Chinese Language Learning – Is my translation correct?


I am recently very interested in translating between Old Chinese and English though I am not very good at both especially when striking a balance between word-for-word and sense-for-sense translation. The below is a text written to oppose to creation of the Korean alphabet, eonmun. It was partly translated in wikipedia and I make some effort to contribute to and enrich it.

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>新羅薜聰吏讀, 雖爲鄙俚, 然皆借中國通行之字, 施於語助, 與文字元不相離, 故雖至胥吏僕隷之徒, 必欲習之。 先讀數書, 粗知文字, 然後乃用吏讀。 用吏讀者, 須憑文字, 乃能達意, 故因吏讀而知文字者頗多, 亦興學之一助也。 若我國, 元不知文字, 如結繩之世, 則姑借諺文, 以資一時之用猶可, 而執正議者必曰: “與其行諺文以姑息, 不若寧而習中國通行之文字, 以爲久長之計也。” 而況吏讀行之數千年, 而簿書期會等事, 無有防礎者, 何用改舊行無弊之文, 別創鄙諺無益之字乎? 若行諺文, 則爲吏者專習諺文, 不顧學問文字, 吏員岐而爲二。 苟爲吏者以諺文而宦達, 則後進皆見其如此也, 以爲: “二十七字諺文, 足以立身於世, 何須苦心勞思, 窮性理之學哉?” 如此則數十年之後, 知文字者必少。 雖能以諺文而施於吏事, 不知聖賢之文字, 則不學墻面, 昧於事理之是非, 徒工於諺文, 將何用哉? 我國家積累右文之化, 恐漸至掃地矣。 前此吏讀, 雖不外於文字, 有識者尙且鄙之, 思欲以吏文易之, 而況諺文與文字, 暫不干涉, 專用委巷俚語者乎? 借使諺文自前朝有之, 以今日文明之治, 變魯至道之意, 尙肯因循而襲之乎? 必有更張之議者, 此灼然可知之理也。 厭舊喜新, 古今通患, 今此諺文不過新奇一藝耳, 於學有損, 於治無益, 反覆籌之, 未見其可也。

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Although [*Idu*](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idu_script), a script created by [Seol Chong](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seol_Chong) in [Silla](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silla), is rustic and indecent, it assists the langauge by recording Korean words through its equivalent meaning or sound in Chinese, which does not alienate itself from Hanja. Therefore, even petty officers and servants would like to learn it. Via reading a few books, they will have a rough understanding of Hanja and use Idu after that. Since Idu users have to learn Hanja in order to express themselves, and therefore, many have acquired Hanja ability through it. It is, still, an assistance to the promotion of education. If our country had no script at all in the first place, as if the knotting-string era, then it is still agreeable to implement eonmun as a tentative measure. That said, upstanding officials must say,” Compare with learning the interim eonmun to muddle along, one should rather tardily learn Hanja which is prevalent in China in the long run. Moreover, Idu has been working for thousands of years, and there hasn’t been any hinderance to the bureaucratic paperwork. Then why should we change the effectual script by inventing a vulgar and futile one?Should eonmun is to be implemented, then officials would solely study eonmun and ignore the scholarly Hanja script, spiting the officialdom in two. Should a senior bureaucrat have a successful career without knowing eonmun, then the juniors would think that: “If (knowing)27 eonmun characters already suffices to position ourselves in the world, why should we exhaust ourselves to pursue the Chinese-based Confucianism?” If that is the case, then hardly anyone would know Hanja decades later. Although eonmun might be helpful in the bureaucracy , not knowing the script of the saint is as ignorant as staring at a plain wall, oblivious to right and wrong. What is the purpose of being good at eonmun? I am afraid our accumulation of culture will be gradually obliterated. The idu aforementioned, although borrowing hanja, is stilled despised by people with insight who intend to replace it by the authentic Chinese, the officialese. Not to mention that eonmun has nothing to do with Hanja at all. Why are we to use such earthy and indecent script? Even if eonmum has already existed in the past dynasties, but by considering our prosperous civilisation today, should we still be wiling to follow it? It is evidently obvious that there must be proposals rectifying it. Loathing the old out of the desire for the new is a general problem, regardless of past and present. Now, such eonmun is nothing but a new gadget. It is detrimental to study and useless to learn. I don’t see the feasibility of planning for it over and over.



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One Response

  1. DelaYaleD April 1, 2022
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