If we don't translate, then Buddhism outside of cultures heavily influenced by Indic languages will forever remain incomprehensible, and only open to those with specialized language skills. The Buddha taught to teach in the language of the people in a given location. This is what we should do.Sanghamitta wrote:Take the example of "Dukkha" there simply is no English equivilant is there ? Far better in my book for us to learn key terms by seeing and using them in context, than drift away from the meaning in a never ending game of Chinese whispers. I am not saying that suttas and commentaries should remain untranslated, but that we should be cautious about being too swift to translate key terms. Some of the unpacking work should be ours, because that is the only way to internalise those concepts.Paññāsikhara wrote:I think that the problem is not so much a matter to be solved by "don't translate", but by simply having a deeper and correct understanding of these terms. Any fool can start a website, or even write a book. Many people who have no discernment in their choice of study material will be deceived, almost willingly. We should support those with clear understanding, promote their writings and material. In this way, correct understanding will prevail.
As for "dukkha", as Bhante Pesala has indicated, "unsatisfactoriness" is very close, those personally I use "dissatisfactoriness", both are from the same roots. I prefer "dis-" because in some ways, the prefix "dis-" in English is a bit like a cognate for Indic "dus-" / "duh-", etc. This is broad enough to include the more specific meaning of "painful / suffering" when in terms of vedana, but also the broader sense of "all formations are dissatisfactory".