Griffith's Translation

Griffith's Translation: The only strength of Griffith's book, which was written in the middle of the twentieth century, is that the translator was himself a military general. The book includes good background about the life and historical times of Sun Tzu.

It is an excellent work if the reader wants The Art of War from the viewpoint of a military man. In his translation, Griffith keeps close to the phrases of the original without adding false paragraph breaks. He does sometimes combine phrases that Sun Tzu did not combine.

This translation makes many odd word choices. "Gobble," "thwart," and "at bay" are all examples. You can see his choice to translate the character for "war" as "troops" here.

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Our Character Translation

Griffith's Translation

Without invitation right correct’s banner, They do not engage an enemy that is advancing with well-ordered banners
Do not attack hall hall of formation, nor whose formations are in impressive army.
Here govern transform one also; This is control of the factor of changing circumstances.
Make use war’s method, Therefore, the art of employing troops is that

High mound do not face,

when the enemy occupies high ground, do not confront him;

Back walls do not oppose,

with his back resting on the hills, do no [sic] oppose him.

Pretend flee do not follow,

When he pretends to flee, do not pursue.

Sharp soldiers do not attack,

Do not attack his elite troops.

Bait war do not feed,

Do not gobble preferred baits.

Returning home legion do not block,

Do not thwart the enemy returning homewards.

Encircling troops must watch-tower,

To a surrounded enemy you must leave a way of escape.

Poor pillage do not force,

Do not press an enemy at bay.

Here use war’s method also.

This is the method of employing troops.