rene

Translators of the TTC

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Hi Everyone!

I've been off line for quite a while. But I recently read a wonderful translation of the Tao Teh Jing-

Titled The Secret Tao - by D.W. Kreger I think that is correct spelling, not sure)...

He offers the text in Chinese in a direct sort of broken english and an interpretation of his own that offers a fresh take for me.

His introduction is also really great as it tenders an enlightening view of early Taoist history.-Peace.

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I am partial to the Ursula K. Le Guin's translation, because it is what has gotten me out of the roughest patch of my life. It is a very user friendly translation in that it is not too scholarly and intimidating as others. Its simplicity and lack of sophisticated wording kept me picking it up over and over without needing a thesaurus to go along with it like I needed for the other translations. The repetitive more frequent openings of this book on spontaneously picked pages became very important to my spiritual journey. Sure my (attempted) understanding of the tao is not as sophisticated and intricate as others, but the important thing is that I kept going and stuck with it so that I was able to break free from the unnecessary suffering and accept the rest.

 

It fits my style and values of being concerned with the general larger picture and philosophical themes. I needed easy at that point in my life, but now I would love to explore some other translations which some of you have mentioned. GREAT thread! Thanks.

 

There is also few author's comments in this book and that too helped in that I have always been pretty good at teaching myself and trusting hunches as related to my own experience rather than relying on others to extract meaning. Its a good way of cultivating the wise self which transcends the dilemma of: How do you know when you know?

Edited by 1try80deny
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I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone mention Thomas Cleary. I'm a newb but his writings and translations are what got me to pay more attention. Often I have read translations in the past that came across to me like fortune cookies and his were the first to speak to me in a modern way that woke me up very quickly.

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I have read several translations of the TTC over the years and find Derek Lin's the most interesting as well as the one that speaks to me the most.

 

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This translation is grand. I bought it "used like new" from Amazon for about five dollars. I have compared it to many others that are posted online and I have found that it really is the definitive English translation of the "received text" of the TTC. Any translation of any document is only as good as the knowledge and understanding of the translator. This translation has set the bar very high in my opinion.

 

This is the translation hat I've been using. I really enjoy it, poetic and simple style.

9781585422692.jpg



  • the first comprehensive verbatim translation of the entire text of the Tao Te Ching
  • literal character definitions that allow the reader to create his or her own interpretation
  • a concordance section that enables the reader to track the different ways a single character is used throughout the work
  • grammatical and interprative notes on individual terms and verses
  • a unique commentary on the first verse, which represents a complete spiritual teaching in itself; and
  • a literary translation of the TTC that can be read on its own or compared with the verbatim translation

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Derek Lin's translation has many inaccuracies. Remember he is a member of the I-Kuan Tao movement, so his agenda is to encourage a type of Buddhist/Taoist hybridism. If you want an accurate translation I recommend John C. H. Wu or Henricks. They are both widely respected in all facets of the Taoist community.

 

Aaron

Edited by Aaron
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I find Derek's translation is rather good although I have found disagreement... and I've had a few exchanges with him to know that he considers etymology and is thoughtful for the reasons for his translation. That being said, his membership and position in that organization may raise motive in his translation.

Edited by dawei

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Can anybody recommend me a translation that resembles the following format;

 

Hanzi

Pinyin

English

 

The English being a more literal transinterpretation.

 

No commentry is necessary but would be nice.

 

I want a fomatt like this because I am learning Mandarin and want to apply my pinyin reading skills to gaining a less language dependant insight into the DDJ.

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On 3/23/2013 at 12:50 PM, Queequeg said:

Can anybody recommend me a translation that resembles the following format;

 

Hanzi

Pinyin

English

 

The English being a more literal transinterpretation.

 

No commentry is necessary but would be nice.

 

I want a fomatt like this because I am learning Mandarin and want to apply my pinyin reading skills to gaining a less language dependant insight into the DDJ.

 

http://www.tao-te-king.org/

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Thank you very much, I don't usually like online documents because I like to get away from my computer and the waY I do that is by reading. In this instance its very handy though because I can drop words I don't know into google translate.

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http://www.foodfortranslators.com/2014/10/26/best-quotations-on-translation/

 

Some interesting thoughts on this wonderfully silly task we set for ourselves.

 

 

“All translating seems to me to be simply an attempt to accomplish an impossible task.”

– Wilhelm von Humboldt

 

“Even the simplest word can never be rendered with its exact equivalent into another language.”

– Kimon Friar

 

“In its happiest efforts, translation is but approximation, and its efforts are not often happy. A translation may be good as translation, but it cannot be an adequate reproduction of the original.”

– George Henry Lewes

 

“Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture.”

– Anthony Burgess

 

“There are three grades of translation evils: 1. errors; 2. slips; 3. willful reshaping”

– Vladimir Nabokov

 

“The translation called good has original value as a work of art.”

– Benedetto Croce

 

“Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.”

– Günter Grass

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And so there are internet forums created so that those interested can discuss the translation and with a little luck gain a deeper understanding of what the original was presenting.

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Wu, Feng, and Henricks are also used in discussions quite a bit (on here anyway).

 

In my opinion, read as many as you can, and never pick a favourite. None of them are good enough. It's not possible to be.

 

If you haven't already, check out: http://terebess.hu/english/tao/_index.html

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^_^

 

Most on this forum, I think, have already discussed general differences between translations/translators many times, and so I don't know if you'll get much of a conversation out of this topic.

 

But there are a bunch of us always happy to discuss individual chapters, whether it be linguistic or philosophical or practical questions, etc...

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I have never questioned the femininity of the Tao Te Ching or even "Tao" when used as a noun.  And really "Te" in both the TTC and the Chuang Tzu is predominately feminine.

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I use the parallel edtion from Prohyptikon Publishing. Chinese text and the classic Legge traduction. It's very cheap. The only thing I ask of a traduction is to help me understanding the orignal text. Legge's version is not allways good at that. But I cross read it using the ctext.org version, with the included dictionnary.

 

This edition may not be the better but at least it's cheap and small, you cant take it everywhere with you.

 

I enjoyed very much the David Hinton version of the Inner Chapters. He has a tradction of the TTC too, it should be good.

 

BTW, I'm still looking for a good parallel edition of Chuang Tzu...

Edited by Aithrobates

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This is the translation hat I've been using. I really enjoy it, poetic and simple style.

9781585422692.jpg

  • the first comprehensive verbatim translation of the entire text of the Tao Te Ching
  • literal character definitions that allow the reader to create his or her own interpretation
  • a concordance section that enables the reader to track the different ways a single character is used throughout the work
  • grammatical and interprative notes on individual terms and verses
  • a unique commentary on the first verse, which represents a complete spiritual teaching in itself; and
  • a literary translation of the TTC that can be read on its own or compared with the verbatim translation

What translation was this?

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Eckhart Tolle has an excellent translation of the TTC on youtube. He has a comforting way about him.

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Derek Lin's translation has many inaccuracies. Remember he is a member of the I-Kuan Tao movement, so his agenda is to encourage a type of Buddhist/Taoist hybridism. If you want an accurate translation I recommend John C. H. Wu or Henricks. They are both widely respected in all facets of the Taoist community. 

 

Aaron

Could you give some examples to show the inaccuracies in his translation? And what is your criteria to determine that J.C.W or Hendricks are accurate? I am trying to understand as I hear quite often and even in my own experience, most of the translations leave you hanging there and at the end one gives up because we don't understand the meaning and if you are interested in Chinese culture even worst because you don't know what it meant in the Chinese cultural context.

 

Thanks

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