When Lionel Giles began his translation of Sun Tzus ART OF
WAR, the work was virtually unknown in Europe. Its introduction
to Europe began in 1782 when a French Jesuit Father living in
China, Joseph Amiot, acquired a copy of it, and translated it
into French. It was not a good translation because, according to
Dr. Giles, It contains a great deal that Sun Tzu did not
write, and very little indeed of what he did.
The first translation into English was published in 1905 in
Tokyo by Capt. E. F. Calthrop, R.F.A. However, this translation
is, in the words of Dr. Giles, excessively bad. He goes
further in this criticism: It is not merely a question of
downright blunders, from which none can hope to be wholly exempt.
Omissions were frequent; hard passages were willfully distorted
or slurred over. Such offenses are less pardonable.