- Gordon Dumoulin
Lost in translation... "agree to disagree"
“𝘢𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘦”...
a common translation used in media for the hashtag "求同存异" which went viral in Chinese social media after the online meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden early last week.
The literal translation of 求同存异 is “𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗸 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗼𝗻 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀”
It is interesting to reflect the perspective of the literal translation vs. the common translation made in Western media.
In comparison with “seek common grounds while reserving differences” , “agree to disagree” seems more like 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗻𝗲𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗹𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄-𝘂𝗽 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀. While the literal translation ignites actions of “𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗼𝗻 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝘀” 𝗮𝗻𝗱 “𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀”, 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗯𝘀 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗯𝘀 "𝗮𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗲" 𝗮𝗻𝗱 "𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗮𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗲".
Cross-cultural communication and understanding is so vital in this time of frictions and separations. People definitely need to seek common grounds instead of statements of agreement or disagreement.
Reserving differences stimulates chances for developing common grounds. Differences do not need to be ignored but people should realize differences always have two sides (that is why there is a difference 😊).
Addressing differences towards others requires a thorough understanding of the other side. On 𝗮 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 but not less importantly 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗵 𝘀𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗱 𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗮 𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀. Proven most difficult more than once the most difficult or tricky part of addressing differences (consciously or subsconsciously) is 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗿𝗱 𝗯𝗮𝘀𝗶𝗰 𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗲𝗿 : 𝗮𝗻 𝗼𝗯𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘆𝘀𝗶𝘀, 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝗼𝗻𝗲’𝘀 𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲.
Psychological projection plays an important role in the third layer; the process of misinterpreting what is "inside" as coming from "outside". It forms the basis of empathy by the projection of personal experiences to understand someone else's subjective world.
Especially in this period of time, differences are thriving while common grounds are fragile terrains.
Differences are actually unique distinctive values for mutual learning and understanding but very dangerous when not treated with cultural sensibility and objective research or simply not accepted. Therefore seeking common grounds is so important as a base before going anywhere into a respectful dialog of differences.
(credits to Bei Wang 王蓓 and Arnold Ma for bringing this translation under attention).
Pictures : Some beautiful foggy days last week in Beijing...
#crosscultural #crossculturalcommunication #chineseculture #lostintranslation