百虑亨通 思齐致达
北外庄绎传教授:我的25点翻译体会
新东方

     1、一词多义。弄清原文的意思,在汉语中选用适当的词语。例如:

     Born in 1879 in Ulm, Germany, Albert Einstein was two years old when his parents moved to Munich, where his father opened a business in electrical supplies.

       阿尔伯特 爱因斯坦于1879年出生在德国的乌尔姆城。在他两岁的时候,父母移居慕尼黑。他的父亲在慕尼黑开了一家工厂,生产电气器材。(句中business一词,据有关资料介绍是指factory,而不是store,故译作“工厂”。)

     2、英语名词和介词用得多,汉语动词用得多。

     Psychologically there are two dangers to be guarded against in old age. One of these is undue absorption in the past.

     从心理方面来说,到了老年,有两种危险倾向需要注意防止。一是过分地怀念过去。(如译作“对过去的过分怀念”,则不顺。)

     3、英语代词用得多,汉语实词用得多。在一个句子里,英语可以先出代词,后出实词;汉语则先出实词,后出代词。

     One day, while I was playing with my new doll, Miss Sullivan put my big rag doll into my lap also, spelled “d-o-l-l” and tried to make me understand that “d-o-l-l” applied to both.

     有一天我正在玩一个新娃娃,沙利文小姐把我的大布娃娃也放在我腿上,然后写了“d-o-l-l”这几个字母,她是想让我知道“d-o-l-l”既可以指新娃娃,也可以指旧娃娃。(如译作“指二者”,就不顺;如译作“两个都指”,意思既不清楚,句子也压不住。)

     If they are disappointed at one place, the drillers go to another.

     钻探石油的人如果在一个地方得不到预期的结果,便到另一个地方去钻探。

     4、英语动词有时态,时间概念往往通过时态表现出来:汉语动词没有时态,表示不同的时间,往往需要加时间状语。

     It is like a dream to me now, floating through my mind in slow motion. Many children were playing close to the water, and we were stunned by their ignorance and daring.

     现在回想起来,就仿佛是一场梦,当时的情景还在我脑海里缓缓浮动。那一天,许多孩子在靠近水边的地方玩耍,他们那样大胆,不知道危险就在眼前,使我们非常吃惊。(译文加了“那一天”。)

     5、英语被动语态用得多,汉语被动式用得少,有时不用被动形式也可以表示被动的含义,有时可以用无主语句。

     When the whale is killed, the blubber is stripped off and boiled down, either on board ship or on shore.

     鲸鱼杀死以后,把鲸脂剥下来熬油,这项工作有的是在船上进行的,有的是在岸上进行的。(不一定译成“鲸鱼被杀死以后”,不用“被”字仍可表示被动的含义。)

     Great sums of money have been spent, for example in the deserts of Egypt, in “prospecting” for oil.

     在石油“勘探”方面,已经花了大笔的钱,比如在埃及的沙漠里进行的勘探工作就是如此。(原文是被动语态,但未说明谁是施动者。译文用了无主句。)

     6、英语并排用几个名词、动词或形容词时,其排列顺序可能要考虑到词的长短(长的放在后面,这样节奏较好)或分量的轻重(重的放在后面,这样不显得头重脚轻)。汉语除了考虑常用的顺序以外,还常常考虑词的音调。分量的轻重关系不大,常把分量重的词放在前面。

     …setting aside big tracts of land where nobody can fish, shoot, hunt, nor harm a single living creature with furs, fins or feathers.

     ……圈出大片土地,不准钓鱼,不准打鸟,不准打猎,凡是长皮的,长毛的或者长鳃的动物,一概不许伤害。(原文fish, shoot, hunt,由轻到重,feathers最长,放在最后。汉语则“长皮的,长毛的”连下来较顺。

     7、英语一般避免重复,代称用得多,不但名词可以用代词来替代,动词、形容词也有相应的词来替代。汉语则不怕重复,实称用得多。

     English grammar is very difficult and few writers have avoided making mistakes in it.

     英语语法十分困难,作家很少不犯语法错误的。(译文重复“语法”二字。)

     8.英语连词用得多,汉语连词用得少。例如表示条件或原因,汉语不一定用“如果”或“因为”之类的词,意思就包含在上下文里面了。

     This film showed how they put aside a thousand acres out West where the buffaloes roam and nobody can shoot a single one of them. If they do, they get in jail.

     电影演的是他们怎么在西边儿把一千英亩土地划出来,让水牛自由行动,谁也不准开枪打死一只。打死了,就得坐牢。(译文第二句没有用连词,没有用主语,重复了第一句里的“打死”二字。)

     9、词的搭配,如形容词与名词的搭配,副词和动词的搭配,主语与谓语的搭配等,英语可以用的搭配,往往不能直接译成汉语,这就需要选择适当的词语,或者改变句子的结构。

     The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster.

     我们一直在走的这条路表面上很好走,是一条平坦的超级公路,我们可以高速前进,但是走到尽头却要遇到灾难。(原文lies disaster 不能直译,只好改变句子结构,译作“遇到灾难”。)

     10、英语常以抽象名词做主语,后面接表示具体动作的动词。这种主谓搭配,在汉语里是很少用的,一般都要改变句子结构。

     Anger and bitterness had preyed upon me continually for weeks and a deep languor had succeeded this passionate struggle.

     几个星期以来,我又气又恨,感到非常苦恼,这种感情上的激烈斗争过去之后,我感到浑身无力。

     11、英语有些副词和动词的搭配无法直接译过来,可将原文副词的含义译成谓语或分句,放在句末。

     So heedful a writer as Henry James, for instance, on occasion wrote so ungrammatically that a schoolmaster, finding such errors in a schoolboy’s essay, would be justly indignant.

     就拿亨利.詹姆士来说吧,连他这样细心的作家写的东西,有时也不合语法。要是小学老师在学生的作文里发现那样的错误也会生气,而生气是完全应该的。

     12、英语有些副词放在句首,具有丰富的内容,译成汉语可以适当地加以发挥。

     Ideally, one day, researchers will know enough about the genesis of earthquakes……

     最理想的情况是,有朝一日研究人员能够对地震的成因……有足够的了解。

     13、主语的位置。英语往往把目的状语或其他成分放在句首,然后再出主语,主语与动词靠得较近。汉语则往往先出主语。

     To protect the whale form the cold of the Arctic seas, nature has provided it with a thick covering of fat called blubber.

     大自然为了保护鲸鱼,使它不致在北冰洋受冻,便让它长了厚厚的一层脂肪,叫做鲸脂。

     14、英语的书面语差不多每个句子都要有主语,汉语的主语则不那么重要,如果前面已把主语说清楚,后面的句子不一定用主语。甚至在一个句子里应该出现另外一个主语的时候,这个主语仍然可以省略。

     They used this kind of scare tactic when I was growing up. I wonder what they use today.

     我小的时候,他们用过这种吓唬人的办法。现在用什么办法,就不得而知了。(译文第二句,两个主语“他们”和“我”都没有出现。)

     15、英语有who, which等词,可以引出定语从句,汉语多用并列分句,或单成一句,有时可把定语从句先处理。

     Richardson, who served as both Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare during the Nixon Administration, was talking about the negotiations for a Law of the Sea treaty, which came to a virtual conclusion last week after six years of deliberations.

     理查森曾在尼克松政府中担任国防部长和卫生、教育和福利部长,他是在谈到关于海洋法条约的谈判时说这番话的。(译文用了并列分句)

     I have never had much patience with the writers who claim from the reader an effort to understand their meaning.

     有些作家,读者要费力气才能看懂他们的意思,我对这样的作家一向是没有多少耐心的。(原文中的定语从句在译文中提前处理。)

     16、英语的主语部分可以很长,其中包括几个介词引导的短语作定语,汉语往往用分句来表达,或者独立成句。

     The 180-page document, with more than 300 articles and eight annexes, definitively covers every conceivable issue dealing with the seas, from the definition of what constitutes an island to the jurisdiction over fish that live in fresh water but spawn in the ocean.

       这份长达一百八十页的文件,有三百余条,并有八个附件。它涉及能够想到的每一个与海洋有关的问题,从岛屿的定义,到对在淡水生长而在海洋产卵的鱼类的管辖权,都做了明确的规定。(原文中的主语部分独立成句。)

     17、英语除了有who, which等词外,还有动词的-ing形式,因此句子可以很长,但组织得很严密。汉语叙事,则多用并列结构,一层一层地把事情说清楚。有时可以把较长地句子译成几个短句。

     In the winter of 1879, James Lecky, exchequer clerk from Ireland, and privately interested in phonetics, keyboard temperament, and Gaelic, all of which subjects he imposed on me, dragged me to a meeting of a debating society called The Zetetical: a junior copy of the once well known Dialectical Society founded to discuss John Stuart Mill’s Essay on Liberty when that was new.

     1879年冬天,詹姆斯•莱基拉我去参加一次辩论会。莱基是爱尔兰人,在财政部门当职员,有空喜欢研究语音,练习弹琴,学习盖尔语,他还硬让我也学这些东西。这次他带我去参加的辩 论会是一个名叫“探索学会”的团体举办的。当年约翰•斯图尔特米尔的文章《论自由》刚刚发表时候,成立过一个“辩证学会”来讨论这篇文章,这个学会曾名噪一时。探索学会就是仿照这个学会建立起来的,只是没有它那么有名罢了。(原文虽然较长,但并不很复杂。主语部分有一个同位语和一个定语从句,谓语部分有一个同位语和一个状语从句。译文则分成了五个句子。)

     18、汉语一般不用一连串的定语,一连串的“的”字。适当地在“的”字前增加动词,就显得有些变化,不那么单调。

     The resounding success of the Curacao experiment whetted the appetites of Florida livestock raisers for a similar feat that would relieve them of the scourge of screw-worms.

     库拉索岛上的实验取得巨大的成功,引起了佛罗里达州牲畜饲养者的兴趣,他们也想以同样的办法消除螺旋锥蝇这一祸害。(原文主语部分是一名词定语,若译作“库拉索岛上的实验的巨大成功”,就连用了两个“的”字,如在第二个“的”字前面加上“取得”二字,就好一点。现在把这一部分译成一个分句就更好了。)

     19、英语在一个句子里往往先说个人的感受,再说与感受有关的动作,最后才说最初发生的事情。汉语则相反,往往按照事情发生的顺序来叙述,最后才说个人的感受。

     The most important day I remember in all my life is the one on which my teacher,Anne Mansfield Sullivan, came to me. I am filled with wonder when I consider the immeasurable contrast between the two lives which it connects.

     在我的记忆里,安妮 曼斯菲尔德 沙利文老师来的那一天,是我一生中最重要的日子。从这一天开始,我的生活和以前迥然不同,一想到这一点,我就感到非常兴奋。

     20.表达同样的意思,英语的结构比较紧,汉语的结构比较松。

     A gang of men, under the direction of their energetic and likeable foreman, 25-year-old Phineas P. Gage, was working on a new line of the Rutland and Burlington railroad.

     一伙工人正跟着他们的领班在拉特兰-伯灵顿铁路的新线路上干活。这位领班名叫菲尼斯 P 盖奇,二十五岁,他精力充沛,待人和气。(原文是一简单句,有一个主语,一个谓语动词,却包含了这么多内容,结构显得比较紧。译文分为两句,第二句还包含两个并列分句,结构显得比较松。)

     21.拆句的情况多,合句的情况少。

     Poets as we know have always a made great use of alliteration. They are persuaded that the repetition of a sound gives an effect of beauty.

     我们知道,诗人一般总喜欢押头韵,觉得重复一个声音会产生美的效果。(原文两句都比较短,译文合成一句,语气较顺。)

     22.注意文体,应该用口语的地方,选用适合口语的词句。

      “I remember thinking, ‘No. No. It’s not Jackson, it’s not my husband, it’s not my Jackson,’” she said. “But it was. He was lying in the street, right across from our house. The police said a man shot him over a parking space.”

     “记得我当时就想:“不,不。不是杰克逊,不是我丈夫,不是我的杰克逊”她说。“可是,那不是别人,正是他。他躺在大街上,就在我们的房子对面。警察说,为了争一块停车的地方,人家把他打死了。”

     23.一段文章的最后一句,特别是全文最后一段的最后一句,要比较有力,否则文章煞不住。中英文都是这样。翻译时就要把这最后一句的分量表达出来,给人以深刻的印象。

      Words have weight, sound and appearance; it is only by considering these that you can write a sentence that is good to look at and good to listen to.

      词具有一定的分量、声音和形状,只有考虑到这些因素,写出来的句子才能既好听,又好看。(若把“好听”放在最后,就压不住了。)

     24、题目可以照原文译,也可以根据文章的内容拟定。

     A Valentine to One Who Cared Too Much.

     衷肠曲(这个题目是参照文章的内容拟定的。原题的意思是:在情人节写给一个人的信,这个人关心的事情太多了。)

     25.遇到中国读者可能不熟悉的典故、人名、地名等,除了加注以外,还可以在译文中加几个字,略加说明。

     I learned a great many new words that day. I do not remember what they all were; but I do know that mother, father,sister, teacher were among them — words that were to make the world blossom for me, “like Aaron’s rod, with flowers.”

     那一天我学了许多新词,也记不清都有哪些词了。但是其中肯定有“母亲”、“父亲”、“姐姐”、“老师”——后来就是这些词把一个美好的世界展现在我的面前,就像《圣经》上说的“亚伦的杖开了花”一样。(这个典故出自《旧约民数记》第17章第8节。为了帮助中国读者了解,译文加了“就像《圣经》上说的”几个字。)