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Title: Meanings%20in%20Migration:%20Translation%20Strategies%20in%20East%20Asian%20Adaptations%20of%20European%20Science%20and%20Philosophy

Meanings in Migration Translation Strategies in
East Asian Adaptations of European Science and
  • Joachim Kurtz
  • Heidelberg University

I/ Outline1. Translation in the History of
Knowledge2. Creating New Terms3. Two Tales of
Translation Tale 1 Jesuit Aristotelian Logic
in 17th-c. China Tale 2 Mills System of Logic
in Early 20th-c. China4. Concluding Remarks
Criteria for Success or Failure?
Chinese Translation Francisco FURTADO (FU Fanji
???, 15871653) and LI Zhizao ??? (15651630)
Mingli tan ??? (De Logica, lit. An Exploration
of the Patterns of Names), 10 juan, Hangzhou
1631 2nd ed. 1636
Yan Fu ??, trans. Mule mingxue ???? (Mills
Logic). Nanjing Jinsuzhai, 1903 (Book I)
Shanghai Shangwu yinshuguan, 1905 (Book I to
Book III, Chap. 13).
Mikhail N. Epstein, 1950
PreDictionary n  (pre, from Lat. prae, before
dictionary or predict suffixes -ion and -ary)
- a projective dictionary that does not register
words already in use but "predicts" new words and
introduces them for the first time.  Almost all
dictionaries, even those that contain neologisms,
are reactive they reflect various foregone
stages in the development of language. A
PreDictionary, on the contrary, is a proactive
dictionary it contributes new words that may
make their way into the dictionaries of the
future. (M. Epstein, PreDictionary. A Lexicon of
Neologisms, 2003)
Some words that should exist a) gnawledge n
(word-portmanteau gnaw suffix -ledge cf.
knowledge)  mechanical knowledge that is
obtained by "gnawing" facts rather than by
conceptually and creatively interpreting
them.  Gnawledge and knowledge are homophones
(differ only in spelling). When Bacon said
"knowledge is power," he meant knowledge, not
gnawledge. b) cerebrity n (Lat cerebrum, brain
cf. celebrity)  a famous, well-publicized intelle
ctual a brainy, cerebral person who is
emotionally dry or egocentric. I try to avoid
meetings with such cerebrities. Everything they
have to say is already in their books. I used to
imagine Hegel as a cerebrity who had little to do
with human passions, and I was surprised to learn
that he fathered an illegitimate son. (M.
Epstein, PreDictionary. A Lexicon of Neologisms,
Another word that should exist (or perhaps
not?) c) bangover n (bangover cf. hangover)
a state of exhaustion due to sexual indulgence or
other excessive excitement. Bang has the
informal meaning a sense of excitement a
thrill to bang (slang)  to have sexual
intercourse.  If hangover refers to
after-effects of indulgence in alcohol, then
bangover refers to after-effects of sexual
excess and extravagance.  Ex. Good morning. You
are looking a little bit haggard, my friend. A
hangover? Well, and bangover, too.   I've
heard the Japanese have coined a word derived
from sex-over, sekusu oba, for which
condition small bottles of pick-me-up are
specifically marketed on platforms of commuter
railway stations at early morning. In English, it
could be called bangover, or sexhaustion. (M.
Epstein, PreDictionary. A Lexicon of Neologisms,
In the West, every field of learning has its own
specific terms. There are a large number of
different methods and those who have not worked
in one field for a long time are not able to
understand it completely and will commit
mistakes. When translating from a Western
language into Chinese, there is uncertainty and
confusion regarding the sounds. There is nothing
one can rely on. (1898)
  • Liang Qichao ???
  • (18731929)

Chinese is good enough as far as textbooks go,
for popular science but it is impossible that
any full knowledge of Western science can be
gained in a language which is entirely destitute
of scientific terminology. As a medium of thought
English is immeasurably superior to Chinese in
precision and clearness. The English speaking
student has a vast field of collateral thought
open to him which does not exist, and never will
exist in Chinese. The English speaking student
can keep up with the times, while the one who
only knows Chinese must depend on translation. It
seems to us as easy for a man born blind to
apprehend colors as for a Chinaman who knows none
but his own language to reach any proficiency in
modern science. (North China Herald, 1889)
The Chinese language being yet in a state of
vagueness, makes it impossible to enter into
scientific details with sufficient exactness to
convey definite notions (1880)
  • Ernst Faber
  • (18391899)

One will readily see how rude, how clumsy, how
inadequate such a vehicle of thought the Chinese
language must be. (1877)
  • Gustave Schlegel
  • (18401903)

Every new science must create a terminology for
itself, and in the introduction of the sciences
into China, new terms must be invented for each
one. This is a necessity, and no attempt should
be made to avoid it. How could a man write
accurately, or even intelligently, on any
scientific subject without the use of the
technical terms peculiar to that subject. The
Chinese language is particularly rigid, and
ill-adapted for the formation of technical terms
and new forms of expression. (1877)
  • Calvin Mateer
  • (18361908)

Are Chinese characters like old bottles that
cannot bear the infusion of new wine? Nothing is
further from the truth for no language, not even
the German or the Greek, lends itself with more
facility than the Chinese to the composition of
technical terms. Its elements being devoid of
inflection form compounds by mere juxtaposition
each component reflecting on the other a tinge of
its own color. (1885)
  • W.A.P. Martin
  • (18271916)

We must carefully avoid standing in our own
light if we want the Chinese to respect our
Western learning. Our systems have no more right
to universal use than the Chinese. Their ancient
and wonderful language which for some reasons is
more suited to become the universal language of
the world than any other, must not be tampered or
trifled with by those who wish to introduce our
Western sciences. (1897)
  • John Fryer (18391928)

Existing nomenclaturesWhere it is probable that
a Chinese term exists, though not to be found in
dictionariesa) To search in the principal
native works on the arts and sciences as well as
those by Jesuits missionaries and recent
Protestant missionaries b) To enquire of such
Chinese merchants, manufacturers, mechanics, etc,
as would be likely to have the term in current
use. (1880)
  • John Fryer (18391928)

Coining of new termsWhere it is inevitable to
create a new term, there is a choice of three
methodsa) Make a new character, the sound of
which can easily be known from the phonetic
portion, or use an existing but uncommon
character, giving it a new meaning b) Invent a
descriptive term using as few characters as
possible c) Phoneticise the foreign terms, using
the sounds of the Mandarin dialect, and always
endeavoring to employ the same characters most
used by previous translators or compilers. (1880)
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