In 1998, Shambhala Publications published a translation of the Tao Te Ching (in pinyin: Daodejing and Dao De Jing) by Ursula Le Guin. The Dao De Jing was written in Classical Chinese, so it takes much more than just "knowing Chinese" to undertake a translation task like this.

According to the publisher, Le Guin had studied the Dao De Jing for more than forty years and

She has consulted the literal translations and worked with Chinese scholars to develop a version that lets the ancient text speak in a fresh way to modern people, while remaining faithful to the poetic beauty of the work. Avoiding scholarly interpretations and esoteric Taoist insights, she has revealed the Tao Te Ching's immediate relevance and power, its depth and refreshing humor, in a way that shows better than ever before why it has been so much loved for more than 2,500 years.

(You can find the same blurb on the website of PenguinRandomHouse, which distributes Shambhala's books.)

The above description of the translation process is rather vague, so I would like to know if any further details are available, such as:

  • Which "literal translations" did Le Guin consult?
  • Which scholars did she work with?
  • What kind of interaction did she have with those scholars? (E.g. did she just ask questions about specific passages or did she also ask them to review passages that she had translated?)
  • How long did the process take?
  • Huh, I always thought esoteric Taoist insights were the point. – MissMonicaE May 18 '18 at 15:02
  • @MissMonicaE Blame the blurb writers ;-) – Christophe Strobbe May 18 '18 at 15:59

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