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The Translation of Classical

Chinese into English

Warm-up Exercise

1. The Book of Poetry

2. The Confucian Analects
3. Strategies of the Warring States
4. The Works of Mencius
5. Historical Records
6. Peace-Blossom Source
7. History of the Three Kingdoms


Hence/Therefore/So pupils are not necessarily

inferior to teachers, ____
and teachers need
not always be superior to pupils.

and I also like bears paws.

I like fish ____
If I cannot have the two together, I will
and take the bears
let the fish go, ____


1. It is such a delight to have friends coming

from afar.
2. Just as there is a paradise in Heaven, there
are Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth.
3. Any mountain can be famous with the
presence of an immortal, and any river can
be holy with the presence of a dragon.

Qualities of a Qualified Translator

1. to have a good command of the source
2. to have a good command of the target

3. to have a wide range or scope of

4. to be familiar with the commonly-used
translation techniques
5. to have a rigorous attitude towards
translation work

(The Four Books)
(The Five Classics)
(The Verse/Elegies of Chu
The Songs/Poetry of the South)
(Zuos Commentary)
(Strategies/Intrigues of the
Warring StatesAnecdotes of the
Warring States)







The Great Learning
The Doctrine of the Mean,
The Confucian Analects ,
The Analects of Confucius
(The Works of) Mencius

The Books of the Four Philosophers

The Book of Poetry/Songs/Odes,
or The Classic of Poetry,
The Book of History/Documents, or
The Classic of History
The Book of Rites or The Record of
The Book of Change (s) ,
The Spring and Autumn (Annals)

At first, when we set out,

The willows were fresh and green;
Now, when we shall be returning,
The snow will be falling clouds.

At first, when we started on our track,

The willows green were growing.
And now, when we think of the journey back,
It is raining fast and snowing.
William Jennings)

When I set out so long ago,

Fersh and green was the willow.
When now homeward I go,
There is a heavy snow.

Willows were green when we set out,

Its blowin an snowin as we go
Down this road, muddy and slow,

(Ezra Pound)





(Mozi; Mo Tzu)
(Zhuangzi; Chuang Tzu)
Lao Zi; Lao Tzu; Laotse


The Wisdom of Laotse, 1948

Tao-Te-Ching, 1960
Lionel Giles:
The Sayings of Lao Tzu, 1905
Lao Tzu: Tao De Ching
Tao Te Ching: The Classic
Book of Integrity and the Way
The Way of Lao Tzu, 1963



(James Legge,
(The Chinese

A(Herbert A. Giles)
Gems of Chinese Literature
History of Chinese Literature
(Arthur Waley)

(Lionel Giles)

(Burton Watson)

Cyril Birch

(David Hawkes)
The Story of the Stone

(Records of the Historian)

(History of the Han Dynasty)
(Discourse Weighed in the
(History as a Mirror)



1Three Kingdoms
(Moss Roberts,
2San Guo, or Romance of the Three
(C. H. Brewitt-Taylor, Kelly and
Walsh Limited, 1925)

1Journey to the West

(W. J. F. Jenner, 1980

Havoc in Heaven, Adventures of the
Monkey King
2The Pilgrimage to the West
3The Monkey King
4Monkey (Arthur Waley, 1942)

1Outlaws of the Marsh (Sidney Shapiro)


2The Water Margin (Jackson, 1937)

3Heroes of the Marshes
4The Story of 3 Women and 105 Men
5All Men Are Brothers
(Pearl S. Buck1933)

1A Dream of Red Mansions
2The Story of the Stone
(David Hawkes 1973)

Arthur Walay: Well!

Never mind!

This brother is surnamed Tu, and his name

is Hsing.
Du Xing is his name.

Shih Hsiu asked, saying: Who is this

Who is this brother? asked Shi Xiu.

1 (Equivalent)

Tao Tao Te Ching

The Nameless
The Named

1. The day is hard to pass

All night hell toss and turn.

2. Long thoughts, oh, long unhappy
Now on his back, now tossing on to his
3. Longing, longing,

Turning, tossing!


The Way that can be told of is not an
Unvarying Way;
Arthur Waley
The Tao that can be trodden is
not the enduring and unchanging Tao.
The Tao that can be told of

Is not the Absolute Tao.

Cosmic Mystery

Thus just as Tao has this greatness
and as earth has it and as heaven has it,
so may the man also have it.

The ways of men are conditioned by
those of earth.
The ways of earth, by those of heaven.
The ways of heaven by those of Tao,
and the ways of Tao by the Self-so.


(1) You, shall I teach you what knowledge

is? When you know a thing ,to hold that
you know it; and when you do not know a
thing, to allow that you do not know it;
this is knowledge.
(2) You, do you know my teaching? If you
know it, say you know. If you dont know
it, say you dont. This is wisdom.

(3) You (given name of Zi Lu, a disciple

of Confucius)! Do you understand what
I taught you? If you do, say you do; if
not, say you do not. Only then are you
an intelligent man.
(4) Zhong You, I shall teach you what
knowledge is. When you know a thing,
say that you know it; when you do not
know a thing, admit that you do not
know it. That is true knowledge.


In eighth moon down the dates we beat.

It is bootless to discuss accomplished facts,
to protest against things past remedy, to find
fault with bygone things.

It is not that I do not delight in your doctrine,

but my strength is insufficient.

1. I write this down, to show that Li

Daoyuan did not say enough and Li Bo
did not know enough.
2. I recorded this experience to show
that I felt sorry for the sketchiness of Li
Yuans description and could not help
laughing at Li Bos inept efforts.
Simplicity shallowness

1. She replied, Thy unworthy handmaid is
just sixteen.
2. Your servant is just sixteen. She replied.

1. I think he has signed his own death
warrant without being oppressed in the

2. He is delivering himself into our
hands! We did not force him.

Empires wax and wane; states cleave
asunder and coalesce.
Here begins our tale. The empire, long
divided, must unite; long united, must
divide. Thus it has ever been.

Arthru Waley:
He was obliged to employ his magic
powers. Pulling out a handful of his
finest down, he tossed it into his mouth
an bit it into ever smaller pieces; then
he spat it out, crying Change!
So he performed a spell by pulling
several hairs from his body, chewing
them up, spitting them up, saying the
magic words, and shouting Change.


1 (parataxis vs. hypotaxis)

3 (repetition vs. substitution)
(omission vs. comprehensiveness)



SVC + +

1) A teacher is one who passes on the

truth, imparts knowledge and solve
2) A teacher is one by whom the
courses are taught and the Tao is
handed down to the students. Under
this teachers guidance, the
perplexities of the students are

This is the general view from the

pavilion, already described in full by
our predecessors.


be + done by sb.

Those who work with their minds rule
others; those who work with their
strength are ruled by others.

With all my land of Wu and all my
troops of a hundred thousand strong, I
cannot let myself be resigned to a rule
by aliens.

Chinese Prose Writings Through the

The king took counsel with General

Lian Po and his chief ministers, who
feared that if the jade were sent to Qin
they might be cheated and geo no
cities in return, yet if they refused the
soldiers of Qin might attack.

Our lord is too kind-hearted. Go in,
drink a toast and offer to perform a
sword dance. Then strike the lord of
Pei down where he sits. If you dont do
this, we will all be captured by him in
the future.


Can the faithful being suspected and
the loyal being slandered have no

1 (parataxis vs. hypotaxis)



A good deed is no good deed if it is
done for show. An evil deed is all the
worse if it is covered up.


The Master said, When I walk along
with two others, they may serve me as
my teachers. I will select their good
qualities and follow them, their bad
qualities and avoid them.

Translated by James Legge)

He who loves others is constantly
loved by them.
He who respects others is constantly
respected by them.

Mencius said, The people are the most
important element in a nation; the
spirits of the land and the grain are the
next; the sovereign is the lightest.

He who finds the proper course has
many to assist him.
He who loses the proper course has
few to assist him.

(verb prominence vs. nouns,
prepositions and participles prominence)

A sight of the fisherman, they were

dumbfounded. Then they asked whence
he came, and he answered their
questions one by one. He was soon
invited to their homes, treated to a
dinner with wine and chicken.

3 (repetition vs. substitution)

Man is not born with knowledge. Who

can deny that he has puzzles? These
would remain unsolved, should one
refuses to be instructed by teachers.

You rode a bamboo horse and deemed
yourself a knight,
With paper helm and shield and
wooden sword bedight.

W. A. P. Martin

My whitening hair would make a long
long rope,
yet could not fathom all my depth of

Herbert Giles

(omission vs. comprehensiveness)

The Master, standing by a stream, said,
It passes on just like this, not ceasing
day or night!
(James Legge)

Slumbering, I know not the spring

dawn is peeping,
But everywhere the singing birds
are cheeping.
Last night I heard the rain dripping
and wind weeping,
How many petals are on the ground


There was a great snowfall, twenty-five inches
In spring of the third year it did not rain, in
summer, it did.
The day was raw, a heavy rain was falling,
and the men were hungry and cold.

The duke said, Those who pursue evil
courses will eventually encompass
their own ruin. You will see.

do evil deeds frequently
keep on doing unrighteous deeds.

Hence the saying: If you know the
enemy and know yourself, you will fight
a hundred battles with no danger of
defeat. If you know yourself but not the
enemy, you will win one battle and lose
one battle. If you know neither the
enemy nor yourself, you will suffer
defeat in every battle.

The donkey lost its temper and kicked
Being greatly irritated, the ass gave him
a kick.
Treat with the reverence due to age the
elders in your own family, so that the
elders in the families of others shall be
similarly treated.


Some time later, Yang Jizhu was killed.

If you dont do this, we will all end up his

Those who work with their minds rule
others; those who with their strength
are ruled by others. Those who are ruled
by others support them; those who rule
others are supported by them. This is a
principle universally recognized.

Bah! he cried, Advice is wasted on a

The good fighters of old first put

themselves beyond the possibility of
defeat, and then waited for an
opportunity of defeating the enemy.

1Alas, since men have long
ceased learning from teachers, it is hard
not to be ignorant.
2Alas, it has been a long time
since the tradition of taking teachers
was honored! And so it is difficult to
expect to be free from doubts.

Autumn maple leaves are even redder than
the spring flowers.

A thousand-li journey begins with the first
step (is started by taking the first step).

Now I see my men good,
My heart is glad and light.

A bosom friend afar brings a distant land

A solitary wild duck joins the speeding
sunset clouds;
The autumn waters and the sky share the
same hue.

If a man keeps cherishing his old knowledge,
so as continually to be acquiring the new, he
may be a teacher of others.