Translation Industry News | 02.08.2009

Key Confucianism texts to be translated into English

A team of professionals is set to take on the task of translating the key texts of Confucianism – the Five Classics – into nine different languages. At present, there are no high quality translated versions of these major works. 

Certain passages of the Five Classics, which are also known as the ‘Wujing’, have undergone translation into French, English and German, but this was carried out some time ago and there are very few copies available.

Xu Lin, director of the Chinese Language Council International Office, said:

“A translation of the ‘Wujing’ is urgently needed. Only by translating a complete set of the work will the essence of Chinese culture be fully recognised and accepted by the international community.”

There will be a number of experts and academics from all over the world working on this project, although a timeframe for completion is yet to be confirmed. It is thought that it will take around three and a half years to translate the texts into English and it is this English version on which subsequent translations will be based.

The scale of the task is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that the 700,000 Chinese characters within the Wujing are expected to translate into over a million English words.

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