I believe that the only way for China to promote its unique culture to the world is by virtue of its cultural key terminologies. Those terms, such as shengren, wenming, zhongyong, and thousands more, shall not be translated into English; instead they should be adopted. The “Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture” represent the originality and inventiveness of some of the greatest Chinese thinkers. Their words, names, brands, and ideas need to be protected and guarded against past erroneous, misleading Western translations. This way, we will be creating a more diverse and more authentic “future global language” that would allow for the presence of genuine Asian terms, in particular Chinese terms, for the first time in world history.
“Even the most educated Westerners may have no idea of what such terms as ren, datong and tianxia mean,” said Thorsten Pattberg, a German philosopher and cultural critic.
The first book of a new series titled Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture is expected to shed light on the aforementioned issue.
The book, which is scheduled to be published by Beijing-based Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press (FLTRP) in early June, translates 100 terms in ancient Chinese literary, philosophical and historical writings into English and explains them in both Chinese and English. Below each item, there are short citations extracted from ancient writings to illustrate how the expressions used to be employed.
The Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture Project was launched in December 2013, when the Ministry of Education, the State Language Commission and 10 other departments jointly rolled out the initiative. Over 70 renowned domestic and foreign experts in history, philosophy, literature and translation were involved in the process. […’]”
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