Interview: Translation of Analects of Confucius enhances China-Malta cultural exchange, sinologist says-Xinhua

Interview: Translation of Analects of Confucius enhances China-Malta cultural exchange, sinologist says

Source: Xinhua| 2022-11-22 22:40:00|Editor: huaxia

VALLETTA, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Analects of Confucius is a fine example of world literature and the publication of the Maltese version of the ancient Chinese book would further enhance cultural exchanges between China and Malta, said Maltese sinologist and translator of the book Salvatore Giuffre.

It is the first time for The Analects of Confucius, or Lunyu in Chinese, a collection of ideas and sayings from the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius (551 B.C.-479 B.C.), to be translated into Maltese.

Giuffre spent around two years making the anthology accessible to Maltese readers, especially to young students, by translating it into Maltese. Currently, the Maltese version book is available for local readers.

The translated version comes complete with an introduction to the life of Confucius, the era he lived in, his teachings and the key concepts, terms, names and figures mentioned in The Analects of Confucius.

"The Analects of Confucius is among my favorite works of Chinese literature," Giuffre told Xinhua in a recent interview. "It also counts among the most valuable literary and philosophical works worldwide. Confucius teaches the fundamental virtues of humanity and places man in a system of continuous refinement."

The idea to translate The Analects of Confucius came about when China's Shandong Friendship Publishing House invited Malta's SKS Publishers to attend a seminar on Confucius in 2017 in east China's Shandong Province, the birthplace of Confucius. The event featured various publications of the book in different languages, and SKS Publishers was asked to enrich the collection with a Maltese version.

SKS asked Giuffre to translate the book. Giuffre is fluent in Chinese, has visited China several times and worked as the Maltese director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Malta.

The publication was partially financed by the Malta Book Fund, an initiative launched by the National Book Council, and the China Cultural Centre in Malta.

Giuffre has been studying Chinese since his teenage years. He got acquainted with classical Chinese during his studies as a Chinese major at the University of Bologna in Italy. "I need to learn classical Chinese to understand the core of Chinese literary culture and philosophy," he said.

Giuffre said he translated the book directly from the original, classical Chinese version.

"The Analects of Confucius was written in a dense and terse style, which makes understanding it rather challenging," he said.

Giuffre occasionally consulted versions of the book written modern in Chinese to clarify certain terms that he found ambiguous, obscure or hard to understand. He also added comments and explanations to make the text easier for Maltese readers to understand.

"I tried to keep my Maltese version as understandable as possible to enable a larger circle of readers to benefit from it," Giuffre said. "I hope my translation will contribute to the spread of Chinese culture and knowledge of Chinese philosophy in Malta."

Giuffre noted that Confucius not only teaches people how to become good rulers but also how to govern a country. The Chinese initiative of building a community with a shared future clearly expresses the vision that today's China has in order to promote a peaceful system of good global governance.

"Confucius' idea of good governance would then be taken as a model for world harmony, cooperation and governance," he said.

Looking forward, he said he hoped that cooperation between China and Malta in the field of publishing would create opportunities for more translation projects of literary works.