Monday, September 21, 2009

Translations of 4P or Bazi terms

There are no commonly agreed translations of 4P terms. Different schools or teachers translate 4P terms according to his/her personal preferences. There are three major rules used in translations:

1. Literal translations: This simply gives a faithful and very often, horrible (in terms of culture shock) translations of the terms. For examples, “shi-shen” is translated as “eating god”, “qi-sha” becomes “7-killings”, “shang-guan” becomes “hurting officials or officers” and the likes. Problem with literal translations is that it may bias students’ perception towards certain terms as “bad” because it sounds horrible. In reality, every one of the “10 gods” or ‘transformation stars” (my terminology) can be positive or negative depending on the composition of the 4P chart. Another common misconception is the ubiquitous uses of the term "god" in 4P, like "useful god" (yong shen), "enmity god" (chou shen) and the like, making 4P sound "religious" when it is actually more statistical in nature.

2. Pin-yin translations: This gives a transliteration of the 4P terms like “shi-shen”, “zheng-guan” and etc. It takes some time to get used to these foreign terms. But it is great when you go back to the original Chinese texts or switching teachers/school.

3. Translation based on interpreted meanings: This translates the 4P terms based on the understanding of the translator. For example, shi-shen and shang-guan are translated as “output” stars. But different people have different understanding of the terms, so the translations can sometimes be confusing and shocking as well. Good translations under this should be “value-free” or NOT “value-laden”. It should also give meanings that are faithful or close to the original meanings of the terms. The translated terms should not influence the perception of the readers and students.

4. Mixing of all of the above

The following examples are the common translations of 4P's "10 gods" or "transformation stars":

Jie-cai 劫财
Ken: JC, +peer ("+" stands for polarity "yang")
Others: rob wealth, competitor, unfriendly parallel, contender-star, unfriendly partner

Bi-jian 比肩 
Ken: BJ, -peer ("-" stands for polarity "yin")
Others: friend, colleague, unfriendly parallel, friend-star, friendly buddy 

Ken: ZC, +weatlh
Others: direct wealth, income, regular weatlh, proper wealth, main income, expected wealth, wife-star 

Ken: PC, –wealth
Others: indirect wealth, wealth, unbecoming wealth, unexpected wealth, unexpected property, windfall star, godsend wealth, unexpected possession

Ken: ZY, +resource
Others: direct resource, resource/education, proper resource, main funds, proper care, mother-star, willingly nourished

Pian-yin 偏印 
Ken: PY, –resource
Others: indirect resource, resource/education, unbecoming resource, unexpected funds, unbecoming care, guardian star, unwillingly nourished

Ken: SG, +output
Others: hurting officer, intelligence/aspirations, drastic ouput, actor-star, offending-star, harsh output

Ken: SS, –output
Others: eating god, intelligence/aspirations, gracious output, artist-star, food-star, emotional IQ

Ken: ZG, +power
Others: direct officer, power/status, proper power, discipline, angel star, the obedience

Ken: QS, –power
Others: 7-killings, power/status, unbecoming power, unbecoming discipline, evil star, the stern

My personal bias is trying to make the translated terms as neutral as possible, so as not influencing the reader's perception. Each of these 10 "stars" or "gods" can be positive or negative depending on the combination of the natal chart and luck periods.

I do not mean other translations are not as "good" or "horrible" as mine. Translations reflect the worldviews, command of the Chinese language and mental conditions of the translators.

Ken Lai
© 2009 Ken Lai, all rights reserved.

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