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为什么 翻译必须经得起考验?
时间:2019-03-04 14:22:25来源:未知

我们翻 译这篇文章的理由

  不够了解的朋友,或许会 觉得翻译应该挺简单,不过是 英文对应到中文——如此而已。不过可以保证,只要自 己真正动手做了翻译,开始一句一句去处理,就会发现“简单”这两个 字会自己长出脚来逃之夭夭,会在你 纠结地扶着脑袋的时偷偷溜走。

  语言不 仅仅是描述世界的工具。倘若你 我大脑所安装的语言系统不是同一版本,那我们 各自看到的世界就会有差异。正因为此,巴别塔倒下以后,人类不 同群体间的纷争也就不可避免。但我们仍然需沟通,也期待着沟通。学习对方的语言,运用人 类的同理心与感受能力,用文字 传递思想与情感。巴别塔无法一夜建成,误解与 冲突也不会明天就停止,但今天 的我们依然可以去做点什么,比如说,做“经得起考验”的翻译。

  ——伍豪

  为什么 翻译必须经得起考验

  作者:TIM PARKS

  译者:黄倩霞 & 高浦铭

  校对:伍豪

  策划:高浦铭 & 伍豪

  Why Translation Deserves Scrutiny

  为什么 翻译必须经得起考验

  Is translation a discipline or a cause? A catalogue sent to me by a small American publisher begins by naming all the translators of the foreign titles the company is offering, inviting the reader to thank and celebrate the people who have made the English versions of these books possible.

  翻译究 竟是一门中性的学科还是一项神圣的事业?一家美 国的小型出版商发给我一封电邮,内附一份图书目录。目录的 开头列有公司所有外国书籍的英文译者的姓名,邀请读 者感谢并赞颂他们。

  discipline /'dspln; ˋdspln/ n [C] branch of knowledge; subject of instruction 学科; 教学科目: scientific disciplines 科学科目.

  cause /kz; kz/ n [C] aim, principle or movement that is strongly defended or supported 极力维 护或支持的目标﹑ 原则或运动; 事业: a good cause, ie one that deserves to be supported, eg a charity 高尚的目标(应为之尽力的目标, 如慈善事业

  I go to a university seminar on translation whose program is headed with a quotation from Paul Auster: “Translators are the shadow heroes of literature, the often forgotten instruments… who have enabled us to understand that we all, from every part of the world, live in one world.”

  我参加 了一个大学的研讨会,与翻译有关。研讨会 的日程安排以保罗·奥斯特的引文为标题:“译者是 文学背后的英雄,经常被遗忘的‘作者’……他们让我们认识到,我们来 自世界的各个角落,但都生 活在同一个世界当中。“

  Paul Auster 保罗·奥斯特 美国作家,代表作《纽约三部曲》

  I go to a translation conference where the keynote speaker observes with satisfaction that the period when a speaker might show an example of translation, criticize it, and suggest his or her own supposedly better version—“the time of the ‘Translation Police’”—is thankfully over. Toward the end of the same conference, a revered pioneer of Translation Studies is pleased that “everything we have heard here makes a mockery of pedantic questions of fidelity and the old tendency to hierarchize some translations as good and some as bad.”

  我去过一个翻译会议,主旨发 言人以心满意足的口吻评论道:在此之前,发言者 可能会拿出一个翻译的例子,批评它,并提出 自己更好的版本。真是谢天谢地,这种“翻译警察的时代”已经结束了。在同一 次会议即将结束时,一位受 人尊敬的翻译研究先驱说,“我们在 这里听到的一切,嘲讽了 翻译必须要忠实这种迂腐的观点,和译作 能区分好坏的陈旧趋势。”

翻译

  pedantic /p'dæntk/ adj paying too much attention to rules or to small unimportant details 学究的,迂腐的

  When a member of the “Translation Police” does show his face, he is rebuked. I open The New York Times and find an angry letter from a number of well-respected names in the translation community. They are attacking Benjamin Moser’s negative review of Kate Briggs’s recent book on translation, This Little Art. Moser had taken issue with Briggs’s remark that “we need translations. The world, the English-speaking world, needs translations. Clearly and urgently it does; we do.” He felt the claim needed qualification: Which translations, why? He was also unimpressed by Briggs’s enthusiasm for the first translator into English of Thomas Mann’s novels, Helen Lowe-Porter, whose German, it is generally agreed, had shortcomings that led to there being a large number of mistakes in the English versions. Those writing the letter to the Times deplore Moser’s “simplistic and retrograde… insistence on accuracy.” Translation is a complex subject, they observe, and accuracy not such an easy issue to pin down.

  当“翻译警察”露面时,往往会受到斥责。我打开《纽约时报》,找到了 一封翻译界知名译者们的来信表达他们的愤怒。他们正抨击本杰明·莫斯尔对凯特·布里格 斯最近一本关于翻译的著作提出的负面评论。莫斯尔的《这个小艺术》对布里 格斯的评论提出了异议。布里格斯认为:“我们需要翻译。英语世界,甚至整 个世界都需要翻译。我们迫 切地需要优秀的翻译,这是显而易见的,毋庸置疑。”莫斯尔 认为这样的言论有很多条件需要阐明:我们需要哪些翻译,为什么我们需要?他也不 认可布里格斯对托马斯·曼小说 中的第一位英文译者海伦·罗威波 特表露出的热情。莫斯尔 认为他对德语并不精通,导致英 文版本出现大量错误。那些给《纽约时报》来信的 译者们都对莫斯尔将“简单、退化…..对翻译准确性的坚持”提出异议。翻译是 一个复杂的主题,他们评论道,翻译的 准确性也不是那么容易判断的。

  Meanwhile, someone directs me to a translators’ online forum where a certain Tim Gutteridge, a British translator based in Spain, has suggested that criticizing a translation for plain errors is hardly a crime—language competence lies at the core of translation, does it not?—and is being scolded by colleagues who feel this is “unethical”; translators need support, not criticism. Reading the thread, it rather seems that they are policing him, and not vice versa. In any event, the issue is so keenly felt in the translation community these days 1that the editors of In Other Words, the twice-yearly publication of the British Centre for Literary Translation, have decided to dedicate a major article to the ethics of criticizing translations in their forthcoming January edition.

  与此同时,有人让 我看了一个在线翻译论坛。一位身 在西班牙的英国译者蒂姆·古特里奇认为,因为简 单错误对翻译提出批评并不是犯罪,本身语 言能力就是翻译的核心,不是吗?古特里 奇的观点遭到了同行的抨击,他们认 为因简单错误批评翻译是“不道德的”;译者需要的是支持,而不是批评。看到这里,似乎翻 译警察不是古特里奇,而是他的同行们。不管怎样,现在翻 译界对给翻译挑错这个问题非常敏感。英国文 学翻译中心每年出版两次的作品《换而言之》的编辑们,决定在 即将发行的一月刊中将发表一篇重要文章,将版面 用于翻译批评伦理学。

  All this should be heartening, perhaps. Literature in translation has never been a priority in the Anglo-Saxon world. While, in a country like Italy, more than half of fiction titles published will be translated, in the US the share of the market is much smaller, somewhere around three percent. Translators are poorly paid and, for the most part, unsung. How encouraging, then, to see a growing advocacy for translated literature and a spirited defense of those who practice this art. Back in 2010, I wrote these words:

  这一切 都应该令人振奋,也许吧。翻译文 学从未成为盎格鲁·撒克逊 世界的优先考虑事项。虽然在 意大利这样的国家,超过一 半的出版小说都会被翻译,但在美国,翻译作 品的市场份额要小得多,大约为3%。翻译的报酬很低,且大多 数情况下都是默默无闻的。看到越 来越多的人宣传翻译文学,为从事 翻译这门艺术人的精神辩护,这多鼓舞人心啊。2010年,我写了这些话:

  You’ll never know exactly what a translator has done. He [or she] reads with maniacal attention to nuance and cultural implication, conscious of all the books that stand behind this one; then sets out to rewrite this impossibly complex thing in his [or her] own language, re-elaborating everything, changing everything in order that it remain the same, or as close as possible to [the translator’s] own experience of the original. In every sentence the most loyal respect must combine with the most resourceful inventiveness. Imagine shifting the Tower of Pisa into downtown Manhattan and convincing everyone it’s in the right place; that’s the scale of the task.

  你永远 不会确切地知道译者做了什么。他(或她)以高度 的注意力阅读文字细微的差别和文化意蕴,联系起 这本书背后涉及的所有其它书籍;然后开 始用他或她自己的语言重写这个不可思议的复杂事物,重新阐述一切,重组一切,使其维持原貌,或尽可能接近(译者)自己的原始体验。在每一句话中,最忠实 的尊重必须与最丰富的创造力相结合。想象一下,将比萨 斜塔转移到曼哈顿市中心,并说服 每个人它在正确的地方;这是一 项多么浩大的工程啊。

  I concluded that article, however, by suggesting that since literature is indeed so wonderfully rich in nuance and translating it is, consequently, such an arduous task, we “must make sure we get the best translators.”

  我来做个总结,这篇文章表明,由于文 学确实充满了美妙的细节,翻译文 学是一项艰巨的任务,所以“必须确 保由最好的译者来翻译。”

  arduous /'ɑdjus; US -du-; ˋɑrds/ adj needing much effort or energy; laborious 艰巨的; 费力的: an arduous task 艰巨的任务 * The work is arduous and the hours are long. 工作吃力, 时间又长.

  Let us return to that catalogue thanking the publisher’s translators. It is true, of course, that a translator makes the English version of a foreign novel possible. However, thanks to copyright law, it is also true that a new translation will prevent the appearance of any other translations of the same book for a very long time. Once Don Bartlett has translated Knausgaard, or Ann Goldstein, Ferrante, or Lorin Stein, Houellebecq, English readers are not going to get a chance to read anyone else’s version for decades. If the book in question is to enter into our culture, our collective psyche, it is going to do so, for better or worse, through this first translation.

  让我们 回到那个致谢译者的目录。当然,译者能 够将外国小说翻成英文。但是,由于版权法,在很长一段时间内,同一本 书都不能再被翻译。一旦唐·巴特利 特翻译了诺斯加德、安·戈尔茨坦、弗兰特 或者韦勒贝克的作品,英国读 者几十年都没有机会阅读其他人的译本。如果这 本书打算进入我们的文化,我们的集体心理,不论成败,第一次 将其翻译都是出于这样的目的。

  Even when we come to translations of works long out of copyright, their authors dead seventy years and more, the investment involved may be so considerable that only one shot at the book will be possible. After Farrar, Straus, and Giroux generously undertook to translate and publish all three thousand pages of the nineteenth-century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi’s tortuously difficult philosophical diary, the Zibaldone, it is hardly likely that another complete edition will appear in our lifetimes. Each translation is an opportunity, to be taken or missed. Thus a responsibility, for both publisher and translator.

  即使许 多翻译作品已经过了版权保护期很久,这些书 籍的作者去世已经七十多年甚至更长时间,翻译这些书的难度,其中投入的精力,只要看一眼,你依旧能感受到。在法勒,施特劳 斯和格劳斯慷慨地承诺翻译三千页并出版19世纪意 大利诗人贾科莫·莱奥帕 尔蒂艰深晦涩的哲学日记《台词录》后,我们一 生中很难再看到另一个完整的版本。每次翻 译都是一个机遇,可以被 抓住也可能被错过。因此,出版商 和译者都需要负起责任。

  Imagine I am reading a novel for review, something translated from Italian, a language I know well, having lived in the country almost forty years now. I’m enjoying the excellent plot, the characters, the descriptions, and am eager to write positively about the book.

  想象一下,我正在读一本小说,翻译自意大利语,一种我熟悉的语言,我已经 在意大利生活了将近四十年,读完后我要写书评。我很享 受这本书引人入胜的情节,人物和描述,想要写 一些关于这本书积极的评价。

  Then I notice something odd. “At this point,” I read, “it was clear that when she’d confessed she’d hardly even considered it.” I’d had the impression that our heroine hadn’t confessed and that she wasn’t the the kind of person who did important things without due consideration. I download the original to my Kindle and find:

  不过,我后来 就注意到了几处不顺的地方,那是当我读到“此刻,她忏悔 到自己甚至未考虑过这件事”。 在我之前的印象里,女主人公从未忏悔,她也不 是那种不假思索就开始做重要事情的人。所以我 把原版书下载到kindle上:

  “A questo punto risultava chiaro che lei a confessare non ci pensava neanche.”

  Literally: “At this point, it became clear that she, as for confessing, wasn’t even thinking of it.” More fluently: “At this point, it was clear that she wasn’t even thinking of confessing.”

  发现原意如下:此时,很显然,对她来说,别说去忏悔,她想都没想过这么做。译得更通顺一点:很显然,她甚至 没想过为此忏悔。

  So here we have a straight mistake, an inversion of the meaning. There is nothing nuanced about it, no question of the translator’s taking a creative decision on a particular interpretation of the text. Just a mistake. We all make them. As much the editor’s fault as the translator’s, perhaps. And who cares, anyway? The book is still enjoyable. Onward.

  所以在 此处发现了颠倒词义的明显错误。这里不 是词义含糊不清的问题,不是译 者采用到创新性的特殊意译法的问题。就是翻译错了。当然,谁都会犯错。也许,这可能编辑的疏忽,或者是译者的大意。谁又在乎呢?这本书 是依然是妙趣横生的。接着读吧。

  Only, now that I have been alerted to translation issues—and presumably I was invited to review the book because I know Italian—I begin to notice all kinds of smallglitches and irritations.

  既然我 已经察觉到了这本书翻译上的问题,我便当 作自己是应邀来审阅该书,因为懂意语,我开始 看到各种各样的小毛病,小错误。

  glitch /glt/ n [C] [Date: 1900-2000; Origin: Probably from German glitschen 'to slide, slip'] a small fault in a machine or piece of equipment, that stops it working 小故障;小毛病

  “Ah, how well he understood me,” the English gives in one place, “my anxiety that experience immediately turned into memory.”

  在英文译本的一处:“啊,他多了解我呀,我担心 这一经历已经立刻化为了回忆。

  The second part of this sentence doesn’t seem right to me. Going to the Italian, we have: “la mia ansia che l’esperienza diventasse subito memoria.” Which is to say: “my eagerness that experience should turn at once into memory.” In trouble with the flexibility of “ansia” (not always a simple cognate of anxiety), the translator has missed the effect of the subjunctive “diventasse,” and so inverted the sense. We’re not worrying about experience becoming memory; rather, we want it to become memory as soon as possible. Again, there is no question of creative interpretation; what we have is a straightforward misreading. Likewise, later, when the Italian banco, a bench, is mistaken for banca, a bank (in the sense of financial institution).

  对我来说,句子的 第二部分不太合理。 看一下原文:“la mia ansia che l’esperienza diventasse subito memoria.” 这句意思是:我渴望 这一经历可以立刻变为回忆。译者没能灵活理解“ansia”(这词不总是指焦虑),他忽视了“diventasse,”在文中的“虚拟语气“的作用,曲解了意思。原意应为:我们不 担心经历变成回忆,确切的说,我们希 望它能变成回忆,越快越好。所以,由此可见,创造性翻译不是问题,问题是 译者误解了原文的含义。后来,相似的错误又出现了,长椅被译为了银行。

  This goes on. I’m still enjoying the book, which is excellent, and most of it is coming across fine; all the same, there are dozens of these blemishes. What is a reviewer to do? If I mention one or two errors, I’ll be accused of pedantry, seeking to show off my knowledge, ignoring the translator’s larger achievement. And I do want to recommend the book, which is a great read, and, despite these glitches, a profound novel. Nevertheless, it would be a better read if the translator’s Italian had been better, and this seems an important reflection when reviewing a literary translation.

  接着阅读。我仍然 享受这本优秀的译作,大部分 的文本让我感到有趣,虽然与此同时,书中也 包含几十处瑕疵。 那么,书评家应该怎么做呢? 如果我 挑出一到两个错误,我可能会被批评为“学究”——光想着 展示自己的知识,却忽略 译者更大的意图。我很想推荐这本书,虽然书 中有这些小错误,但仍不 失为一本出色又深奥的读物。如果译 者的意大利语能再好点,那么这 本读物会更加出色,这也是 评判文学翻译是的一个重要准则。

  blemish /'blem; ˋblm/ n

  mark or stain that spoils the beauty or perfection of sb/sth (有损於 人或事物的美观或完美的)污点或痕迹; 瑕疵: a blemish on a pear, carpet, table-cloth 梨上的烂斑﹑ 地毯上的污垢﹑ 桌布上的污点 * She has a blemish above her right eye. 她右眼上方有一个疤.

  (fig 比喻) defect, fault or flaw 缺点; 过错; 毛病: His character/reputation is without (a) blemish. 他在品德[名誉]上毫无瑕疵.

  After all, I know a number of translators who would not have made these mistakes and whose English is equally fluent and stylish. Of course, if I say nothing about the quality of the translation in my review and just concentrate on the book, I will be accused of not showing respect to the novel’s “co-writer,” as translators are now sometimes referred to.

  毕竟,我认识 许多不会犯这些错误的译者,他们的 英语既流畅又出色。当然,如果我 在书评里不提翻译质量,只关注本书的话,我可能 会被批评为不尊重译者——这本书的第二作家。

  Now, let’s suppose I manage to fudge this issue with some superficial remark toward the end of my review—“an effective, if uneven translation”—only to hear, shortly thereafter, that the translation has won a prestigious prize. The recent interest in translated literature has brought with it a plethora of new translation prizes: for translations from specific languages or from any language, for young translators, for women translators, for both book and translation, or for just the translation, and so on. Well, the logic of prizes is that some translators, or translations, are better than others and that not all versions are equal; so what am I to think when this translation—with all its flaws—wins?

  现在,我们来假设:如果在不久之后,该书的 翻译获得了一项知名的大奖,我可能 会回避这本书翻译上的问题,并用一 些浅显的评论来代替我之前在书评最后的评语——翻译令人印象深刻,但偶有瑕疵。文学翻 译最近吸引了大量关注,太多的 翻译奖也就此产生。有些是 颁给特定语种或者译成任何语言的,有些是 为年轻译者设立的,有些颁给女译者,有些奖 励是给书和翻译的,还有一些只颁给翻译,林林总总,不计其数。设立这 些奖项的理由在于:一些译 者或者说他们的译本比其他人的要好,并且不 是每个译本都具有相同地位。那么,如果这 个漏洞频出的译本赢得这些奖项的话,我该怎么想呢?

  Has it won because, in spite of the translation problems, this remains a fine novel, in which case the prize is more the merit of the writer than the translator? Did the judges of the prize not notice the problems I found? Do they know Italian well? Did they have time to read the books entered for the prize properly? Above all, should I say something at this point, should I write something? Or at least drop a note to the publishers, inviting them to correct the mistakes in a later edition? Doesn’t the idea that one can be praised and celebrated for a translation imply that one might be criticized for it, too?

  尽管存 在一些翻译问题,这仍不 失为一本好小说,要是这 个译本主要是因为作家的出色而赢得大奖,而非译者呢?这些翻 译奖评判家没有发现我的问题吗?他们精通意大利语吗?他们有 时间充分阅读这些参奖书籍吗?或者至 少也要提示出版商,让他们 在后期编辑时作出勘误。一名译 者因翻译受到表扬和祝贺时,难道不 应该也因此受到批评吗?

  “We are all singing from the same hymn sheet,” remarked the pioneer of Translation Studies at the end of our conference; among young translators particularly, there was a “fervor,” a “zealotry,” that was admirable and encouraging.

  “我们应 该共颂同一首圣歌(此处指 对待翻译应持相同意见)”。翻译研 究的先驱在会末如是说道。我们的 年轻人应该有一种激动人心又令人敬佩的“热忱”,一种“狂热”。

  If you say that people, especially people in the same organization, are singing from the same hymn sheet or are singing from the same song sheet, you mean that they are saying the same things in public about something and appear to agree about it.

  This desire for unanimity and solidarity is understandable, and no doubt, at a deep level, we do all share a passion for literary translation and a wish that the practice thrive. This is why we invest so much time in learning our languages and working on our writing—so that our translations will be better. It is the logic behind every course that teaches translation: that one can improve. If someone is not happy with the hymn sheet, or with hymn sheets in general, let’s hear them.

  人们对 统一和一致的渴望是可以理解的,再进一步,毋庸置疑的是:我们都 对文学翻译有一种激情,并且渴 望这一行业将会蓬勃发展。这就是 为什么我们学习语言,打磨写作能力,因为这 样一来我们的翻译才会更出色。每一节 翻译课都蕴涵着这样一个道理:人的翻 译能力可以提高。但是如 果有些人不愿与大家共颂这曲圣歌,或者根 本不想张开嘴放声附和,那我们 不妨也听听他们的想法。

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