Ignorance is translated in Chinese as "wu ming." The word "ming", refers to wisdom that comes from realization; "wu" is a negation. Thus, wu ming means the absence of wisdom and the absence of realization. Although the innate clarity of the mind is always there, we have never recognized or experienced it because we have not attained realization. This is why it is called ignorance.
Excerpt from Luminous Wisdom Book Series: The Paper Tiger ~ Suffering is just a Paper Tiger