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浅析英汉翻译中的选词技巧(三)2012.11.22

The man, who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will be not unwelcome. I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do (B. Russell).

译文:上了年纪而能这样看待生活的人就不会遭受怕死的痛苦,因为他所关怀的事物将继续下去。同时,如果精力衰竭了,疲乏增加了,休息的思想并非是要不得的。我倒愿意工作不息,死而后已,因为我知道别人会继续我未完成的事业(《新概念英语》第4册)。

粗略一看,译文似乎没什么可挑剔。但是,如果考虑一下上下文,将整个句群看作一个整体,我们会发现译文与前后文都不呼应。因为原文第一句“The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death”与最后一句“I should wish to die while still at work”都表明整篇的主题是死亡问题,“rest”的含义是“长眠”而非“休息”,但译文却与“死亡”无关。而且,这里的“rest”是一种委婉的说法,表示死亡的这类委婉语还有很多,如“silence”、“sleep”、“quietus”等,如果原文用的是“silence”,难道应该将其译为“沉默的思想并非是要不得的”?显然,产生这一问题的根本原因就是不顾文章的整体性,孤立地“理解”部分语句,忽略了篇章整体信息的参与。合理译文应该是:而且,如果随着精力的衰竭,疲倦之感日渐增加,长眠并非是不受欢迎的念头。

杨绛先生在她的文章《记钱钟书与〈围城〉》中,多处用到了“痴气”及与“痴”相关的词组,来描绘钱种书先生异于常人的脾性,在不同语境下其意多有不同。凌原先生,根据具体情况选用不同的英语词汇来翻译“痴气”及相关词组,请看以下两例:

1) 钟书写完《围城》,“痴气”依然旺盛,但是没有体现为第二部小说。 After Chung-shu finished writing Fortress Besieged, his “eccentric” bent was still going strong, but it failed to take form in a second novel.

2) 我觉得《围城》里的人物和情节,都凭他那股子痴气,呵成了真人真事。 It was those charming mischievous quirks of his that made it possible for him to create the characters and plots for the novel and pass them off as real people and real deeds