Jewish Journal


November 26, 2010

The Chinese Translation of the “Jew(s)”


The most popular translation is “犹太人”. There are three characters in this Chinese word:

The first and second characters are “犹” and “太”. It seems to me that “犹太” was introduced into Chinese as a transliteration of the German word “Jude”.
The third (the last) character is “人”. It means “people”. Therefore you can see “犹太人” means “Jewish people”. It can be referred to an individual or the Jewry.

The above mentioned “犹太人” is written in simplified Chinese characters. The government in Beijing made the simplified characters standard in Mainland China decades ago. Traditionally, the word is written as “猶太人”. The traditional Chinese characters are mainly preserved in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and among Chinese in diaspora.

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