Recommended Posts

Know of any good links to help in understanding or translating the TaoTeChing?


Post them here! We need all the help we can get! ^_^








To get us started, here's a few offered by Stigweard. Thanks Stig!

Chinese Etymology Home Page

YellowBridge Chinese Language and Culture

Laozi Daodejing Siegelschrift - Sealscript 老子 道德經 篆書 - Laotse Taoteking <--that site is wonderful,btw.

Learn Chinese Characters

老 子「道 德 經」Tao Te Ching in Big 5

LaoTze DaoDeJing [Tao Te Ching] Chinese text

Roget's Thesaurus (1911) - The ARTFL Project | Find Synonyms and Antonyms of Words at

Online Etymology Dictionary

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu [Dao De Jing by Lao Zi]

Terebess Asia Online - TAO <--that one, too

LaoTze - TaoDeJing

The Complete Works of Lao Tzu -- Ni Hua Ching




edit: fix broken links

Edited by Apech
Edited at request of Twinner and others (Resources Only).
  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

More resources:



The Big View


pdf downloads of T. McCarrel and Feng/English translations.



Underdog Way


free pdf download of a compendium of translations (including Russian).





site with many translation in various languages (I posted this before).

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

How to use the above translation tools


Let's take a complex character like De 德 found in Chapter 54.


Step 1: Open up these 2 sites:


In Yellowbridge paste the character into Chinese to English field and click Search. Then click on the Etymology tab.


In Chinese Etymology paste into the blank field and click the Etymology button.




In both Yellowbridge and Chinese Etymology we see that the character is a composite of the characters:


彳 + 悳


Step 2: Now repeat a search in each site using the composite characters (in Yellow bridge you can just <ctrl> left click on the character). Note down the meanings and the pictographic imagery. Make sure you bear in mind that some component parts of a character are use for phonetics whilst some for meaning.




The character 彳 is straightforward. Note down the meaning of this character.


Character: 彳

Pinyin: Chì

Pictograph: left half of a road intersection

Definition: step with left foot / left half or road


However 悳 is itself a composite of 直 + 心. So once again repeat searches using these components.


Character: 直

Pinyin: Zhí

Pictograph: the eye 目 which sees straight 十

Definition: straight, erect, vertical / continuous / uninterrupted


Character: 心

Pinyin: Xīn

Pictograph: Picture of a heart.

Definition: the heart / the mind / conscience / moral nature / intention / idea / intelligence / soul


Step 3: Now you can reassemble the character. Look at all the meanings and pictographic imagery to flesh out your understanding of the various implications and usage.


Character: 德

Pinyin: Dé

Pictograph: To walk a strait 悳 (virtuous) road 彳

Definition: Morality / decency / virtues / favor / kindness / behavior / conduct


Step 4: Always cross-reference with other resources. If the character is in the Daodejing then I always use these sites:


If it not in the Daodejing I use these:

Edited by Stigweard
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, since this thread isn't entirely dead.


If you approach the DDJ you may be interested in Bradford Hatcher's matrix translation.


Also, you should at least have a background in Classical Chinese; this would make the process of translation quite more straight-forward, instead of a hit-and-miss combinatorial approach. For this, E. G. Pulleyblank's Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar tends to float around online and provides a sufficient (albeit not cutting edge) framework. Still, it's a long way ahead from the 'Chinese is just a bunch of ideograms thrown together for good measure', and quite helpful.

  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if this is the right place to post it, but Andrew Nugent-Head sharing more of his awesomeness! :)



Dao de jing translation project.

  • Like 4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites