Located in Dharamsala, India, the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Program (LRZTP) is a specialized two-year Tibetan study program which provides students with a broad knowledge of colloquial and literary Tibetan, as well as a solid foundation on Dharma terminology. The LRZTP 9 program is divided into two phases. During the first year our students focus on acquiring the Tibetan language, as well as examining some theories on language, translation and interpretation. The second year focuses on the preparation of the future interpreters and translators, and during the year we study a number of important Dharma texts in Tibetan, have interpretation workshops and translation practices. At the end of the two years of study, we might open a special workshop to provide students with more experience in interpretation or translation. The second component is intended for those individuals who wish to pursue a career in Tibetan interpretation. At the end of the program, the Lotsawa administration will assist FPMT affiliated graduates to find a center where they can start their two-year apprenticeship. External language students can join LRZTP 9 the second year, provided that there are vacancies and students pass the LRZTP entrance exam.
This full-time program provides theoretical and practical training conducive for students to acquire high levels of competence in the Tibetan language and become specialized Dharma translators and interpreters. It covers four broad, interrelated areas of study: training in ancillary skills such as colloquial conversation skills; acquisition of a solid grounding in Buddhist philosophy; theoretical and practical training in interpreting techniques; and theoretical and practical training in translation techniques.
The first year is aimed to build a strong foundation of colloquial Tibetan in the student. This is addressed in the four areas of language: speaking, writing, listening and reading. During the morning classes, the emphasis is placed on theoretical grammar classes where the student will explore and acquire a variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures that will enable them to establish and participate in meaningful conversations with native speakers. Although the approach is mainly focused on contemporary Tibetan, we will also study the foundational text on grammar The Thirty Stanzas by Thonmi Sambhota, as well as its commentary, The Wishfulfilling Tree: The Essence of the Thirty Verses on Grammar, by Yangchen Drubpä Dorje. Students will also learn how to write in both Tibetan scripts (Ü-chen and Ü-mé), as well as how to spell and read fluently. Twice a week, students will have a workshop dedicated to the study of linguistics and discourse analysis, as well as an introduction to translation and interpretation theory. For two hours every afternoon students will meet one-on-one with native Tibetan speakers to practice and hone their skills in colloquial conversation and acquaintance with the Tibetan culture.
The second year will provide a theoretical foundation on Buddhist philosophy by studying some of the most important texts, such as the LamRim, the Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattva, the Eight Verses for Mind Training, Selected Topics, Mind and Awareness, Philosophical Tenets and Tantra. Students will also put into practice what they learned during the first year, through engaging in the interpretation of Dharma classes and translation of brief texts. During this year, students will still meet with native Tibetan speakers to maintain and improve their conversation skills and also to engage in philosophical discussions and debates.
Throughout the two years, visiting teachers may offer special classes in the form of Dharma talks, Q & A sessions and interactive workshops.
24 April 2023 — 30 May 2025
Special Interpretation Training Workshop:
This special program will open depending on need and availability. Specific dates to be confirmed
LRZTP 9 Two-year Program – 11,250 USD (registration fees are included)
The program fees are calculated in USD. If you have any questions about payment please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Program fees are inclusive of administrative costs, learning materials, lunch and tea. They do not include housing, visa costs or LTWA fees.
The registration fee is non-refundable even if the student is no longer willing or able to join. An exception will be made if the program itself is cancelled.
Registration for LRZTP 9 is only considered successful after completing the following steps:
1. Complete the registration form (not leaving any section blank)
click here for the registration form >
2. Send one passport size photo, passport photocopy and two recommendation letters from Dharma centers or people related to Buddhist or Tibetan studies to email@example.com
3. Sign the LRZTP student agreement.
4. Pay the 500 USD deposit. This deposit is non-refundable should the applicant decide to cancel.
There are only 20 places in LRZTP 9. A waiting list will be created if there are more than 20 applicants.
Application deadline: 20 March 2023.
1. (Non-Indian students) Have a valid student visa allowing to study in the Dharamsala area. Please note that LRZTP does not offer student visas. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have visa related questions.
2. Have a computer or tablet that will allow them to read and write in Tibetan. Being familiar with the use of Google Drive and spaced repetition software is suggested.
3. Commit to the FPMT ethical agreement between the school and the students.
4. Fill in the medical form and include two up-to-date next of kin in case of life threatening emergencies.
5. Have a proficiency in English which allows you to follow and participate in classes, perform tasks, write essays and successfully engage in study-related research in English. (Although students are not required to take any text of English as a foreign language, a score of 94 in the TOEFL or of 7* in IELTS is expected from our students.) LRZTP will not provide special languange assistance to students that do not meet this requirement.
Every afternoon students will have an individual two-hour conversation class with a trained Tibetan native speaker. Students are encouraged to further deepen and practice what they have learned during the grammar or Dharma class, and to explore other topics they might be interested in by using the learning materials provided by the school or those created by the students themselves.
At the beginning of each week there will be short written quizzes that will help them to assess their dominion of the topic covered the previous week.
At the conclusion of each module of the first year students will be tested on their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills within the context of the topics studied during that specific module. The objective of this assessment is to allow the students to realistically gauge their language abilities. In order to pass to the next module, students must display that they have attained the learning objectives for each module to an accomplished level.
During the second year, students will be examined on their knowledge of Dharma terminology and concepts, as well as their translation skills. At the end of each of the last two modules, students will also proceed to interpretation examination.
Students are required to successfully undertake final exams in order to be accepted for an apprenticeship in a Dharma center after concluding the program.
LRZTP 9 students will only be accepted if they are on a valid student visa which permits them to study in Dharamsala for the length of the course, or if they are local students. As for now, LRZTP cannot accept student visa applications. In the past, the students of LRZTP actively participated in one morning class at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA). The LTWA is a recognized educational institute for student visa application.
You are welcome to contact LRZTP for information about the application of your student visa at email@example.com.
Students have the option of committing to the two-year program alone, or the two-year program along with the special interpretation training workshop. Students are eligible to join the special program after meeting the following requirements:
• Completing the registration process
• Passing the entrance exam or achieved a minimum of 70% in the final LRZTP 9 exam
• Having the recommendation of the LRZTP director
For students who did not enroll in the two-year program, joining the special interpretation training workshop program will be subject to available seats and meeting the following requirements:
• Completing the registration process
• Pass the entrance exam
• Providing a recommendation letter
Students who graduate from both the two-year program and the special interpretation training workshop will become ‘trainee interpreters’ and be eligible to continue their education as interpretation apprentices in a FPMT Dharma Center. LRZTP can assist students to find a center to work at the end of their training. (Note: availability of FPMT Center apprenticeships varies from year to year.)
All students are required to abide by the ethical policy of FPMT and keep the five lay precepts. Individuals who engage in the practice of Shugden are not permitted to attend LRZTP.
LRZTP 9 Tibetan Language and Interpreter Training teachers
At LRZTP, besides studying the Tibetan language on an intellectual level, we have the aspiration to implement the advice of His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama in regards to educating the heart:
The Tibetan language is an integral part of a culture that has at its core the practices of compassion and wisdom. We encourage the students to engage in the study with an altruistic motivation. This will help us to be supportive of each other during class time, to find understanding and tolerance for our differences, and to practice gratitude for all the learning opportunities we receive.