Having discussed the problems which exist for the translator of such a work as the TaoTe Ching, it is only reasonable to mention briefly the problem which exists for thereader, concerning the significance of various influences upon a translator.There are already at least forty-two English translations of this work (listed by ClarkMelling of the University of New Mexico), each, I am sure, carried out as ably andhonestly as was possible. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, for any person notto be influenced by the philosophy, beliefs, culture and politics of their own society,historical period and education system.Even a brief glance at various translations of the work of Lao Tzu will illustrate howsuch a 'hidden curriculum' surreptitiously imposes itself upon even the most honest of men, thus creating a major problem for the reader. This is the case even for the readerwho merely hopes to see an accurate English rendering of the work, but the reader'sproblems are compounded if he or she seeks a translation which presents a reasonablyaccurate description of Taoism (Tao Chia), the 'system' of which the Tao Te Ching is amajor work. It must be said of the existing English translations, that most treat theTao Te Ching as a literary or poetic work, whilst many others treat it as a work of mysticism, rather than a work of classical scholarship, which I believe it to be,describing the key concepts of Taoist philosophy (tao chia) expressed in a poeticmanner. My intention here has been to provide a translation suitable for those readerswishing to discover something of that philosophy, as described in one of its majorworks.On the matter of 'translation', I should state that I consider the term to be a misnomerwhen applied to an English rendering of this classical Chinese work. For the reasonsmentioned above, I believe that any such work is at least as much, and probably morea matter of interpretation than of literal translation. This problem is admirablyexpressed by Arthur Hummel, former Head of the Division of Orientalia at theLibrary of Congress when he writes in his foreword to Dr. C.H. Wu's translation(referenced), "Any translation is an interpretation .... for the language of one traditiondoes not provide exact verbal equivalents for all the creative ideas of anothertradition."Whilst I have tried to ensure the accuracy of my own sources, this does not of courseguarantee the accuracy of the result. Furthermore, since I have not attempted to beliterally accurate in my interpretation, and because this rendering is not intended tocompete with such translations, I have listed below some titles, including tentranslations of the Tao Te Ching, which have been of value in this undertaking. Theyare listed in order to acknowledge the work of the translators, as well as to providealternative sources for those readers wishing to conduct their own research andcomparisons. The other titles are those of books on the Chinese language, and theseare listed for the benefit of those readers wishing to undertake their own translations.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES
'Tao Te Ching', translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English, is published byWildwood House. It concerns itself with the 'spiritual level of being', and contains