China Calls for English Translation Change: Dragon to ‘Lóng’
As the Year of the Blue Dragon approaches, there is a growing call to change the official English translation of the Chinese dragon from “dragon” to “lóng” in China.
Yangtze Evening Post reported on the 7th (local time) that many Chinese school textbooks currently translate the dragon as it is. Still, with the Year of the Dragon approaching, the state-run media has been translating it as “lóng” more frequently.
CGTN, the English channel of China’s state-run CCTV, translated the Year of the Dragon as “Lóng Year” and the dragon dance as “Lóng Dance” in a news report about an event on the 9th of last month.
The first time the dragon was marked as “lóng” dates back to 1809. At that time, a British missionary translated the sound of the dragon as “lóng” while translating the Analects.
Some scholars have argued for about 20 years that “lóng” is the correct translation. Huang Ji, an associate professor of communications at Huadong Normal University, said in 2006 that the dragon should not be translated as “lóng”, and during the Two Sessions (the National People’s Congress and of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) in 2015, a political consultative committee member officially proposed to clarify the English translation of the dragon.
The local response to “lóng” is positive. In an online survey by the WeChat account Shanghai Wenlian, 9 out of 10 Chinese netizens chose “lóng.”
Meanwhile, it is believed that the Western dragon and the Chinese “lóng” are entirely different in China.
The reason is that while in East Asia, the dragon usually signifies luck, the dragon in the West often symbolizes evil. In East Asia, the dragon is often depicted without wings and in colors like gold, while in Western Asia, the dragon is frequently drawn with large wings and is usually black.