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中進英翻譯系列講座(七)
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: February 4, 2015 – 5:28 am

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各位網友好,從今天起,「天地無用」網站要分享一系列英文翻譯與寫作的專題文章。有心學習「高階」翻譯與英文寫作的網友必定可以從中學到版主寶貴的實務經驗與技巧,請大家廣為宣傳。

參考文章:中進英翻譯系列講座(六)
參考文章:中進英翻譯系列講座(八)

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英文句子通常有主詞,中文偶爾省略不說 ,但是讀者可以推斷出主詞。

英文:Marriage, if one will face the truth, is an evil, but a necessary evil. – Menander
中文:如果(願意)面對現實,就會知道婚姻是種罪惡,但卻是必要之惡。

英文:You can’t learn to ride a horse by reading books about it.
中文:光看書也學不會騎馬。

把中文翻譯成英文時,務必要找出句中的主詞。

北加州的冬夜,凌晨一時,整個矽谷籠罩在無邊的黑暗與寂靜中。白天客滿的停車場此時空空盪盪,只剩下三部車孤零零地散在偌大的空地上。微渺的燈光從一棟辦公大樓小小的角落裡透露出來。循光而去,鍵盤的敲打聲和滑鼠的按鍵聲鍵間歇響起。偶爾響聲暫停,取而代之的是一段討論與交談。仔細一聽,竟然是用國語。
(《光華雜誌》譯文)

On a winter’s night in northern California, all of Silicon Valley is enshrouded in darkness and silence. The parking lot that was packed during the day is all but vacant at this hour; only three cars remain scattered across the wide, empty space. From the little corner of an office building, a tiny light shines out. Drawing closer to the light, the thumping of keyboards and the clicking of mouse buttons can be heard. Occasionally the clatter ceases for a moment, and the sound of voices in the midst of discussion takes its place. If one listens closely, one can tell the voices are speaking Mandarin Chinese.

(註解)黑體字都是不合理的句子,譯者誤把「聲音」(the thumping of keyboards / the voices)當成人,使其做出唯有人才能做的動作(draw closer to / speak)。修改的方式就是找出主詞(譬如One和people),所以譯文可以如此調整:

(譯文)
It was one o’clock on a winter’s night in northern California. The Silicon Valley was enshrouded in utter darkness and reigned by silence. The wide parking lot packed during the day was nearly empty, only dotted with three lonely cars. A small pale light was shining out from the little corner of an office building.

Moving toward the light, one could hear the sounds of typing on keyboards and clicking mouses, punctuated from time to time by discussions and conversations. If one listened carefully, one would notice that the people inside were talking to each other in Mandarin.

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英文重視形合,句子只要遵守文法規則,描述因果與時序時可以前後調動次序而不妨礙語意。然而,中文重視意合,並不講究嚴格的語法,所以要注重時序和講究因果關係,免得語意錯亂或模糊不清。整體而言,中文會依照邏輯或事件發生的先後順序來構句,先說明情況或背景資訊,最後再表態或評論;英文恰好相反,先要表態或評論,然後才說明來龍去脈。

英文:Nothing has happened since we parted.
中文:我們離別之後,沒發生任何事情。

英文:He entertained us for hours with his stories and jokes.
中文:他為我們講故事、說笑話,讓大家快樂了好幾個小時。

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綜觀而論,中英文在篇章結構上有明顯的不同。葉子南教授在其著作《英漢翻譯理論與實踐》的第二十九頁中提到,辜正坤教授曾比較印歐語和漢語的句法結構差異,並且將這些差異概括如下:

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translation練習)

英文:As you have seen, these measurements confirm the long-standing, but until now unproven, predictions in Feibelman’s early, brilliant paper.
中文:如你所見,費爾布曼早期發表過一篇精彩的論文,文中提出一些當時尚未能證實的預測,但這些測量數據如今足以佐證那些存在已久的預測。

(註解)英文先提到結論(測量數據可以證明預測),然後再說明背景資訊(費爾布曼在論文中提出一些預測)。中文則是先說明背景資訊,然後再闡述結論。從篇章結構來看,英文是「發散」,中文是「收斂」。請看下圖來理解這個句子在腦海中形成的畫面:

until_unproven_confirmed

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