The Tibetans have, without a doubt, one of the most impressive translation histories of any people in the world. Starting in the 8th century and continuing for some 900 years, they translated the entire Indian Buddhist canon, a body of work consisting of more than 4,500 texts and some 73 million words. Not only was the translation enterprise vast, but the texts themselves were exceptionally difficult and required immense skill and knowledge.

Despite the great scope and historical importance of this translation activity — not to mention the rich source of material that such a history could yield — little research by scholars has been carried out regarding Tibet’s translation tradition. This project aims to fill in this gap by carrying out a comprehensive study of the individuals who carried out this work, the strategies that they used, and the texts that eventually became what is today known as Tibetan Buddhism.