I don't know a lot about translating Chinese, we all know that, and I sure am not an expert on any aspect of the use or history of tingjin.
All I can say is that my take on "listening" to my opponent is not really all that terribly complicated.
That, of course, most likely means I'm totally unclear on the concept.
However, "keep it simple" is a rule I live by and so strive for it in all things.
To me, when I'm facing an opponent (which in modern terms means when my push hands partner and I are working together) I don't imagine for one second that I'm sending out chi feelers or non-physical lines of "sense" to feel or listen to my opponents "jin", all I'm doing is watching, feeling, doing my best with the senses I do actually possess and understand to figure out what he is trying to do to find and push against my center so that he can knock me off balance.
In my personal, humble opinion the idea of "tingjin" which I take to mean literally as "sense where my oponent is sending his energy" is nothing esoteric, it's not tied to any one of my physical senses but all of them and it's certainly not any kind of mystic mumbo-jumbo that gives me a supernatural way to feel every thought or intention in my oponents body and mind.
All I believe the term to mean is that with much practice I will begin to be able to use all of my natural senses, sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, to be able to recognize when my opponent begins to move his energy against me and, once my experience reaches the level of it, I will be able to sense what he intends to do with that energy and counter it before he can make it effective by moving myself in such a way as to nullify the effect, or redirect the effect, of his energy movement.
"When my opponent moves, how do I get there first"? It's really quite simple. He begins to move, I sense with my normal, every day senses that the particular type of movement he is making is usually used for a certain purpose, I know that purpose, recognize it through experience then I move in a fashion that experience has taught me will take me out of his energies way, or intercept his energy and redirect it for my own purpose.
I can think of an analogy more suitable to modern times.
Driving a car.
You watch the road ahead, you watch the other cars, you listen to the road sounds, the engine sounds, you feel through the steering wheel the effect the road is having on your tires, you smell all the ordinary smells, you taste all the ordinary tastes, and when any of those senses tell you that something is not right, your experience and instinct dictate the response that you will make to avoid the bad things that may be happening.
If you see another driver swerving erratically, your experience tells you to give them a wide berth and so you steer your vehicle out of their path. If you hear the sounds of screeching tires and the car in front of you suddenly is stopping, you either slam on the brakes or turn the vehicle to miss them or both. If you smell burning oil and see smoke coming out from under your hood, you pull over to the side of the road and turn off your engine.
These are all things that require "tingjin", they require you to use your senses and experience to recognize something is wrong and react favorably to it.
Same thing in TCC, only you are sensing out what your opponent is doing and you use your experience to judge the proper response and then make it.