Comments on translations on Like Bynner

Like Bynner’s work more

Witter Bynner’s P.365

D.C. Lau’s P.51

I like Witter Bynner more than that of D.C. Lau in Chapter 33 for the following reasons.

  1. Repetition of a meaningless “He who” is clumsy and Bynner’s work is more concise that every word contributes good meanings.
  2. The original passage is to give explanation of some concepts rather than talking about a person. Witter Bynner does better in this chapter.

Witter Bynner’s P.388

D.C. Lau’s P.116

In this chapter, I like Witter Bynner’s more due to his translation on the second sentence:
“And since those who argue prove nothing, A sensible man does not argue.” vs Lau’s “Good words are not persuasive; persuasive words are not good”
Due to the original passage only use a pronoun, “者”, they got different understanding about that word but obviously “a sensible man” is making more sense than “words”.
Also, Witter’s work is more likely to be an old Chinese literate as the sentences are quite tidy.

Like Bynner’s work less

Witter Bynner’s P.372

Arthur Waley’s P.200


The translation for both Bynner’s and Waley’s are quite similar in the first half.
However, I like Arthur Waley’s translation in the second half because he translate all Chinese verbs into the same meaning simple English.
Besides, Witter Bynner uses “search your heart”, “takes each turn” and “The way to do is to be”. Those sentences may over-interpreted the passage.

Witter Bynner’s P.351


D.C. Lau’s P.10

Bynner’s work on chapter 7 is done not as good as Lau’s work. Although he copied some of the concepts from the original one, it is not quite understandable, such as “Sustains himself outside himself” and “Stays the further ahead of himself”. Lau seems interprete them more referring to the first paragraph : “put his person last” to “able to long-lived”
To the end, I think keeping it to be a question is better as the original also wants to leave space for questioning oneself.