如何在翻译中规避中式英语(二)

上篇文章中,我们讲到了中式英语出现的原因,并举出一些例子说明。其实对于中式英语,大多数外国人是不讨厌的,甚至觉得很有趣,认为这是中西方文化的融合,呼吁保留这种特色。而本国人对于中式英语的态度却是褒贬不一。有人认为这是融入中国元素的语言,应当保留;有人认为中式英语本就是不正规的,应当摒弃。不管外面的世界如何转变,对于我们翻译工作者而言,追求的是准确与正规。因此,中式英语是我们必须规避的。接下来,我们继续上文未完成的例子。
(1)我唯一的资本就是勤奋。
[误] My only capital is diligence.
[正] My only means to success is diligence.
注:原文的“资本”是借喻,实际指“可以依靠并取得成功的手段”。而英语的 capital 指 money used to produce more wealth or for starting a business,并没有中文那样的引申意思。所以,这里的“资本”不能与 capital 画等号。也有人用 advantage 来翻译“资本”,虽然不尽意,但至少可以让读者理解。有时候翻译时,如果带特殊文化背景和含义需进一步引申翻译出来。
(2)想让他答应这样的要求恐怕不大可能。
[误] I'm afraid it is impossible for him to agree to such a request.
[正] I'm afraid it is unlikely for him to agree to such a request.
注:impossible 表示“完全不可能”,所以与原文有出入。在英语中,probable 表示的可能性最大,其次是 possible,再次是 likely。而常用的句式为 it is probable/possible/likely for sb. to do sth.,或 sb. be likely to do sth.。 在翻译中很容易犯这类错误。
(3)美国是个超级大国,不少人都梦想着能移民到那儿。
[误] The United States is a super country, and many people dream of immigrating into it.
[正] The United States is a superpower, and many people dream of immigrating into it.
注:super- 是一个前缀,表示“特大的,超级的”等含义,例如:supermarket(超市),superstar(超级明星),superman(超人)等。superpower是“超级大国”的习惯表达,power 本身也有“强国,大国”的含义,如:an industrial power(工业强国),the imperialist powers(帝国主义列强)等。
用 super country 表示“超级大国”是中国式的英语。
*(4)我们俩得为这个错误负责。
[误] You and I am responsible for this mistake.
[正] I and you are responsible for this mistake.
注: 老师常常强调英文中要“先人后己”,但表达承担责任或接受指责等倒霉事时却例外,反其道而行之,这是英语翻译中容易忽略的一点。
(5)国家法律规定,不论贫富,一律征税。
[误] According to the state law, both poor and rich are taxed.
[正] According to the state law, both rich and poor are taxed.
注:两种语言的表达顺序往往存在差异,而且都是约定俗成的,不容改变。又如:前后(back and forth),新旧(old and new),悲欢(joy and sorrow),血肉(flesh and blood),钢铁(iron and steel),兴衰(fall and rise),南北(north and south)等。
(6) 现在的家庭一般都用白糖而不用红糖。
[误] Nowadays households tend to use white sugar rather than red sugar.
[正] Nowadays households tend to use white sugar rather than brown sugar.
注:就像我们中国人不知道为什么要叫红糖(有的红糖其实是黄色的),恐怕英国人也不知道为什么要叫 brown sugar,约定俗成吧!另外,他们的 brown bread 我们却称作“黑面包”。类似一些说法还有:红眼病green eyes;脸色发紫black in the face;红茶black tea;黄色电影blue film 等。又如:“黄色书籍”英文用blue book,“又青又紫”英文称black and blue。另外,西方人眼中的吉日是a white day,如“婚礼”就被叫做 white wedding,因为新娘的婚纱是白色的。而中国人传统上只有葬礼才用白色形容(如红白“喜事”)。

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