One of the worst problems in our world is that it is infested with 'experts,' 'experts' of every variety from the diploma-wavers through to the self-appointed. The main aim of these 'experts' seems to have been to convince the world that only 'experts' have a right to say anything about anything. In this they have been extremely successful, and the mature, intelligent, and well-informed adult who may have a lot to contribute, but who is not an 'expert,' has been pretty well reduced to silence.
His mouth has been shut. He has been convinced that his own God-given brain is worthless. Even if there's something he'd like to say, he or she is afraid of being shouted down by the 'experts' and their groupies. A reading of the great Chinese thinkers would soon convince anyone of how dangerous and damaging to society 'experts' can be, but most of us don't read the Chinese. We have been conditioned to think of them as alien and to forget that they were human like us.
Ezra Pound may have been a bit crazy in some ways (who isn't?), and his Chinese readings have come in for a lot of flak, but anyone who, like Pound, loved Asian thought and set out to bring it to a West that is desperately in need of it, certainly deserves our gratitude whether they be 'expert' or non-expert.
Nobody knows how much Chinese Pound knew anyway. He certainly knew some. And anyone who knows anything at all about the complexities of Classical Chinese realizes that all readings or translations from that language, whether by professional linguists or enthusiasts such as Pound, must always be personal. There are just too many ways of validly interpreting a given line.
And as Burton Watson, who is one of the USA's foremost scholars of Ancient Chinese has pointed out in his 'Complete Works of Chuang Tzu,' since there can be no definitive interpretation neither can there be any such thing as a definitive translation. Watson, incidentally, was perfectly happy to approve Thomas Merton's readings of another great Chinese thinker, Chuang Tzu, even though Merton knew no Chinese at all. He feels that the more translations, whether expert or non- expert (when done with sincerity and love), the better. But experts such as Burton Watson, sadly, are rare, perhaps because they are the only true experts.
My own copy of Pound's 'Confucius' was purchased many years ago. It's very well-thumbed and heavily annotated, and I often return to it. I've also studied Arthur Waley's more exact translation carefully, and a few others. But the Confucian lines that stick in my mind always seem to be those of Pound, lines such as: "If the root be in confusion, nothing will be well governed" (page 33).
The "root" today is certainly "in confusion." And those who dismiss Pound on the basis of a few howlers are simply adding to the confusion. To let you in on a secret, there are many howlers - up to and including the loss of whole lines - in the translations of even reputable and well-known scholars of Chinese (though I've never found any in Burton Watson).
My advice would be to ignore the gripers, most of whom don't have direct access to the Chinese text anyway, and to read Pound's version of Confucius. He was a literary genius and got it right most of the time, and you'd learn a great deal from it.
Pound's 'Confucius' has always found and will continue to find readers. I think it's because, as Confucius says: "Those who know aren't up to those who love..." (page 216).