“龙” with "dragon"

Guan Shijie

“If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are

“If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X



The huge role of translation in cognition. 

The Chinese “龙” is directly translated into the poison dragon dragon in the Western script, and the dragon that literally translates the Western poison  “龙” into Chinese. This translation is very unscientific.


First, this kind of translation is linguistically wrong. In contemporary Chinese and English, dragon and dragon are different.

Table 1: Comparison of current dragon and dragon


"龙" in "Ci Hai"

"dragon" in Oxford Modern English-Chinese Dictionary


Literal meaning

Look: scales, horns, whiskers, claws.

Function: God-like animals that can make clouds and rain.

Look: usually with wings and claws.

Function: A reptile monster that can spit fire from the mouth.

Extended meaning

1. The feudal era used the 龙 as a symbol of the emperor.

2, tall horse.

3. In the old days, the mountain was shaped like a dragon.

4, star name.

5, through the "pet".

6, surname.

1, a fierce person, esp. a woman

(Severe people, especially women).

2, flying dragon

= flying lizard (flying lizard).

Second, mistranslation comes from the Opium War.


龙 Translated into dragon and dragon Translated into 龙, going back to the beginning of Sino-British and Sino-American cultural exchange history. Connotation of "dragon" and "龙" two irrelevant concepts, because the Western missionaries' translations are wrong, they are tied together, making the two become the same The concept has continued to this day.


The language translation problem belongs to cross-cultural communication. The code of the sender of the information is coded according to the codebook of the culture of A (generalized). The decoding of the receiver of the information is decoded according to the codebook of the B culture. Due to cultural differences, misreading often occurs. Sometimes difficult to avoid. For example, the "8" in Chinese is a Geely number with the "hair", and the translation into English "eight" loses the meaning of Geely's extension. Misunderstanding also has conflicting misreading. For example, “propaganda” means to explain to the masses in Chinese, to convince the masses to follow and act, to be neutral; and to translate into English “propaganda”, which exaggerates The meaning of whitewashing and even cheating is a derogatory term.


In most Western languages, dragon contains similar negative meanings in English. There are now about 400 million native speakers of English, and 75 countries have English as their official language. English dragon from French dragon, French dragon from Latin draco, Latin draco from Greek drakon.

Ancient Greek culture is the source of European and American culture. In Greek culture, drakon is a demon. In the performance of the opening ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, there was the content of the horse-riding warrior killing the dragon. Affected by Greek culture, dragon in France, Germany, Russia and other countries contain similar negative meanings in English. In the depiction of "dragon" in the Bible many times, dragons are all Satan and demons. There are more than one billion Christians in the world, and the concept of dragon is almost "in the hearts of the people" in countries affected by the Bible.

 "Dragon" is also a thing, most of which are two wings and resemble lizards, skins such as crocodiles, and some will spit fire and poison, so it is known as the evil sign, and China 龙 The culverts and categories are completely different, and they are simply "two kinds of animals." 龙 and dragon involves the core values of the two cultures of East and West. It is impossible for China to change the definition of the Satan and the devil in the Bible. The Westerners cannot change the definition of the Chinese since ancient times. 龙 is the definition of the beast. Both sides must adhere to their own views and cannot reconcile. No one of the two sides can assimilate the other side. They can only adhere to the diversity of the world's culture. They are originally two concepts. The concept of combining human error is separate, and each concept is also true.


Third, can the wrong translation be changed?

龙 and "dragon" is not a simple problem of beasts and evil beasts. It is the difference between Chinese and Western cultures.

1. "Dragon" is the snake in the Bible that let Adam and Eve eat the fruit of wisdom. It is the embodiment of the original sin and must be killed. Western culture advocates that human nature is evil, while Chinese mainstream culture advocates that human nature is good.

2. Western thinking is a binary opposition. Good and evil cannot be reconciled. Chinese culture believes that good and evil are dialectical relationships that can be transformed.

The author suggests transliteration, "dragon" is "dragon" and this wrong translation is like translating a dog into CAT. After correcting, the British and American people do not care about China when they interact with the Chinese 龙 The meaning of auspiciousness, the Chinese can also be bold in love 龙, without worrying that the "dragon" in the West is evil.