闵??翻译

作者:王晓辉

成语是语言中定型的语汇,经过千百年披沙拣金,凝练而成。很多成语源自古代典籍和故事,是文化中的“活化石”;还有很多成语是老百姓日常用语,浅显易懂,却富于哲理。但在翻译过程中,成语又成了译者的难关,甚至是“绊脚石”。译得好,能使原文与译文相得益彰;译不好,就像是贴上去的补丁,与原文格格不入。

《红楼梦》中有3000多个成语,这些成语在曹雪芹笔下,撒豆成兵,熠熠生辉,那么,翻译家们又是怎么处理的呢?

我们先来看两个背后有典故的成语:得陇望蜀和助纣为虐。

得陇望蜀,语出《后汉书》:“人苦不知足,既平陇,复望蜀”。《红楼梦》第48回,香菱要宝钗教她作诗,宝钗笑道:“我说你‘得陇望蜀’呢。我劝你且缓一缓。”

汉英词典上对“得陇望蜀”常见的解释是:covet Sichuan after capturing Gansu -- have insatiable desires; give him an inch and he'll ask for a mile; avarice knows no bound。字典给出的译法,当然是百分百的正确,但如果照搬到宝钗的话里,就不那么合适了。直译covet Sichuan after capturing Gansu最不可取,外国读者既不知道《后汉书》中的典故,也不知道“陇”和“蜀”究竟是个啥;avarice knows no bound语气又过于重了,avarice在英语中贬义明显,而宝钗只是与香菱开玩笑而已,并非真正说她贪婪。give him an inch and he'll ask for a mile语气恰当,但需要调整修改才能放到情境当中。

霍克斯教授的译文:You're like the famous general: 'one conquest breeds appetite for another'. I advise you to take things more gently.

杨宪益先生的译文:"The more you get, the more you want!" chuckled Pao-chai.

霍、杨两位先生的翻译都跳出了原文成语的圈子,杨宪益的翻译意思准确,直截了当,外国读者一看就懂;霍克斯教授的译法最接近原文,只是没有说出“陇”和“蜀”而已。“得陇望蜀”是东汉皇帝刘秀对他的一个将军岑彭讲的话,所以霍克斯在译文中加上了“You're like the famous general:”, 既保证了句子的完整,又使general(将军)与后面的conquest(征服)遥相呼应,浑然一体。

助纣为虐,出自司马迁的《史记·留侯世家》:“今始入秦,即安其乐,此所谓助纣为虐。” 曹雪芹在《红楼梦》第9回把这个成语用在了贾瑞身上:“附助着薛蟠图些银钱酒肉,一任薛蟠横行霸道,他不但不去管约,反助纣为虐讨好儿”。

杨宪益先生的翻译:In return for money and good meals from Hsueh Pan, he had not checked his disgraceful behavior but actually abetted him in order to curry favor.

霍克斯教授的译文:In return for money, drinks, and dinners, he had lately given Xue Pan a free hand in his nefarious activities -- had, indeed, not only remained from interfering with him, but even "aided the tyrant in his tyranny".

杨先生还是一贯的简洁明了,将原文的意思准确地呈现给读者;霍克斯还是一贯的滴水不漏,将整句话逐字译出。用“aided the tyrant in his tyranny”来翻译“助纣为虐”,不仅读起来抑扬顿挫,意思上也与原文十分接近。tyrant(暴君)对应“纣”,tyranny(暴行)对应“虐”,恰到好处。

《红楼梦》中还有很多与佛教有关的成语,如“醍醐灌顶”、“一子出家,七祖升天”等。第63回,妙玉自称为“槛外之人”,宝玉不懂,后经邢岫烟解释,他才明白。原文:宝玉听了,如醍醐灌顶,“哎呦”了一声,方笑道:“怪道我们家庙说是‘铁槛寺’呢!原来有此一说。”

醍醐灌顶意思是灌输智慧,就好似将醍醐(乳酪)从人的头上灌下去一样,令人豁然开朗。《敦煌变文集·维摩诘经讲经文》:“令问维摩,闻名之如露入心,共语似醍醐灌顶。”

杨宪益先生的译文:Pao-yu felt as if Buddha had suddenly shown him the light. "Aiya!" he exclaimed. "No wonder our family temple is called Iron Threshold Temple. So that's the origin of the name."

霍克斯教授的译文:The scriptures tell us that the revelation of the Buddha-truth comes "like ghee poured upon the head", Bao-yu must have had some such feeling as he listened to Xiu-yan, for he first of all gave a gasp of discovery and then laughed out loud.

闵??翻译  第1张

"I see! That is why our family temple is called the 'Temple of the Iron Threshold'!"

杨宪益先生的译文清晰明快,“醍醐灌顶”的翻译更是精彩。一般字典上都将“醍醐灌顶”翻译成be filled with wisdom, be enlightened,这样翻译意思是对了,但是没有体现出原文的佛教色彩。而杨先生的译文,Pao-yu felt as if Buddha had suddenly shown him the light,用suddenly强调顿悟,用show the light比喻灵光乍现,用Buddha还原了原文的佛教色彩。

霍克斯教授也采用了意译+直译的方式,同时,还细致入微地将“醍醐灌顶”的字面意思也翻译出来了——like ghee poured upon the head。问题是这样面面俱到的翻译,把译文句子拉得很长,而且,外国读者能否理解“酥乳浇在头上”的象征意义也值得商榷。

第117回,宝玉要随癞头和尚出家,王夫人和宝钗等众人苦劝,宝玉说了这样一句话:“你们不知道,‘一子出家,七祖升天’呢。”

霍克斯教授的译文:

Haven't you heard the saying: "When one son becomes a monk, the souls of seven generations of ancestors go to Heaven"?

杨宪益先生的译文:

Don't you know the saying, 'When one son renounces the world, seven of his ancestors will go to heaven'?

“出家”、“遁世”、“当和尚”,原本是一回事儿,所以,霍克斯将“出家”译为become a monk,杨先生则译为renounce the world。对于“七祖升天”,两位大家的理解是不一样的。霍克斯认为是“七代祖先的灵魂升天(the souls of seven generations of ancestors go to Heaven)”, 而杨先生则认为是“七个祖先要升天(seven of his ancestors will go to heaven)”。当然,这已经不是翻译的问题,而是一个升天名额的问题了。

《红楼梦》中出现了大量接地气的成语,文意虽浅,但道理深刻。正是这些鲜活的语言赋予了《红楼梦》强大的生命力。

《红楼梦》第81回,迎春所嫁非人,宝玉心中郁闷,王夫人开导他说:“你难道没听见人说‘嫁鸡随鸡,嫁狗随狗’,哪里个个都像你大姐姐作娘娘呢。”

“嫁鸡随鸡,嫁狗随狗”,这个成语的出处就是《红楼梦》,但在曹雪芹、高鹗之前,类似的话在民间恐怕已经说了一千年了。杜甫《新婚别》:“父母养我时,日夜令我藏。生女有所归,鸡狗亦得将。”“鸡狗亦得将”是诗人的语言,换做老百姓口中,恐怕就会变成“嫁鸡随鸡,嫁狗随狗”了。

杨宪益先生的译文:

Surely you know the saying, 'Marry a cock and follow the cock; marry a dog and follow the dog'? How can every girl be like your eldest sister, chosen as an Imperial Consort?

闵福德教授的译文:

You must know the old rhyme:

When rooster crows at break of day,

All his hen-folk must obey.

No choice for a dog's wife

But to make the best of a dog's life.

杨宪益先生和闵福德教授走的是截然不同的路子。杨先生的译文就是老百姓的大白话,直来直去,倒译回去还是“嫁了一只鸡,就跟着鸡;嫁了一只狗,就跟着狗”。可以说,与原文的形、意、神,甚至节奏,都完全吻合。

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本来是老百姓口中的一句顺口溜,却被闵福德翻译成了一首颇为典雅的英诗,而且还是双韵史诗体,难免让读者产生一种“杀鸡用牛刀”的感觉。“嫁鸡随鸡,嫁狗随狗”只有8个字,闵福德的译文却用了27个单词,显得有些冗长。如果倒译回去,就更有意思了:天亮时公鸡一叫,所有的母鸡们都要听它的召唤;狗的妻子没有别的选择,只有尽心尽力过狗的生活。

《红楼梦》第65回,小厮兴儿对王熙凤的评价:“嘴甜心苦,两面三刀”,“上头笑着,脚底下就使绊子”,“明是一盆火,暗是一把刀”:她都占全了。一句话里用了几个意思相近的成语来描述王熙凤,可见王熙凤是个多么厉害的角色。后来,“王熙凤”这三个字,差不多就成了表里不一、心狠手辣的代名词。

杨宪益先生的译文:

She'll give you sweet talk when there's hatred in her heart, she's so double-faced and tricky. All the time she's *** iling she tries to trip you up, making a show of great warmth while she stabs you in the back. That's the way she is.

霍克斯教授的译文:

She's "soft of tongue and hard of heart," "two faces and three knives," she'll "give you a *** ile and trip you up the while", she's "a welcoming fire when you see her, but a stab in the back when it's dark" -- all those things and more...

霍克斯和杨宪益先生的译文十分接近,连所用的词汇都差不多。所不同的是杨先生将三个成语分拆成三个句子,而霍克斯则保留了三个成语的独立形态,用一个句子贯穿起来。汉语中“两面三刀”的字面意思有些模糊,“两面”好理解,“三刀”究竟是什么意思?杨先生将其译为she's so double-faced and tricky,外国读者是很容易理解的;霍克斯教授将其直译为two faces and three knives,外国读者根据上下文也能明白,不过,他们也许会有疑惑,Why three knives? Why not four or five?

成语是语言的精粹,也是文化的活化石,杨宪益、戴乃迭、霍克斯、闵福德四位翻译家,将3000多个汉语成语巧妙转换,与英文无缝对接,其中很多译文堪称经典,值得我们反复体味和钻研。

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