This is not a word-for-word translation, but rather an attempt to capture the essence of the original verse as much as possible in minimal wording.  My translation of this verse is based on my limited understanding of the Chinese language and the interpretation from the following sites.   http://edu.ocac.gov.tw/culture/chinese/culturechinese/vod12html/vod12_12.htm

第九課〈明湖居聽書〉

 

老殘遊記:

贓官可恨,人人知之,清官尤可恨,人多不知,

蓋贓官自知有病,不敢公然為非,

清官則自以為我不要錢,何所不可?

剛愎自用,小則殺人,大則誤國。

 

Translation by Elisa English:

  

Corrupt officials, though heinous, are known to all.

Incorrupt officials, though most despicable, are known to few.

As the former, conscious of their sickness, conduct no public atrocity. 

Whilst, the later, armed with unblemished records, commit all ferocity. 

With obstinacy, incorrupt officials stop at nothing for supremacy.

They, at a minimum, deprive the life of their people;

while, in the extreme, destroy the future of their nation.

 

You can find another version of my translation from the link below.  However, I like the one I posted above better.

http://elisaenglish.pixnet.net/blog/post/639676

 

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