for practitioners of the Dzogchen Community to correctly pronounce the tibetan texts of the practices.We offer complete courses to master the system (20 hours), as well as teachers’ training with certificates issued to successful participants.

Tibetan Language Courses

Our courses are designed to accompany students from the condition of absolute beginners to the state of being competent translators of classical Tibetan texts. Participating in an ongoing series of courses and trainings, students learn to read and write, the basic grammar and vocabulary. Later they start to actually work on texts drawn from many different genres and milieus, schools and philosophical views in order to train their capability to understand the language and to build a cultural background that will assist their translation work. 

At the intermediate and advanced levels, students are encouraged to work in groups, in order to exchange ideas and learn from one another. 

In this way, at each level, students obtain some concrete benefit: at the basic level they are able to read and correctly pronounce Tibetan texts, which is of particular benefit for practitioners. At the intermediate level students will be able to confront Tibetan texts with existing translations. Finally they will be able to read untranslated texts on their own and start producing their original works. 

A complete online Classical Tibetan course is also being currently developed.

Our Curriculum

Module 1 - Reading and writing (12 hours)

The first module encompasses: 

  • Introduction to Tibetan Language 
  • Learning how to read and write the thirty letters and four vowel signs of the tibetan alphabet.
  • Syllable formation (prescribed, superscribed, subscribed, final and post-final letters)
  • Correct pronunciation and spelling exercises.
  • Basic Tibetan Calligraphy

Module 2 - Grammar (60 hours)

  • Basics of Tibetan lexical morphology and word formation/word formatives. 
  • Types of syllables
  • Using dictionaries
  • Nominal syntagms and word order 
  • The structure of a Tibetan sentence  
  • Grammatical connectors and their function
  • Verbs
  • Tibetan Calligraphy
  • Exercise

Module 3 - Guided Translation (60 hours*)

In this module students start to read and to identify grammar and structure of simple sentences and excerpts from texts, they are guided in elaborating interpretation and translation step by step. 

This part is divided in two parts: 

  • open: translation of biographical, historical, scientific and doctrinal texts
  • restricted: guided translation of practice texts for members of the Dzogchen Community

Module 4 - Translation**

Students review in groups the translation of texts previously prepared individually.  

Two levels available:

  • open: translation of various treatises by different authors on a variety of subjects
  • resctricted: translation of some parts of the Precious Vase by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and of extended excerpts from texts quoted therein

Module 5 - Advanced Translation**

Students translate texts in groups and prepare them for publication. They also learn to research and produce a critical apparatus, footnotes, indexes and so forth. 

Two levels:

  • open: translations of texts intended for the general public 
  • restricted: translation of texts exclusively intended for members of the Dzogchen Community

Module 6 - restricted**

Students specialise in understanding and translating basic Dzogchen texts, including technical jargon, doctrinal perspectives and so forth.

Module 7 - restricted**

Translation of Dzogchen texts intended for publication.

* Number of hours is to be considered indicative

** Precise time needed cannot be determined.