全球10位翻译老司机教你如何翻得一手好作品

2018-05-16 06:46

什么是好的翻译?就像一千个读者眼中有一千个哈姆雷特,每个人心中都有自己的答案。本期“天下·译事”中,来自世界各地的10位翻译老司机将告诉你他们的答案。


To the outside world, literary translators are famously invisible. Being a tight-knit community of solitary home workers, though, we talk a lot amongst ourselves. Recently, one big thing we’ve been talking about is reviews of our work. As critics come to notice our existence, we garner both praise and - in what feels like greater depth - criticism. So I thought it might be useful to ask other literary translators what they aim for, what positive criteria we have for judging the outcome of our work. I was not disappointed.

对于外界来说,文学译者通常都是隐形人。虽然我们这个小圈子都是孤独的在家办公者,但我们之间却不乏交流。最近我们经常谈论的一个重要话题就是对翻译作品的评价。随着评论家逐渐注意到我们的存在,我们既收获了赞扬,也受到了深刻的批评。所以我认为有必要问问其他的文学译者他们的翻译目标是什么,我们判断翻译成果的有效标准是什么。结果并没有让我失望。


It’s easy to say what a bad translation is. The ones that are accidentally jagged like the person wielding the scissors was drunk. The ones where someone has misunderstood the original, or perhaps misinterpreted it. The ones where all individuality has been smoothed out. But how do we identify a successful translation? When have we done our job well? What is it we want to achieve, beyond mere fluidity?

糟糕的译文很好辨别,就像喝醉的人用剪子剪出参差不齐的形状,或者是译者可能误解或曲解了原文的意思。糟糕的译文无法体现原文所有的特性。但我们该如何辨别好的翻译作品?我们的工作到哪个程度才算是炉火纯青?除了行文流畅外,我们还应该做到哪些?


What is a good translation?

什么是好的翻译作品?

 来自公众号译﹒世界(ID:yeeworld)


Fluidity is not to be sneezed at, and is often difficult to accomplish, but a good translation goes further and achieves the self-evidence and urgency of the original. It sings, whispers and swears like the original and leaves the reader thrilled, disturbed and amused in the same ways too. A sensitive monolingual reviewer describes the style of a good translation in terms that unknowingly echo the reviews of the original novel or poetry. A good translation does not have to be impeccably starched and ironed, but dares to be ragged and frantic when appropriate. When presented with a few lines of original and translation, a bilingual reader might not be sure which is which. The voice of a good translation is as distinctive in English as the author’s voice in the original language, also when compared to other authors translated by the same translator. A good translation is something to aspire to and, in this perfectionist’s profession, a good translation is never good enough.

文章的流畅性不容忽视,这一点往往也很难实现,但是好的翻译作品远比这个要求更高,需要达到原文的自明性和紧迫性。好的译文像原文一样歌唱、低语、咒骂,让读者同样感受到兴奋、烦扰、欢乐。一个敏感的单语评论家在评论好的翻译作品时所用的评语会不自觉地映射出他对原小说或诗歌的评价。一个好的翻译作品不必完完全全拘泥刻板、熨烫妥帖,而要敢于在适当的地方打破常规、肆意疯狂。懂双语的读者在比较原文和译文时,可能根本无法分清哪个是原文,哪个是译文。好的译文是英语的口吻能够保持作者在源语中的口吻,即使在同样的译者翻译不同作者的作品时也能体现出来。好的翻译作品是译者所渴求的,在完美主义者心中,好的译文永远都不够好。

To write a good translation, at a certain point I have to forget the text I’m translating exists. Only then can I read my translation without “seeing through it” the foreign-language text “underneath” – that is, the way virtually everyone else who reads my translation is going to read (and assess) it. Beyond that, I don’t agree that fluidity is necessarily always a goal.

要翻译好一个作品,我必须在某种程度上忘记我所翻译的文本的存在。只有这时,我才能在读译文时不会透过它看到下面的原文,这几乎和别人阅读(和评价)我的译文时的方式一样。此外,我并不认为流畅性一定是必需实现的目标。


A good translation respects and, therefore, reflects the author’s style and vocabulary: Where the author’s writing is choppy, mine should also be. Where it’s harsh or stilted or opaque, or lyrical and flowing, or unambiguous, my writing should be too. When the author conforms to convention, so should I; when they bend or break it, I need to do the same. This assumes the author intended these effects.

好的译文能够尊重并且反映作者的文风和遣词:如果作者的行文变化不定,我的译文也应该这样。如果原文粗糙、呆板、晦涩、抒情流畅或含糊不清,我的译文也得这样。如果作者遵循行文规则,我也得遵循;如果作者改变或打破这种规则,我也需要照做。这样做是考虑到作者这样行文是有自己的用意的。


On the other hand, it can happen that an author’s writing comes across as awkward when in fact it was a result of poor (or non-existent) editing, rather than a deliberate style. This is where it can get tricky. We all know by now, I hope, that this doesn’t mean every single word or phrase in my translation must precisely correspond in style and effect to a counterpart in the author’s text. But it does mean that I don’t have the liberty to write a “strange” work when the author’s was “normal”, or “normalise” the writing when the author meant to be unorthodox. If I do, the result may still be “good”, but rather than a translation, it might be more accurate to call it an adaptation.

但另一方面,有时候作者的写作看起来非常蹩脚,而实际上也是由于没有好好编辑(或者根本没有编辑)而造成的,并非是作者有意想表达什么。这种情况就比较棘手。我希望我们现在都明白,这并不意味着我就得原封不动地按照原文逐字逐句地对应翻译过来。但是这也同样意味着当作者用常规的或规范化的行文表达他的异常想法时,我不能自由地译成奇怪的行文。如果我这么做了,结果可能还不错,但这也许就不是翻译,而是改编了。


A good translation captures the spirit of a text without slavishly following it to the letter. It captures the energy and texture and voice of the source text and replicates them in the translation, drawing on all the resources of the target language. A good translation conveys what is written between the lines. A good translation exudes empathy. A good translation elicits the same emotional response in the reader as the source text does in its readers.

好的译文并不是原封不动地逐字对译,而是要抓住原文的灵魂,充分调动目标语言的各种元素,体现出原文的气势、结构和语气,传递出字里行间的意思和情感,让目标语读者和源语读者产生一样的共鸣。


A good translation doesn’t colonise the work but preserves the joys and beauties of its “otherness” without resorting to weird foreignisation. A good translation perfectly resolves the tension between meaning and music, and that of being source-text oriented and target-reader oriented. A good translation is bold and creative.

好的译文并非对原作进行移植,也不是奇怪的异化,而是要保留异域的情趣和美感,将意思和韵律、忠实于原文和面向目标语读者之间的关系处理得游刃有余。好的译文还要勇于创新。

A good translation is imperceptible. It reads as if the book were written in the language into which it has been translated. A good translation removes the barrier imposed by an unfamiliar language and allows the writer to communicate directly with the foreign reader.

好的译文看不出翻译痕迹,读起来就像用目标语创作的作品一样,打破陌生源语的障碍,让作者和外国读者直接交流。


In some instances, achieving that aim can mean moving away from the literal meaning of the original. This is probably truer for translation from some languages than others; perhaps for translators into English, languages outside the Indo-European group will need a different approach from languages that belong to it. Different genres or translating for children can also have different requirements.

在有些情况下,要达到上述目的意味着抛开原文的字面意思,对于翻译某些语种来说尤其如此。如果将印欧语系之外的语种翻译成英语,译者或许要采取和从属于该语系的语种不一样的翻译方法。翻译不同体裁或受众为儿童的作品,要求也会不同。


I suppose a good translation is a good piece of writing. Personally, I appreciate musicality in a text and an ability to carry through the feeling of each line: those subtle shifts, for example, when at the end of a paragraph a well-placed word or phrase elicits a laugh, a note of tragedy or irony. I think this has something to do with experience.

我认为好的译文应该成为一部出众的作品。我本人欣赏文字的乐感和传递文字所蕴含情感的能力,比如那些微妙的变化,在段落最后巧妙设置一个词或短语,用来表示大笑、悲剧或讽刺。我觉得这和经验有关。


The texts I’m thinking of were early on in my career, which might bring me to my answer for what a good translation is: When the translator feels comfortable enough with the text to treat it as their own – all the while keeping the author’s music, tone, emotion, voice, etc., in sight – and is able to create a piece of writing that feels like the original and carries the original through to the reader. However, many of the translators has stayed faithful to or departed from the original text, where the reader becomes too aware of the mechanics of translating.

我在职业生涯早期遇到的翻译材料或许让我对“什么是好的译文”有了答案。这些材料的文字让译者觉得很舒服,能够和作者产生共鸣,时刻与其韵律、口吻、情感和语气保持一致,创作出和原文感觉相符的译文,将作品原汁原味地呈现给读者。然而,很多译员太过忠实于原文,或者直接背离原文,让读者看出翻译的痕迹。


To me a good translation is one where you almost can’t believe what you’re reading was translated, from something into something, from somewhere to somewhere – is language a place, or is it rather a thing? One where you almost can’t believe it was brought from somewhere to somewhere. That it was unboxed, then hastily transported, a shapeless, unprotected something, and carefully put into new boxes. Which makes it sound like I sustain the theory that a good translation is some sort of a hoax.

对于我来说,好的翻译就是你几乎感觉不到这个内容是翻译过来的,感觉不到它是由一种东西变成另一种东西,或是从一个地方转移到另一个地方——语言代表的是一个地方还是一种东西?好的翻译几乎让你觉察不到它是从某个地方被带到另一个地方,它就像把一个不成形、无保护的东西从盒子里取出,将它急匆匆地运出,再小心翼翼地放到新的盒子中。这就像我所坚持的理论:好的翻译有点像变戏法。


For me a good translation is one that is on the same wavelength as the original text – a piece of music that has been arranged for different instruments but evokes an emotional response as close to the effect of the original as possible given a different cultural background and references. Or a goulash or a soufflé prepared from locally available ingredients that comes out with a texture as stodgy or fluffy and that burns your palate or tickles your taste buds in the same way as the original.

在我看来,好的翻译就是与原文合拍——一段音乐用完全不同的乐器演奏,却可以在不同的文化背景和参考中,唤起一种尽可能接近原始效果的情绪反应。或者就像是用当地食材做出来的炖牛肉或蛋奶酥,质地紧实或蓬松,但都能像正宗食材做出来的一样刺激你的味蕾。


A good translation wants to be read. The strengths and curiosities of the source will dare to be present alongside its duller points and weaknesses, but all will have been reimagined, naturally and effectively, at a remove from the rules of the original style.

好的翻译作品让人有读下去的欲望。敢于将原文的优点和能引发好奇心的内容,以及缺点和乏善可陈的内容放在一起,所有的一切都将被自然而有效地重新构想,跳出原作风格的规则。


I think it’s about a near-magical balance being struck between channelling the translator’s perceived idea of the text’s original sound and intention and its re-enactment through the translator’s own voice, the way they personally would express these styles and ideas. It’s about the careful and always considerate mingling of these two impulses or perceptions – which means you can’t always tell that you’re reading a good translation! The nature of the animal is that you can’t be sure to identify it as such, though you may have a good feeling about it.

我认为好的翻译就是一个近乎神奇的平衡,一方面引导译者感知原文的声音和意图,一方面通过译者个人表达这些风格和想法的方式,以译者自己的声音重现。好的翻译是将这两种冲动或感知进行谨慎而周全的结合——这意味着你不能总是说你正在读一个好的译本!就像动物的本性一样,即使你和它感情很好,但却不能以此判断它的真性情。


A good translation hums. It lives in the ear. It shatters our expectations, redefining what translation can do in the first place.

好的翻译作品让人觉得余音绕梁,不绝于耳。当我们一读到这个作品时就感觉到打破了我们的预期,重新定义了翻译的作用。


When you read a good translation, the usual labels quickly lose their value. To borrow from Potter Stewart, we know a good translation when we see it, right? Each good translation is good in its own way. I hope that doesn’t read like a cop-out. The good ones make us see translation in a new way.

当你阅读好的翻译作品时,传统的标签很快失去价值。借用波特·斯图尔特的话,当我们看到它时就知道这是好的翻译,不是吗?每部好的翻译作品都有自己的优点。我希望这看起来不像在逃避问题。好的翻译作品让我们以全新的方式看待翻译。





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