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View Full Version : Tao Te Ching, favorite translation?



Agaliha
December 31st, 2006, 04:49 AM
I'm just curious if anyone has a favorite translation of the Tao Te Ching or one that they perfer. I've found so many versions online and I know from a book I checked out at the library that many of the words in the Tao Te Ching have multiple meanings-- one word had like five different interpretations. So there seems to be noticible differences in the different versions. I know there isn't one that is the best or truest. I'm just wondering which one you prefer personally.

A link with many translations (http://www.religiousworlds.com/taoism/ttc-list.html) (but not all)

Agaliha
March 18th, 2008, 10:15 PM
Here are many more translations!
Here's one with commentary (http://www.centertao.org/commentary.php)
A Tao Te Ching directory with tons of links (http://www.dmoz.org/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Taoism/Texts/Tao_Te_Ching//)

IvyWitch
March 18th, 2008, 10:41 PM
I'm very partial to the Stephen Mitchell translation.

(He's also apparently got a great translation of the Bhagavad Gita)

Agaliha
March 18th, 2008, 10:59 PM
Thanks!

Here's a link to his translation:
http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html

I've been looking though many to see which one I like...there's so many out there!

Tanya
March 18th, 2008, 11:19 PM
Stephen Michell's translation was the first I ever read and by far it is the most poetic and perfect that I have seen.

Earthwalker
March 19th, 2008, 12:07 AM
I'm curious as to what the strengths and weaknesses might be to the different translations. I suspect something like this might be quite difficult to translate in order to get the full scope of the work. Subtleties or language are inevitably lost somewhat in translation but I bet some are better than others at capturing the art.

Belgalad
March 19th, 2008, 03:26 PM
I'm curious as to what the strengths and weaknesses might be to the different translations. I suspect something like this might be quite difficult to translate in order to get the full scope of the work. Subtleties or language are inevitably lost somewhat in translation but I bet some are better than others at capturing the art.

Chinese has concepts that are quite difficult to translate into English, mostly because the way of thinking is entirely different. Language really does affect the way we veiw and process our worlds (see the "Sapir-Worf Hypothesis"). Add that to the fact that we have access to a variety of different transcriptions in the original Chinese that vary in age and authenticity.

I've always been very partial to the Feng-Engish translation.

Here's a page with links to about a dozen different translations: http://www.edepot.com/taotext.html

I actually think the J. Garon translation is the closest to what a Taoist sage would see as "accurate", and I wish he did more than just the first 20 chapters. ;)

Agaliha
July 25th, 2008, 06:58 PM
Stephen Michell's translation was the first I ever read and by far it is the most poetic and perfect that I have seen.

I've been looking in the past and recently and I agree, I like the Stephen Mitchell version.
Here: Tao Te Ching (http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html)

More links to translations have been added in the MW Library as a sticky:
Other translations of the Tao te Ching online (http://mysticwicks.com/showthread.php?t=195145)

bshore
August 1st, 2008, 08:26 AM
My favorite translation is this modern one. I've been collecting Taos for a few years, though and also like Ursula LeGuin's translation and Stephen Mitchell's.

David19
August 1st, 2008, 09:31 PM
My favorite translation is this modern one. I've been collecting Taos for a few years, though and also like Ursula LeGuin's translation and Stephen Mitchell's.

Thanks for that translation, that really seems quite cool, I'm loving learning more about Taoism :).

Agaliha
August 1st, 2008, 11:42 PM
I just got a copy of Ursula LeGuin's translation from the library and I plan on reading it. I saw hers mentioned on a site and wanted to read more.

Here's an interview with her: http://www.embracethemoon.com/perspectives/leguin.htm

David19
August 2nd, 2008, 02:09 PM
I just got a copy of Ursula LeGuin's translation from the library and I plan on reading it. I saw hers mentioned on a site and wanted to read more.

Here's an interview with her: http://www.embracethemoon.com/perspectives/leguin.htm

Thanks for the link, she sounds quite cool and interesting :).

Kern
January 12th, 2009, 01:27 PM
I prefer Stephen Mitchell's version.

Shanti
January 12th, 2009, 01:33 PM
I prefer my own translation.

Its not just the fact that there are several meanings for many of the words, the order and such can change meanings to.

I did my own research for all possible meanings and created my own translation.

I used to have it on the net but since I changed web host I havent uploaded it yet, again. I plan on uploading it at some point in time again.

Kern
January 12th, 2009, 01:50 PM
I prefer my own translation.

Its not just the fact that there are several meanings for many of the words, the order and such can change meanings to.

I did my own research for all possible meanings and created my own translation.

I used to have it on the net but since I changed web host I havent uploaded it yet, again. I plan on uploading it at some point in time again.

Would love to read your translation sometime Shanti!

Shanti
January 12th, 2009, 04:09 PM
Would love to read your translation sometime Shanti!
I tossed it up!
Here is the link. (http://thestonecoyote.com/mizuhi/mizuhi1.html)
Hope it the link works.:weirdsmil

Agaliha
January 13th, 2009, 03:02 AM
Oh, I'll read your version, Shanti! :)

BenSt
January 13th, 2009, 01:11 PM
I prefer my own translation.

Its not just the fact that there are several meanings for many of the words, the order and such can change meanings to.

I did my own research for all possible meanings and created my own translation.

I used to have it on the net but since I changed web host I havent uploaded it yet, again. I plan on uploading it at some point in time again.

Thats really cool. Can you speak the language (Canto or Mandarin) ??

Shanti
January 13th, 2009, 01:24 PM
Thats really cool. Can you speak the language (Canto or Mandarin) ??No I cant. I researched the possible English translations for each word and sets of words. I took the best words that I felt was right for my understanding of the many complete translations and re-wrote it for myself.