Obviously, "交通" means transport or transportation in English. But in reality, there are various versions of the translation.

"交通银行" = Bank of Communications (One of the key five State-owned commercial banks of China).

"上海交通大学" = Shanghai Jiaotong University (One of the best colleges in China, offering a large number of degree majors besides those concerning transportation).

"广西交通职业技术学院" = Guangxi Vocational and Technical College of Communications (One of the many such colleges co-sponsored by local education authorities and local transportation authorities in China, with three-year diploma programs offered but no degree).

Why are they so different? Is there any principle for translation or nomenclature?

By the way, China's national transportation authorities 交通部 now changed into 交通运输部. Its name in English was "Ministry of Communications", but now it is "Ministry of Transport".

6 Answers 6


For the universities, only

上海交通大学 (Shanghai Jiaotong Univ)

西安交通大学 (Xi'an Jiaotong Univ)

北京交通大学 (Beijing Jiaotong Univ)

西南交通大学 (Southwest Jiaotong Univ, in Sichuan)

国立交通大学 (National Chiao Tung University, in Taiwan)

use pinyin for 交通 because of historical reasons. They all originated from one university, the old 交通大学, where 交通 here comes from an old literature and doesn't simply mean transportation.

Other "交通" universities will use the English translation, either transportation or communication.


交 means crossing, intersection, 通 means connection, intercommunication, originally, later its major meaning changes to transportation in modern Chinese. I think communication, even jiaotong, are better than transportation, in 交通银行 and 交通大学.


So many fake Chiao Tung University in China Only the five listed by jf328 are real


中国交通银行Bank Of Communications 交通大学Jiao Tong University(eg:Shanghai Jiao Tong University) 交通职业技术学院Communication Professional and Technical College(or communications technical college)


It seems to me that 交通 doesn't so much have a meaning as it expresses an ideal for the educational institutions it was attached to at their hopeful foundings.

The term conveys what might have been meant by Enlightenment in the America of the late 18th Century, liberal arts in the world of John Dewey, and the Humanities in the West today.

The problem today is that "Does the cat catch mice?" is about as profound as any statement of Chinese ideals is allowed to get. For the moment, then, it's probably safest to stick with Communications, moronic though it be. The thought humanism with Chinese characteristics should certainly not be allowed to come to the surface of one's mind.


Former answers are accurate, but I think it is necessary to figure out what 交通 means. This word comes from 易经(I Ching) an very important ancient book of Chinese. It says 天地而万物通*,上下交而其志同*. It is full of philosophy and is very hard to be translate it into English.This sentence contains the Chinese ancient view and attitude of the natural and human society.

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