Electronic Tibetan Dictionaries

The Tibetan Language Institute has many electronic dictionaries available. For more information about Tibetan Computer Company (TCC) products, click here. TLI has many of these products listed at reduced prices.

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Illuminator Tibetan-English Dictionary (TCC)

World's first properly-executed Tibetan-English dictionary. Many special features; full hypertext makes it like an encyclopedia; useful to people at all levels from beginners to experts. Contains: the most complete verb listings and explanations available anywhere; the complete Lishi'i.mgur.khang, a text on old and new terms from 1476; several Enumerations of Dharmas (Kawa Paltsheg, 8th century, Nagarjuna, various Tibetan authors; many terms and explanations of grammar not available elsewhere, especially from Situ's Great Commentary; many terms from Mahamudra and Maha-Ati; and many translations of texts with Tibetan. This is a professional product, produced from the ground up using Tibetan sources, scholars, etc. The package contains two full versions of the dictionary: one using Tibetan script directly and one using Wylie transliteration.

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For Windows.


New Edition! Sarat Chandra Das Tibetan-English Dictionary. (TCC)

This new electronic edition contains the entire, original dictionary, fully edited. It is the original but with the English carefully edited to clean it up and make it suitable for use in electronic form. The editorial work was done according to academic standards.

The electronic version gives access to a large body of information that has always been in the dictionary but which frequently could not be accessed because the information was provided in places where the reader might not think to look. This wealth of information in the original print dictionary becomes readily available in the electron edition with the use of TibetD Reader--all of the excellent references otherwise buried in the text become immediately available.

The Illuminator Tibetan-English Dictionary has supplanted Sarat Chandra Das's dictionary in many ways and should be used as a base dictionary. However, the Das Dictionary does provide lard amounts of information concerning botany, medicine, ancient Indian history and so on that do not appear in any other resource. We find it essential as a second dictionary resource.

For Windows.


Geshe Chodrak's Tibetan-Tibetan Dictionary. (TCC)

There have not been many native Tibetan dictionaries. The few that were made in earlier times were almost unusable because they were written in a style that did not allow for easy look-up of terms. In the 20th century, three dictionaries were made that were, for the first time, usable as dictionaries. The first was made in Lhasa in 1944 and was the last major Tibetan-Tibetan dictionary produced before the Communist Chinese takeover. It was the dictionary presented here, made by Geshe Chodrak with the assistance of the remarkable erudite modern scholar, Gendun Chophel. The other two dictionaries were made in the 1970's-80's well after the Communist takeover, and were both considerable influenced by Chinese thought and needs. Geshe Chodrak's dictionary, on the other hand, was written in a purely Tibetan situation without another culture overseeing the work and insisting on changes that reflected its own needs.

This dictionary is large and has extensive listings of terms. The whole dictionary appears in Tibetan text as a service to Tibetans themselves and to students of the Tibetan language who want a native Tibetan dictionary uncluttered by English or Chinese definitions. The definitions given are short but clear.

Geshe Chodrak's dictionary is not as useful as the Illuminator or the electronic Das Dictionary when it comes to verbs. These other dictionaries lay out all of the tense forms for each verb and do a much better job of it.

On the other hand, Geshe Chodrak's dictionary does feature short but precise definitions and does include obscure terms not found elsewhere, making it extremely useful to students of the language at all levels. It will be particularly useful for students who are advanced enough to want to start using a Tibetan-Tibetan dictionary but who cannot penetrate the difficult and terse language of The Great Chinese-Tibetan Dictionary.

For Windows.


Mahavyutpatti Sanskrit-Tibetan-English Glossary. (TCC)

The Mahavyutpatti is a Tibetan text that was prepared in the 9th century A.D. at the command of Tibetan king Tri Ralpachen.  The translations of Buddhist texts that had been made up to that time were inconsistent because Tibetan terminology for the terms in the original Sanskrit texts was not settled.  Thus the king decreed that his principal translators should make an glossary of Sanskrit terms and Tibetan equivalents first then should use it to revise all of the Tibetan translations of Buddhist texts done up till that time.  The translators did so, and the new glossary contained an extensive listing of Sanskrit terms followed by Tibetan terms which were set down by royal decree as the official Tibetan equivalents (skad dod) of the Sanskrit ones.  The glossary became a basis for making not only the revised translations of the time for the Kangyur and Tangyur but all of the translations that happened over the next several centuries.  Thus it effectively settled much of Tibetan Buddhist terminology for the future.

The name Mahavyutpatti is the short translation back into Sanskrit by its authors, of the Tibetan name given to it: lo paN mang pos mdzad pa’i bye brag rtogs byed chen mo.  The name translates into The Great Work Made by Many Lotsawas and Pandits that Brings Comprehension of Particulars.

The Mahavyutpatti was first translated into English by the Hungarian Alexander Csoma de Körös, and the first part published in Calcutta 1834 by the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal.  The Society published a second portion in 1910 and the third and final portion in 1944.  These have been used as a basis for a fully searchable, electronic edition of the entire work that contains English translations, Tibetan text, and transliterated Sanskrit equivalents.  The electronic edition should be of immense value to those studying and translating the Tibetan language.

This edition is made even more useful by the fact that the TibetD Reader software allows it to be used in conjunction with the other dictionaries listed above.  Körös’s English translations are often remarkably good, though they are mistaken in some cases.  With one of the other TCC dictionaries (the Illuminator is recommended for the purpose), you can click on a term in the Mahavyutpatti and immediately see an up-to-date translation of the term with a full commentary and links to related subjects included.  For this reason, the Mahvyutpatti is not recommended as a stand-alone dictionary, but for use with other TCC dictionaries.

For Windows.


Rangjung Yeshe Tibetan-English Dictionary of Buddhist Culture Version 3
(Erik Pema Kunzang)

The Tibetan-English Dictionary of Buddhist Culture from Rangjung Yeshe Publications presents Dharma terminology of Buddhist literature, especially Mahamudra and Dzogchen. This is a significant update of the Dharma dictionary--the database has grown to 276,000 entries.

The Dharma Dictionary is a compilation of:
• entries from existing dictionaries
• essential word-lists and extensive glossaries
• examples of usage selected from translations
• terminology used by translators
• definitions and clarifications from classical literary works
• information about literary personages, places, scripture titles

This Tibetan-English electronic dictionary is a compilation from numerous translators and translation-groups, and the current version includes the dictionary of James Valby and the vocabulary of Richard Barron (Lama Chokyi Nyima). See contents page.

"The very best way to go in terms of reference materials for translating Dharma is Tony Duff's Illuminator in conjunction with Erik Pema's Tibetan-English Dictionary of Buddhist Culture. I keep both of them open on my screen all the time along with Jaschke's A Tibetan-English Dictionary in hardback near to hand. I don't think anyone serious about learning Tibetan would want to be without these excellent tools." -- David Curtis, President, Tibetan Language Institute

For Windows.

It can be reformatted for Mac-- please contact TLI for info about this.


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