tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Sat Dec 29 11:43:25 2007

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Art of War Chp. 1 (section 1/3)

Agnieszka Solska ( [KLI Member] [Hol po'wI']

In my translation I try to keep the lines short in order to capture the 
epigrammatic style of the original text. Rather than post entire chapters at 
once, I will send them one section at a time. The divisions into sections 
are arbitrary.

'ay' wa':  chovlu'
Chapter One:  Making assessments

jatlh SunchI' [A]:

Sun Tzu said:

wo' potlh'a' 'oH veS'e'. [B]
yInmoHbogh pagh HeghmoHbogh yav 'oH.
taHmoHbogh pagh taHbe'moHbogh He 'oH. [C]

War is of vital importance for the state.
It is the ground of life or death.
The path to survival or extinction.
It must be examined carefully.

vagh De' Seghmey tIqel
'ej cha' gholpu' Dotlh yIngu'. [D]
De' wa': mIw'a' [E],
De' cha': muD [F],
De' wej: yav,
De' loS: ra'wI',
De' vagh: mIwmey.

Assess it
With reference to five criteria
And determine the status of the two sides.
The first criterion is Tao,
The second: climate,
The third: terrain,
The fourth: commander,
The fifth: procedures.

mIw'a''e', [G]
'oHmo' Qochbe' ghotpu', DevwI'pu'chaj je. [H]
vaj DevwI'pu' tlhej ghotpu' HeghtaHvIS,
DevwI'pu' tlhej yIntaHvIS
'ej Qob luHajbe'.

Tao refers to
What makes people be of one mind with their leaders.
So they will die with them
And they will live with them
And they will not fear danger.

muD'e', [G]
Daq wov, Daq Hurgh je 'oS,
Hat bIr, Hat tuj je 'oS,
DIS poHmey pat 'oS je.

Climate refers to
Light and darkness,
Heat and cold,
And the cycle of the seasons.

yav'e', [G]
yav jen, yav 'eS je 'oS,
chuq tIq, chuq tIqHa' je 'oS
He ngeD, He Qatlh je 'oS,
yav Huv, yav HuvHa' [I] je 'oS,
Daq Qob, Daq QobHa' je 'oS.

Terrain refers to
High and low ground,
Distance and proximity,
The ease or difficulty of passage,
The openness of the ground,
Dangerous and safe locations.

ra'wI'e', [G]
batlh, [J]
Sun je 'oS.

Commander represents
And discipline.

mIwmey'e', [G]
QI' pat,
qutluch patlh,
jo vu'taHghach je 'oS.

Procedures refer to
Military organization,
The chain of command,
And the management of resources.

vagh De' Seghmeyvam Sov Hoch ra'wI'pu'.
bIH yajchugh vay' [K] yay chav. [L]
yajbe'chugh vay' luj [M].

These five criteria are known to all commanders.
Those who understand them gain victory.
Those who do not understand them suffer defeat.


[A] {SunchI'}:

The name, written Sun Tzu or Sunzi depending on the convention used, is more 
of a title and is often rendered as Master Sun. I didn't like the idea of 
calling the guy "master of discipline", which is what {Sun pIn'a'} would 
mean, so I decided to transliterate his name.

[B] {wo' potlh'a' 'oH veS'e'}:

Phrased like this, the Klingon version comes close to the original both in 
structure and meaning:

   BING    ZHE      GUO ZHI    DA   SHI
  (war) (thing) (state) (of) (great) (matter)
   "War, [it is] a grave/great matter of the state."

Naturally, other ways of phrasing the line, such as

   {wo'vaD potlhqu' veS}
   {wo'vaD 'ut veS}

are possible and perhaps better-sounding.

I am also wondering if {wo'} is in fact the right word. Perhaps {Sep} would 
work better. After all, an empire is "a group of nations, states, or peoples 
ruled over by a powerful sovereign" (Webster) and war is important to a 
country whether it is an empire or not.

[C] {yInmoHbogh pagh HeghmoHbogh yav 'oH,
      taHmoHbogh pagh taHbe'moHbogh He 'oH}:

I believe that the metaphors of ground and route, which appear in the 
Chinese text, can be retained in the Klingon translation.

I am still trying to decide whether to translate these two lines using nouns 
or verbs. A noun-based translation would make the two texts, Chinese and 
Klingon, more equivalent in terms of grammar and style:

   {yIn Hegh ghap yav 'oH.}
   {taHtaHghach taHbe'ghach ghap He 'oH.}

   "It is the ground of life and death."
   "It is the route of survival or non-survival."

On the other hand, a verb-based translation seems to convey the meaning more 

   "It is the ground which makes (one) live or die,"
   "It is the route which makes (one) survive or not survive"

I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

[D] {'ej cha' gholpu' Dotlh yIngu'}:

The Chinese text speaks of making comparisons. Sadly, we don't have a word 
meaning "compare"...

[E] {mIw'a} - "Tao":

{mIw'a} is the word I used for "Tao" in my traslation of the "Tao Te Ching" 
available at

[F] {muD} - "climate":

The Chinese uses the word TIAN, which carries a whole variety of meanings 
including sky, day, atmosphere, weather, climate, a divine force controlling 
human fate, the abode of the god(s) and/or the spirits of the dead. Since we 
don't have a single Klingon word that incorporates all of those meanings, I 
opted for the word whose meaning seemed most pertinent to warfare.

[G] {muD'e'},{yav'e'}, etc.:

    "As for Tao/climate/terrain/etc.",
    "As far as /climate/terrain/ etc. is concerned"

Both in Chinese and in Klingon each section is introduced by a word (or, in 
Chinese, words) indicating what the section will be devoted to. In the 
English text the "As for ..."  phrases have been omitted for stylistic 

[H] {'oHmo' Qochbe' ghotpu', DevwI'pu'chaj je.}:

The Klingon and English versions do not exactly match each other for 
stylistic reasons. The literal English translation of the Klingon line 
sounds clumsy: "Because of it people and their leaders agree (i.e. are of 
one mind)." Bringing the Klingon text closer to the English version would 
yield something like {ghotpu', DevwI'pu'chaj je Qochbe'moHbogh vay' 'oH}, 
which would also be clumsy.

[I] {yav Huv, yav HuvHa'} - "openness of the ground":

{Huv}, meaning "be clear, not obstructed," is used instead of {poS}, meaning 
"be open, opened", since the text is about the ground which is not blocked 
or obstructed, not one which is not closed or locked.

[J] {batlh} - "integrity":

The English is based on the information dislosed in HolQeD (12:3, p. 9), 
where {batlh} is glossed as the "general, philosophical concept, associated 
with integrity."

[K] {vay'}:

In my English translation I often render {vay'} as "those" for stylistic 

[L] {bIH yajchugh vay' yay chav}:

In order to present information in the same order as it is presented in 
Chinese (and English) I often use {-chugh} clauses instead of {-bogh} 
clauses. Sentence {yay chav bIH yajbogh vay''e'} seems a little clumsy and 
has the agent at the end.

[M] "suffer defeat":

{luj} is used rather than {ghaH jeylu'} to echo the phrases {yay chavlu'/ 
lujlu'}, which appear in the Klingon proverb {noH QapmeH wo' Qaw'lu'chugh 
yay chavbe'lu' 'ej wo' choqmeH may' DoHlu'chugh lujbe'lu'}, i.e. "Destroying 
an empire to win a war is no victory, and ending a battle to save an empire 
is no defeat" (TKW, 211).


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