Dave de Vos
I think spirit is a fairly accurate translation of ki. It has a lot of meanings and connotations in common with ki. To name a few:
- the vital principle or animating force within living beings
- the mind, will, feelings, mood (though the latter are more japanese meanings of ki than chinese)
- courage, liveliness, vigour, energy
- original meaning in Latin is breath, which is fairly close to the meaning of gas, as is the meaning of distilled alcohol, which is acquired from alcohol vapor
Just about the only meaning that's clearly a mismatch would be:
- a supernatural being
There is a lot more to be said about the meaning and origins of the word spirit, and how much of its original meaning got lost in our times. The closer we stay with its original meaning the more a translation of Ki into Spirit becomes correct and understandable.
However, since we have lost much of its original meaning, spirit has become a word that shares similar problems of interpretation as the word ki has.
So I wonder if it would solve the problem as put forward by the OP?
But in itself I agree, spirit is a good translation.
I never got that supernatural stuff...