Among the sins of scholarly translators from the Chinese, there is one which is so prevalent as to remain unchallenged generation after generation, possibly because no one is free from its taint. I refer to the practice of leaving uncooked and indigestible lumps in the sinological puddings served up to a tolerant public. This custom, against which I wish to make the strongest possible protest, has not yet been justified or even defended by any wellargued theory, but has become widely accepted usage in the absence of overt opposition. Specifically I challenge the common treatment of a large and poorly defined body of Chinese “names and titles” either by transliteration (an extreme kind of under-translation), or by what is sometimes known as “functional translation” (a species of paraphrase lacking consistent methodology). An obvious instance of the former would be the rendering of by “he styled himself T' ai-shang-huang,” and of the latter, the rendering of by “he was made Chancellor.” I oppose such procedures on the general grounds that the chief if not the sole responsibility of the scholarly translator is fidelity to his text. In other words it is to convey, as precisely as he may in a different tongue, the sense of the language of the original.

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