I am looking to get a translation of this calligraphy piece into English. (It was done as a demonstration by a Chinese artist at college ~1976.) Thank you!
ancient people believed China was surrounded by four seas,
thus (they) referred to "four seas" as all the territories of China.
Originally (it) referred to (the) monarch who controlled everything under heaven (天下）,
(who) ruled the whole country.
Nowadays it is a general reference to people who drift around without a fixed location or just want to travel.
(for whom) everywhere, anywhere can be their home.
Explanation of this saying: 海內存知己・天涯若比鄰
Within the four seas (you) have intimate friends,
even at the far ends of the earth,
(they) still feel as close as neighbours.
My attempt at translation:
(All) In China (are) intimate friends, (those) on the far horizon (are) just like neighbours.
[There are about 200 million workers who leave their villages to seek work in other towns and cities. Come Spring Festival, they all go home. This must be the biggest migration of people in the world, in peace time or war. It's called 春运 chūnyùn]