Approaches of Western and Chinese translators : An analysis of the analects

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)peer-review

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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2009

Conference

TitleKorean Association of Translation Studies (KATS) International Conference on Translation and Globalization
PlaceKorea, Republic of
CitySeoul
Period30 - 31 October 2009

Abstract

The Analects is the single most important source for people to understand the thought of Confucius. A general consensus can be reached on the meaning of some of the most important terms or concepts, in spite of the inherited ambiguities representing different points of view which would inevitably lead to different and sometimes conflicting interpretations. But further confusion can still be caused when they are translated into foreign languages. For example, a sentence in Book VII, Zi yu ren gee r shan, bi shi fan zhi, er hou he zhi (子與人歌而善,必使反之,而後和之), has been rendered into the following:1. When the Master was in company with a person who was singing, if he sang well, he would make him repeat the song, while he accompanied it with his own voice. (James Legge, 1893)2. When in the Master's presence anyone sang a song that he liked, he did not join in at once, but asked for it to be repeated and then joined in. (Arthur Waley, 1938)3. While singing in the company of others, when the Master found a song attractive, he always asked to hear it again before joining in. (D.C. Lau, 1979)4. If he was with a man who sang true, he would make him repeat and sing in harmony with him. (Ezra Pound, 1969, c1951)5. When the Master commended someone for having chanted a song well, he always made him repeat it and then chanted it in response.1 (Chichung Huang, 1997)1. Reciprocity in all social intercourse is prescribed by the rituals.The word “he (和)”, one of the most important concepts in Chinese philosophy and theory of art, was translated by Ezra Pound as “sing in harmony”; while in the other four versions, it appears as “accompany”, “join in” and chant in response”. Drawing on Chinese exegetical traditions and various classical interpretations of the Analects, the authors attempt to examine how the original open-endedness and ambiguity of the concepts are lost, and whether Western and Chinese thinking habits would affect the rendition of the book.

Citation Format(s)

Approaches of Western and Chinese translators : An analysis of the analects. / YAN, Xiu; Cheng, Pei-kai.

2009. Paper presented at Korean Association of Translation Studies (KATS) International Conference on Translation and Globalization, Seoul, Korea, Republic of.

Research output: Conference Papers (RGC: 31A, 31B, 32, 33)32_Refereed conference paper (no ISBN/ISSN)peer-review