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  •  Lau's translation is more accurate (9+ / 0-)

    Brynner's added his own interpretation. Brynner's feels foreign to me.

    For example, the first sentence, "the way that can be spoken of is not the constant way;" has many layers of meanings. Brynner's translation, "Existence is beyond the power of words", may be one possible interpretation, but may not be the best interpretation.

    Yes, it is telling us that the way of the world is something beyond the description of words. But it says more than that. It also says that sometimes, some of the way can be described, but as soon as you put it into words, you find that it has changed its meaning. So words can evolve to adapt to our new understanding, but the truth is also a touch beyond our reach.

    •  Lau's translation may adhere more precisely (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exterris, xgz, isabelle hayes, NancyWH, marina

      to the original, but Brynner's makes a zillion times more sense to me.

      I've tried to read the Tao Te Ching before, but I found it far too "mystical" and abstract to get the slightest comprehension of what the author was really trying to say. I think I would enjoy Brynner's translation, though.

      "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell) Join the Forward on Climate Rally on February 17!

      by Eowyn9 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 06:52:21 PM PST

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    •  are you Chinese or are you fluent? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xgz, isabelle hayes, NancyWH, marina

      Sounds like it because the word "constant" in English falls pretty flat in that verse.  It's doesn't have any cultural punch for an English speaker.  My guess is that the Chinese word that is translated as "constant" in this verse has a pretty specific, culturally contextual meaning in Chinese (eg, "faithful" or "never-ending" or "stable").

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

      by nailbender on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 07:25:39 PM PST

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