Essay about Interpreting The Analects of Confuscius

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The Roger T. Ames and Henry Rosemont, Jr. translation of “The Analects of Confucius,” is a philosophical interpretation of the text, meaning it utilizes metaphysical and moral principles, based on collective impressions of Western culture rather than individualist interpretations. The traditional text, left un-translated, would be difficult for the Western reader to interpret or understand. When translating a text, the translators have to consider the difficulty of changing one language into another while also considering the general knowledge of their readers and the customs and cultures surrounding the text that likely are lost in translation. Ames and Rosemont admit the difficulty of translating a text such as this due to these complex …show more content…
With guidance from the footnotes, the reader is redirected to see chapter 7.1. The first footnote translates the original Chinese Shu, “to follow the proper way,” and dao “path,” and the second footnote describes Confucius’ modesty. The text therefore presents Confucius as wise enough to learn from the past because he appreciates the paths already taken. He uses the paved path because he can find himself from his ancestral guidance. The lesson is about adapting from the past in order to seek greater wisdom while learning from past failures. With the footnotes, the reader’s interpretation is more individualized: it represents his or her personal understanding of the text. However, with the available translation it is the translators’ interpretation of the text based upon their own impressions of what western readers require to understand it. Thus when reading the translation, the individual reader loses an element of his unique interpretation. He is no longer able to find personal connections to the text, but rather is forced into believing the translators’ assumptions as the correct answers.
To further one’s understanding of chapter 7.28, a reader can refer to the book’s introduction and lexicon, which is both beneficial and problematic. The chapter indirectly refers to “Dao” and “Shu.” The Chinese characters themselves have multiple meanings and interpretations, where the meaning depends on the context. The translators include

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