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成语典故应该如何翻译?2014.07.23

许多成语、典故蕴意很深,且含意与字面意相差甚远,译员如果处理不好,就有可能使听众"丈二和尚摸不着头脑",不仅达不到讲话人所要表达的效果,且有可能适得其反。

一般情况下,在不影响理解的前提下,对成语、典故的翻译只要能表达出其主要意思即可,但若是语境中需要听众完全了解其字面意与蕴含意,就得解释一番了。比 如"塞翁失马"一般可以译成"Misfortune may prove a blessing in disguise."但在必要时,则可以简单讲一下这个典故:"This is an allusion to a story popular for more than 2,000 years in China. It's about an old man at the frontier who lost his horse…"

当然,还有一种比较理想的情况,就是译语中可以找到与原语相对应的表达法,这时,只要将其替代即可。如"班门弄斧"与"to teach one's grandmother to suck eggs","半斤八两"与"six of one and half a dozen of the other","画蛇添足"与"to paint the lily",等等。