冰心《生命从八十岁开始》 -经典散文英译-中英双语赏析

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Life Begins at 80[1]

◎ Bing Xin

Beijing Hospital

October 29, 1980

Dear Little Friends,

Every day I lie facing a lovely picture from my sickbed — the picture of a smiling little child wearing a doudu[2] and carrying two big red peaches on the shoulder. It bears the inscriptions“On the 80th birthday of Comrade Bing Xin”and“With best wishes from the Children’s Literature, October 1980”on the margin and at the bottom, respectively.

Every morning, when I wake up, it gives me great joy and encouragement to see the picture in the bright sunshine. But the birthday gift hasn’t brought me to realize that I am already 80 years old!

Since I fell ill, many old friends have written to express their sympathy for me and meanwhile warn me never again to work so hard without regard for my old age. So, in reply to a friend’s letter, I said,“While Confucius refers to himself as often being ‘unaware of approaching old age’, I am, however, unaware that I am already old!”

For this unawareness, I owe a debt of gratitude to millions upon millions of my little readers! It is about 60 years since I began at the age of 23 to write intermittently Letters to Little Readers. The warm response expressed by many of my little friends after reading my letters has given me a perpetual feeling of being young!

During my illness, the editorial department of the China Juvenile Daily sent me flowers and took my picture. I also received many letters of sympathy from my friends and readers, whose good wishes inspired me with confidence in my speedy recovery. My illness started with cerebral thrombosis, and later I suffered a fracture in my right hipbone. As a result, I had difficulty getting around and writing by hand. You can imagine how it took me almost half an hour to finish writing this short note of only a few hundred words! As a Western saying goes,“Life begins at 40.”I hope that, starting from 1981, I’ll be able to try my hand at writing and moving around after my recovery. Life begins at 80. Let me strive to forge ahead with all my little friends!

With every good wish,

Bing Xin, your loving friend

[1]The title is a sentence quoted from the following letter written by Bing Xin in lieu of the preface to Vol. 3 of her Letters to Little Readers.

[2]A diamond-shaped undergarment, worn usually by a child in China, covering the chest and abdomen, with bands going around the neck and waist.

生命从八十岁开始

◎ 冰心

亲爱的小朋友:

我每天在病榻上躺着,面对一幅极好看的画。这是一个满面笑容,穿着红兜肚,肩上扛着一对大红桃的孩子,旁边写着“冰心同志八十大寿”,底下落款是“一九八〇年十月《儿童文学》敬祝”。[1]

每天早晨醒来,在灿烂的阳光下看着它,使我快乐,使我鼓舞,但是“八十”这两个字,总不能使我相信我竟然已经八十岁了![2]

我病后有许多老朋友来信,又是安慰又是责难,说:“你以后千万不能再不服老了!”[3]所以,我在复一位朋友的信里说:“孔子说他常觉得‘不知老之将至’,我是‘无知’到了不知老之已至的地步!”

这无知要感谢我的千千万万的小读者!自从我二十三岁起写《寄小读者》以来,断断续续地写了将近六十年。[4]正是许多小读者们读《寄小读者》后的来信,这热情的回响,使我永远觉得年轻!

我在病中不但得到《中国少年报》编辑部的赠花,并给我拍了照,也得到许多慰问的信,因为这些信的祝福都使我相信我会很快康复起来[5]。我的病是在得了脑血栓[6]之后,又把右胯骨摔折。因此行动、写字都很困难。写这几百字几乎用了半个小时[7],但我希望在一九八一年我完全康复之后,再努力给小朋友们写些东西。西谚云“生命从四十岁开始”。我想从一九八一年起,病好后再好好练习写字,练习走路。“生命从八十岁开始”,努力和小朋友们一同前进!

祝 你们健康快乐

你们的热情的朋友 冰心

一九八〇年十月二十九日于北京医院

冰心1923年夏毕业于燕京大学,同年8月赴美留学,前后共三年。在此期间,她写了散文《寄小读者》,内有29篇通讯,除8篇写于国内,其余21篇都写于赴美的船上和美国。这些通讯最初陆续发表在《晨报副刊》的“儿童世界”栏内,1926年结集出了单行本。新中国成立后,她继续写了两集。本篇通讯发表在《三寄小读者》中,为该集的代序。

[1]“冰心同志八十大寿”为上款,“一九八〇年十月《儿童文学》敬祝”为下款,英译时把两者都按“落款”译为inscriptions。

[2]“但是‘八十’这两个字,总不能使我相信我竟然已经八十岁了!”译为But the birthday gift hasn’t brought me to realize that I am already 80 years old!,其中hasn’t brought me to realize that …作“使我明白……”解,意同hasn’t made me conscious that …。

[3]“又是责难,说:‘你以后千万不能再不服老了!’”可按“又是劝我勿再不顾年老而拼命”译为and meanwhile warn me never again to work so hard without regard for my old age;也可译为and meanwhile blame me for overworking myself and refusing to admit that I am old。

[4]“自从我二十三岁起写《寄小读者》以来,断断续续地写了将近六十年”译为It is about 60 years since I began at the age of 23 to write intermittently Letters to Little Readers,其中“断断续续”可译为intermittently或off and on。

[5]“这些信的祝福都使我相信我会很快康复起来”可按“他们的祝福激起我早日康复的信心”译为whose good wishes inspired me with confidence in my speedy recovery,比whose blessing made me believe in my early recovery更具表达力。

[6]“脑血栓”译为cerebral thrombosis,也可译为a stroke,虽较通俗,但欠精确,因a stroke(中风)兼指“脑血栓”和“脑溢血”。

[7]“写这几百字几乎用了半个小时”本可译为It took me almost half an hour to finish writing this short letter of a few hundred words!,现译为You can imagine how it took me almost half an hour to finish writing this short note of only a few hundred words! 或 Just imagine me taking almost half an hour to finish writing this short letter of only a few hundred words!,其中You can imagine how和Just imagine均为译文中的增益词,用以加强原意。

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