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From foreign land to Chinese dream: US student translates Confucius' words into American slang

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-11-24 10:51
A still photo from a video shows Ben Giaimo learning ancient Chinese characters from a stone inscription, which is both his major and hobby. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Confucius once said: "studying and guiding my students will never tire me." He would be more than glad to know that 2,500 years later his ideas have spread worldwide and even been translated into other languages.

Ben Giaimo, an international student from Chicago, is now pursuing a master's degree at Shaanxi Normal University. Majoring in ancient Chinese philosophy and literature, he is attracted by ancient Chinese culture especially Lunyu, a book by Confucius, an ancient Chinese educator and philosopher.

While reading the book Lunyu, Ben found that Confucius is like one of his old friends: Santa Claus.

"Confucius brings wisdom, and he brings wisdom to everyone who is a good person. Santa brings presents to everyone who is nice and respectful." Ben explained.

He also found the virtue of Confucius is in accordance with sages in superhero comics, who lead people like superheroes and help them.

"So I took this whole book and I translated all of it into American slang, into words that people can understand."

From time to time, Ben would turn to his Chinese roommate to discuss whether he has made a proper interpretation. One of Confucius' mottos was translated by him as, "If I'm just walking along, chilling with some dudes, if they say or do something wicked cool and helpful, I'm gonna follow their ways and do like they do. But if they say something dumb or dangerous or stupid, I'm gonna make sure I don't do what they do."

"America and China are two big powers in the world now. They really need to work together and better understand each other, in order to help each other," said Ben. "And if they can help each other and better understand each other, it will help people. It'll be a really big impact on the whole world."

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