Talk:Shenjiying

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The title "Divine Engine Division" makes no sense[edit]

This article is about a military unit called the Shenji ying 神機營. Translating shen as "divine" and ying as "division" is fine (though there are other possible translations), but it makes no sense to render ji as "engine" in the early 15th century. Shenji meant something like "divine mechanism" or "divine instrument" and probably referred to the firearms themselves. I searched Google Books for "Divine Engine Division" and found only 5 results, all mirror pages of Wikipedia.[1] This means that not a single reliable source uses this translation of "Shenji ying".

I was hoping to find a standard translation in the scholarly literature, but I couldn't. The "Shenji ying" has been variously translated as "firearm brigade" (Chan Hok-lam in the Dictionary of Ming Biography [1976]), "Shen-chi Camp" (Edward Dreyer in Early Ming China [1982]), "Firearms Division" (Charles Hucker in his Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China [1985]), and "Artillery Camp" (Chan Hok-lam again, this time in the first Ming volume of the Cambridge History of China). All three scholars are major authorities on Ming history, so their books are all reliable sources.

Because there is no dominant translation in the secondary sources, I think we should just stick to the native Chinese name. Instead of opening a formal request for move that might take forever to get accepted because very few people are watching this page, I'm moving the page to Shenjiying directly, on the same model as Hushenying. If anyone disagrees, please revert and we'll do this through the formal channels! Madalibi (talk) 15:06, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Incidentally, I'm working on the Qing version of the Shenjiying, which I'm calling Peking Field Force because it's the name used by most reliable sources (see my sandbox). Once I move that new article to main space, we should add a hatnote to the top of our page to indicate that there was another Shenjiying. The Ming "Shenjiying" and the Qing "Peking Field Force" are completely different forces, as they were created 450 years apart by two different states and for different purposes, and there was no historical continuity between them, so I think it's reasonable to discuss them in two different articles despite their similar name in Chinese. Madalibi (talk) 15:06, 13 February 2014 (UTC)