Chinese classic book translation

Friday, 22. September 2017

“Chinese classics (Daodejing 道德經; Sunzi bingfa 孫子兵法; Tang shi sanbai shou 唐詩三百首; Lunyu 論語; Zhongyong 中庸; Daxue 大學; and Xiaojing 孝經)”

I just find the translation of the these chinese classic books title funny. It is translated in sound which will be meaningless for western people. Ancient chinese characters is really based on context, the meaning of the book based on its title.

Take “Sunzi bingfa”, it has no meaning for people reading this but the meaning is obvious for people knowing the chinese characters even it is now in sound. To get western people understand the context of the book, some people translated the book to Sunzi as it means the person called Sunzi, but “bingfa” will better be translated as the “art of war”. It is even better be “war strategy” or the “war method”. The book tells you what are the ingredients of war and even how to have a successful war.

The other like “Daodejing 道德經” better be translated as “bible of ethics”.

“Tang shi sanbai shou 唐詩三百首” will be “The 300 poems of Tang Dynasty”.

“Lunyu 論語” is “word of discussion”.

“Zhongyong 中庸” is “The balance, stay away from extremes”.

“Daxue 大學” is “The big learning” or “The Knowledge”.

“Xiaojing 孝經” is “The bible for children” or “The bible of being nice to your parents”.

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