金圣华《多一只碟子》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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多一只碟子

金圣华

从朋友口中,听到一则轶事。

电子学教授陈之藩当年自美国来香港中文大学履新,临行之前,与夫人在家中整理行装。陈教授夫妇有一套精美的茶具,收拾装箱时,一不小心,打破了一只茶杯。

一般人的反应,一定是感到十分心疼(1),好端端的成套茶具,打破一只杯,如何去配?(2)

谁知陈教授的反应却不然,他莞尔一笑,坦然说道:“真不错,又多了一只碟子!”

凡事从好处想,这种能耐(3),在现实生活中,确能使人受益无穷。

陈之藩教授不但是位杰出的科学家,也是位了不起的散文家,他的一些散文集,清新隽永,当年曾使我折服不已(4)。如今回想起来,令我惊叹的,不仅仅是他那优美的文笔,而是字里行间流露出来的睿智与巧思。

人生不如意事常八九(5),这是一句老话,老得几乎令人不想再重复(6),可是生命的旅程,行行复行行,在漫长的旅途上,的确会遇上一重又一重的挫折。

每当失意时,人总觉得别人为什么比自己幸运?别人生意兴隆、仕途平坦、财源广进(7)、名成利就;自己为什么如老牛破车,踽踽独行在暮色四合的郊道上?

果真如此吗?杯中只有一半水,有人喜孜孜说:“好呀!还有半杯(8)”,有人愁眉苦脸:“哎呀!只剩下半杯了”,分别就在这里。

One Saucer More

Jin Shenghua

I’ve been told the following anecdote by a friend of mine:

When Chen Chih-fan,professor of electronics,was about to leave the U.S.for Hong Kong to take up his new post at the Chinese University of Hong Kong,he did packing at home with his wife.They owned a beautiful tea set,but while packing up,they had one of the cups broken through carelessness.

Ordinary people would have got very upset over it,as it was always troublesome to replace the broken cup to complete the set.

Professor Chen,however,reacted to it differently.He said calmly with a smile,“Wow!Now we’ve got one saucer more!”

The attitude of always looking on the bright side of things will definitely be of inestimable benefit to us in our real life.

Professor Chen has distinguished himself both as a scientist and an essayist.His prose writings,which have been published in several collections,are known for their fresh and expressive style.I was struck with admiration when I first read them,and I remember how I marvelled then at the keen insight and wisdom displayed between the lines as well as his beautiful language.

Things seldom go one’s way.That’s a popular saying too old to warrant re-quoting.But,one will certainly meet with one setback after another on his life’s long journey.

When frustrated,one is apt to wonder why the more fortunate can fare so well either in business or officialdom,making a pile or enjoying both fame and wealth,while he himself,like an old ox pulling a rickety cart,has to trudge all by himself on a country road thick with dusk.

Is that true?Now take for example a cup half filled with water.Some,in the face of it,may exclaim with delight,“Great,the cup is half full!”Some may grumble gloomily,“Too bad,the cup is half empty!”You see how the two kinds of people differ.

金圣华,著名翻译家、散文家,原籍浙江省上虞县,美国华盛顿大学硕士及法国巴黎大学博士。现任香港中文大学翻译系讲座教授,中文大学校董,中国翻译协会理事,著作和译作甚丰。《多一只碟子》选自她1995年出版的杂文集《桥畔闲眺》。文章流畅自如,遣词简明,深入浅出,劝导人们“凡事从好处想”,以达观的态度化解生活中可能遇到的烦恼。

注释

(1)“一般人的反应,一定是感到十分心疼”中的“十分心疼”可按“十分心烦”之意译为very upset或much distressed等。全句可译为Ordinary people would have got very upset about it,其中would have got是虚拟式。此句也可译为To ordinary people,this would have been a matter of much regret。

(2)“好端端的成套茶具,打破一只杯,如何去配?”英译时可按如下肯定句“不易更新茶杯,以便为茶具配套”处理:always troublesome to replace the broken cup to complete the set。

(3)“能耐”本应按“本领”之意译为ability等,但此处最好按“态度”之意译为attitude。见原句英译:The attitude of always looking on the bright side of things will definitely be of inestimable benefit to us in our real life。

(4)“当年曾使我折服不已”中的“当年”该如何译,颇费思索,现按“从前阅读时”译为when I first read them。全句的译文是:I was struck with admiration when I first read them。

(5)“人生不如意事常八九”译为Things seldom go one’s way。也可译为Things often do not turn out as one wishes或Ten to one,things do not go the way as one wishes。

(6)“老得几乎令人不想再重复”可直译成so trite that people no longer feel like quoting it。现译为too old to warrant re-quoting,其中warrant一词意为“需要”(to call for)。

(7)“财源广进”可按“发财”之意译为making a pile或amassing a fortune等。

(8)“好呀!还有半杯”和“哎呀!只剩下半杯了”可分别直译成Great,we still have half a cup!和Too bad,only half a cup left!。但均不如分别作以下处理可取:Great,the cup is half full!和Too bad,the cup is half empty!其优点是简洁、俏皮。

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