Chinese to English: Philosophy article General field: Art/Literary Detailed field: Philosophy
Source text - Chinese Amicus Plato— amicus Aristoteles— magisamicaveritas（拉丁语原文，翻译时保留此段）
Plato is my friend— Aristotle is my friend— but my most valued friend is truth. (英译)
Quid estveritas? (Jn 18:38) （拉丁语原文，翻译时保留）真理是一种信仰，一种追求，一种至高的爱。我们不断追求真理，这一路程长久无尽。我的路程亦如此，我深深的为西方文明所折服，它包括人文、思想、艺术、音乐、建筑、文学等等，神奇而富有哲理，那就是古典学，它是整个西方文明的精华，它的魅力深深的吸引了我，甚至将我的毕生精力投入于此。古典学所涉及的内容是历代圣贤们对真理的深入思考与勤奋探索，它是我的真理之路。
Numquam minus solus quam cum solus.（拉丁语原文，翻译时保留此段）
Never less along than when alone.
——Cicero (De republica 1, 27)
虽然古代圣贤们的作品是我永远最珍贵的朋友，但很可惜，由于中国没有合适的可以学习西方古典学的专业，无奈下，我的本科选择了广告学，但我在可选择的范围内选择了所有与古典学有关的课程，包括拉丁语基础、拉丁语中级、古希腊语基础、古希腊文学史，又自学了梵文、赫梯文和希伯来文，并有了一些基础；现在，我正在学习德文，还准备学习法文和意大利文，因为尽量学习和掌握各种相关的西方语言，对深入古典学领域是必要的，而最终成为一个语言学家，也是我终身的学术目标之一。在古典学的学习中，我对神话、史诗（epic）和古典哲学（archaic philosophy）的兴趣格外浓厚，并通读了原文的《荷马史诗》、《埃涅阿斯纪》（Aeneid），拉丁文圣经（Vulgate）和古希腊文新约，柏拉图的对话（Dialogues），埃斯库罗斯（Aeschylus）、索福克勒斯（Sophocles）、欧里庇得斯（Euripides）、阿里斯托芬（Aristophanes）等戏剧作家的所有重要作品，部分西塞罗（Cicero）和赛涅卡（Seneca）的作品。我对现代一些学者的著作也比较熟悉，如英国的Campbell、R.L.Hunter，美国的Peter Green等人。为了更好地掌握古希腊文、拉丁文，我在大量阅读的基础上做了一些翻译习作，包括西塞罗四篇《反卡提利纳演讲》（the four Catiline orations）、奥维德（Ovid）《变形记》（Metamorphorses）第1卷以及几篇伊索克拉底（Isocrates）的演讲。这些都是国内从来没有翻译过的。2010年本科期间，我在翻译习作的基础上，已经正式出版了两部著作，其中之一是我2009年用半年的时间从古希腊原文翻译的《赫拉克勒斯之盾》（the shield of Heracles，150页左右、20万字）并对文本作了注释，书中还包括对四篇相关研究文章的翻译。第二本书是2008年下半年到2010年5月我用了近两年从古希腊原文翻译注释的《阿尔戈英雄纪》（Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius，600多页、50多万字）。《阿尔戈英雄纪》是我学习、研究古典学的学术起点。作为有史以来第一部中文译释本，在中国我对《阿尔戈英雄纪》的翻译注释有四个开创性的特点：第一，直接译自古希腊原文。中国学术界翻译古典学经典一般都译自英文、德文，极少直接译自古希腊文或拉丁文，而我出版的这两部译著，都是译自古希腊原文。第二，对全部原文进行全部注释。我对《阿尔戈英雄纪》的注释的篇幅占到全书的三分之二，这种全面的注释是中国西方古典学经典著作翻译中的第一次。我在注释时的首要原则就是不让读者有一个句子或名字看不懂，为此，我查阅了大量的古希腊文、拉丁文、英文图书、文献和资料。第三，在翻译的基础上进行了大量原文文字的考证和研究。第四，在注释中加入中华文明的因素。在古典学的学习中，我发现古希腊文明与古老的中华文明之间虽然差别很大，但仍有许多相通之处，中华古代文化的知识、理念和方法，对东方人更好地理解西方文明，具有特殊的沟通作用。因此，在《阿尔戈英雄纪》的注释中，我尽量使用了中国古代的神话、地方传说、诗歌、音乐、哲学、天文、地理以及当代中国的考古资料等等诸多知识，印证诗中的场景、描写，并以东方的视角理解、勾勒诗中人物的心理线索，从而帮助中国读者了解古希腊文明的精华所在。这在中国的西方古典学经典著作翻译中也是第一次。在古典学领域，比较起来，由于东方文化的天性，对于沟通两种文明，东方人更加得心应手。用东方人的视角学习西方文明是我学习古典学的最大潜力。目前，我正准备翻译牛津大学出版社英文版的《柏拉图与赫西俄德》（Plato and Hesiod）。
τῆς δ᾽ ἀρετῆςἱδρῶτα θεοὶ προπάροιθεν ἔθηκαν
ἀθάνατοι: μακρὸςδὲ καὶ ὄρθιοςοἶμοςἐς αὐτὴν
The immortal gods put sweat before the accomplishment of
virtue, and the way towards it is long and steep…（英译）
Translation - English Amicus Plato — amicus Aristoteles— magisamicaveritas
Plato is my friend — Aristotle is my friend — but my most valued friend is truth.
— ISAAC NEWTON, QUAESTIONES QUAEDAM PHILOSOPHICAE
"Quid estveritas?" (Jn 18:38) Truth is a kind of faith, a kind of pursuit, a kind of love of the highest degree in the true sense of the word. We are constantly seeking the truth – it is a never-ending journey. So is my life's journey, and I am deeply convinced that my journey is closely connected with what is known as Western civilization, known through its humanities, thoughts, arts, music, architecture, literature, etc. Mystical and full of wisdom, that is the classical studies, they are the quintessence of the entire Western civilization; its charm has completely captivated me, so much so that I have devoted all my life's energy into it. The study of the Classics relates to studies on the thoughts of various sages and men of virtue throughout history in their diligent pursuit of truth, and it also relates precisely to my whole life's pursuit for truth.
The study of the Classics is a comprehensive all-inclusive subject, and I always discover from within, things that are of most interest to me. As early as primary school, I began to be infatuated with Western classical music. During high school, I have also written many articles and commentaries on music. Because of my fondness towards classical music, I made great effort to learn play the piano, and as of now I can perform quite well on many musical pieces composed by musicians such as Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Brahms, Scriabin and so on. As a matter of fact, if it was not for classical music that has brought me to cross beyond that gate into the realm of beauty and wisdom, I suppose my aspirations and ambitions will not be what they are today.
From then on, I began to devote myself deeply to the study of Western fine arts, sculpture, architecture, and various other topics. I proceeded with reading many books about Western aesthetics and history of the arts. My reading selections started to include books about Western philosophy, history, as well as various kinds of literatures. When I was young, my grandfather has taught me some Latin, so I have developed a keen interest in Western languages. During the middle school, I continued my self-study in the Latin language, and later I started to study the ancient Greek language. When I went to University, I started to systematically study these languages.
As of now, I have a firm grasp and a deep mastery of these two main ancient languages that form the cores of the classical Western studies. The process of accumulating knowledge has guided me throughout my study of the classics, and it has also laid a solid foundation for my further studies. At the same time since my youth, I have also developed a great love of ancient Chinese history and culture. Having read many ancient Chinese classics, I possess the basic skill training and have developed a solid foundation in Chinese classical culture, and this has led me to develop the habit of looking at Western classics from the perspective of classical Chinese way of thinking.
Numquam minus solus quam cum solus.
Never less alone than when alone.
— CICERO (DE REPUBLICA 1, 27)
Although the eternal works of the ancient sages have been my most precious friends, unfortunately however, because in China there is currently no university as yet that offers courses in the study of Western classics, I really had no alternative and chosen instead to study advertising for my undergraduate degree. However, during my university study, I have always chosen to do those subjects which are closely related to classical studies, such as Latin, ancient Greek, ancient Greek literature, and moreover, I also have self-learned various languages such as Sanskrit, Hittite, and Hebrew, and as a result, have formed solid foundations for these languages. I am currently learning German, and I am preparing to study French and Italian. I would consider it a necessity to try as far as possible to learn and master a variety of Western languages, to equip myself so as to be able to dwell deeper into various Western classics in various languages. I also hope to eventually become a linguistic expert being one of my lifetime's goals.
Amongst my study of the classics, I am especially interested in the mythologies, the epics, and the classical philosophies. I have also read thoroughly the original literary works such as "Homer's Epics", "Chronicles of Aeneid" (Aeneid), the Latin Bible (Vulgate), the Greek New Testament, “Diaologues” (Plato), all the important works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and some literary works by Cicero and Seneca. I am also quite familiar with some of the works of modern scholars, such as for example: Campbell, R.L. Hunter from the UK, and Peter Green from the US, etc.
In order to better grasp my mastery of Latin and ancient Greek, I have also done quite a large amount of translation work based on my substantial readings of various classics. My recent translation works include: "The Four Catiline Orations" (Cicero), "Metamorphorses - Volume 1" (Ovid), and "Lectures and Speeches" (Isocrates). These literatures have never been translated to Chinese before.
In 2010 during my undergraduate study, I have already officially published two books. The first of which is a result of a half-year of effort I made in 2009 on my work in translating the ancient Greek text "The Shield of Heracles" (totaling 150 pages and 200,000 words), which also include a lot of commentaries on the text as well as translations of four research-related articles.
The second book is the result of a two years effort beginning from the second half of 2008 to May of 2010 on translating the original ancient Greek text and its commentaries, titled "Argonautica" by Apollonius Rhodius (totaling 600 pages and over 500,000 words). "Argonautica" is the starting point for my studies and research in the classics. Being the first ever Chinese translation of the work in China, there are four main pioneering features in this book. Firstly, it is a direct translation of the original ancient Greek text. In China's academic circles, translations of the classics are commonly made from the English and German translations of these texts, and rarely translated directly from the original Greek or Latin. Nevertheless the two books which I have published are direct translations from the original ancient Greek texts. Secondly, I have also made a lot of commentaries on these original texts. My commentaries in "Argonautica" accounted for two thirds of the book's contents, and this comprehensive annotation of the Western classics is the first of its kind in China. In my translation work, I stick to the primary principle of not letting the readers not understand any terms or sentences that they read, and towards this purpose I have consulted a large body of literatures and materials in ancient Greek, Latin, and English. Thirdly, I have done substantial work on research of the original texts giving me the solid foundation required for an accurate translation. And fourthly, my commentaries discussed the significance of these literatures in relation to the Chinese civilization.
During my studies of the classics, I have discovered that although at first sight there are considerable differences between the ancient civilizations of the Greek and the Chinese, yet there are also many points of similarities. The knowledge, ideas, and methods embodied in the ancient Chinese culture, on the contrary, can actually help people from an Oriental background to better approach and understand the unfamiliar Western civilization, and in fact, knowledge of one’s own culture can play a special role in facilitating communication and exchange across cultures different to one’s own.
Because of this, in translating and commenting "Argonautica", I have tried to the best of my ability, to utilize and incorporate all of the elements of ancient Chinese culture, such as mythology, folktales, poetry, music, philosophy, astronomy, geography, modern findings of archaeological materials in China, and various other knowledge and so on - to better reinforce the meanings of the original texts, to take from an Oriental point of view, a better understanding of the psychology and emotions portrayed in the characters in the writings. By doing this, the Chinese people can come to a better understanding and appreciation of the essence of ancient Greece civilization.
The Chinese translation of this western classic is also the first ever done in China. I sincerely hope my work will be of help to facilitate the communication and exchange between the different cultures of the East and West. Studying Western civilization from an Eastern perspective is indeed the greatest motivation in my study of the Western classics. Currently, I am preparing to work on translating the English version of "Plato and Hesiod" published by the Oxford University Press.
τῆς δ᾽ ἀρετῆςἱδρῶτα θεοὶ προπάροιθεν ἔθηκαν
ἀθάνατοι: μακρὸςδὲ καὶ ὄρθιοςοἶμοςἐς αὐτὴν
The immortal gods put sweat before the accomplishment of
virtue, and the way towards it is long and steep…
— SENECA (ROMAN PHILOSOPHER AND WRITER OF TRAGEDIES)
As a student of the Orient and being involved in a field of study concerned with Western culture, I may not have the natural understanding and comprehension as that of a native Westerner. Nonetheless, because of the special innate nature of Chinese culture that is inclusive and universal, there can be many common points of similarities and resemblances that we can find in other cultures too. And even more unique is that by using an Oriental perspective to study the Western classics that has traditionally been under the realm of the Westerners, perhaps I can take advantage and put to use of my own cultural inheritance and perspectives, owing to the East, to open forward a path of new discoveries and instill a greater appreciation of Western classical studies.
China at the present only has a very small number of universities that offer Western classical studies as an elective or a course. In the face of this, my level of knowledge in the classical studies is not yet sufficient to change this dire situation, and this has made me the more eager to go straight to the source of Western civilization in order to get firsthand knowledge and experiences. And I hope one day, I will be able to introduce Western classical studies into the mainstream of China's academic disciplines, and even officially establish a university course that is fully comprehensive and mature.
At the same time, I hope to make use of what I will learn from Western's systems and theories, its knowledge and methodologies, and combine it with an Oriental flavor, to introduce fully to the Chinese audiences the quintessence of the Western classics, promoting understanding, assimilation, and cultural exchanges between the East and West. Even though I do not have too much inborn natural gift, but I just know that I am very passionate and much in love of what I do. Up to this day, I simply keep on going with my persistence and diligence, never getting tired in the slightest sense in doing research in the midst of boundless sea of information and materials, hoping as always to follow the footsteps of those ancient sages ever searching for the truth!
Other - Tsinghua University, China
Years of translation experience: 12. Registered at ProZ.com: Nov 2010.
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