Ames' Translation

Ames’ Translation: The strength of Ames’ translation is in his work as a historian of the text. He explains in great detail the historical background of the text and its relation to other Chinese military and philosophical works. He also attempts to explain the differences between the Chinese and Western worldviews.

Ames also translates several smaller Chinese military texts that are not part of the standard text but which are either from earlier versions by the same author or related texts.

As a pure translator, Ames is my favorite translator now that I have had a chance to learn the Chinese characters. Unlike the translators of other popular versions, he translates very simply, adding little. He does break the text into paragraphs to create his own interpretation of the lines that Sun Tzu meant to be read together. In another way, he does keep closer to the Chinese phrase system than I do; he uses very long sentences, separating phrases by semicolons. This can make the text a little difficult to read, which is why I went to a sentence and stanza system to try to capture the phrases in my work.

See at Barnes and Noble. See at

Our Character Translation

Ames' Translation

Without invitation right correct's banner,

Do not intercept an enemy that is perfectly uniform in its array of banners;

Do not attack hall hall of formation,

do not launch the attack on an enemy that is full and disciplined in its formations.

Here govern transform one also;

This is the way to manage changing conditions.

Make use war ’s method,

Therefore, the art of using troops is this:

High mound do not face,

Do not attack an enemy that has the high ground;

Back walls do not oppose,

do not go against any enemy who has his back to a hill;

Pretend flee do not follow,

do not follow an enemy that feigns retreat;

Sharp soldiers do not attack,

do not attack the enemy's finest;

Bait war do not feed,

do not swallow the enemy's bait;

Returning home legion do not block,

do not obstruct an enemy that is returning home;

Encircling troops must watch-tower,

in surrounding the enemy, leave him a way out;

Poor pillage do not force,

do not oppress an enemy that is cornered.

Here use war’s method also.

This is the art of using troops.