In ancient times, basically the only means of communication was by “word of mouth.” Just for fun, sometime tell a friend a story in great detail, and tell them the importance of passing it along to as many people as possible, and as accurately as possible, just the way you’re telling it to them. Obviously, by the time you hear it again it’s doubtful that you will even be able to recognize it as the same story that you originally told. Can you imagine all the information that has simply been lost in translation down through the ages, especially in regards to martial arts and what supposedly transpired thousands of years ago? Even with so-called ancient texts that have survived. I have been privileged to see some of these, and trust me, just trying to decipher them is a guess at best, but people pass these things on as fact. Not only does translation enter into the equation, but so does each person’s perception of what supposedly took place.
Everything is left up to discretion of the translator. We as humans have for centuries built our world around these kinds of things and pass them along from generation to generation as truth, even though they continually change in interpretation. Basically, everything is left up to conjecture just like people today try to translate just exactly what it was that Bruce Lee was all about, and what he was trying to convey to us with his Jeet Kune Do. Can everyone possibly be right with their respective translations?