韩愈《祭十二郎文》 -英语翻译教程-中英双语赏析




An Elegiac Address to the Twelfth Nephew

Han Yu




Day, month, year. I, your youngest uncle, Han Yu, overwhelmed with grief, sent Jianzhong on my behalf to offer you sacrifices to express my deep feelings for you, seven days after I heard about your death.




🎈offer sacrifices献祭



Jianzhong had bought seasonal delicacies from a distant place as sacrificial offerings to your departed soul.


🎈应时美味佳肴seasonal delicacies

🎈亡灵departed soul



Alas! I lost my father during my early childhood. When I grew up, I did not know what my father was like. I was dependent on my eldest brother and his wife.

🎈「孤」:幼年丧父称「孤」。译作「lost my father during my early childhood」


🎈be dependent on依赖于/依靠于



My eldest brother, your father, was middle-aged when he died in the south, and together we accompanied his widow to bury him in Heyang.

🎈「从嫂归葬河阳」意思是说「跟随嫂嫂把兄长的灵柩送回河阳安葬」,这里「归葬」的宾语一定要补出,译文用了代词「him」,指代前文的「my eldest brother」



Then you and I went to the south to make a living. We two were orphaned and helpless and clung to each other’s company everyday.

🎈「就食江南」意即「在江南谋生」,「谋生」译作「make a living」或「earn a living」

🎈cling to是「依附」、「依靠」之意。



I had three brothers older than I, but unfortunately they all died early. In our family, you and I were the only descendants, you being of the third generation and I of the second generation.





Of those two generations, each had only one successor remaining. We two were extremely lonely, with only our shadows left to us.

🎈「两世一身」:子辈和孙辈均只剩一个男丁。其中「两世」译作了「those two generations」,指代前文的「the third generation and the second generation」

🎈「successor」释义为「a person or thing that comes after sb/sth else and takes their/its place 接替者;继任者;接替的事物;后继的事物」


Who’s the likely successor to him as party leader?


🎈「形单影只」采用了「意译+直译」的翻译方法,译作「were extremely lonely, with only our shadows left to us」



My sister-in-law used to fondle you while pointing her finger at me, saying, 「You two are the only survivors of the Han family.”

🎈「fondle」是「爱抚」之意,释义为「to touch and move your hand gently over sb/sth, especially in a sexual way, or in order to show love」




You were only an infant and could not understand her. And although I was able to recall what she said, I did not recognize the sadness in her words.

🎈「吾时虽能记忆」意为「我当时虽然能够记事」,这里指的是「记得嫂子说过的话」,译作「was able to recall what she said」



When I was nineteen, I went to the capital.

🎈首都/京城the capital



Four years later I came home to visit you.




Another four years passed. I went to Heyang to visit the graves of our ancestors, and met you there where you had the coffin of your mother interred.

🎈「省」:探望,此引申为凭吊,译作了「visit the graves of our ancestors」

🎈「遇汝从嫂丧来葬」 意为「碰上你护送嫂嫂的灵柩来安葬」,这里注意代词的转换,韩愈的嫂子是十二郎的母亲,代词使用要准确。




Two years later, you came to see me in Bianzhou as I was working for Chengxiang Dong. You stayed for a year, and then went home, intending to bring your family over.

🎈「止一岁」意为「留下住了一年」,译作「you stayed for a year」

🎈「取其孥」:把家眷接来。孥,妻和子的统称,译作了「intending to bring your family over」,分词短语做目的状语。



But in the following year Chengxian Dong died and I left Bianzhou before you could come back.

🎈「不果」:没能够。「不果来」译作了「before you could come back」,意为「在你来之前」



That year I took office in Xuzhou, working as an official in charge of military supply. When the man I sent to fetch you had just set out, I left my post. Again you did not come.

🎈 文言词汇:「佐戎」:辅助军务。「取」:迎接。

🎈take office是「就职」之意。

🎈「使取汝者始行,吾又罢去」中「始行」发生在「吾又罢去」之前,所以前者的时态应为过去完成时,译作「had just set out」,英文中时态和语态都非常重要,要格外注意。



I thought even if you had come to the east, you would not have stayed long, for, after all, the east was not our native place. As a long-term plan I had better return to the west, establish myself and welcome you into my household.


🎈「东亦客也」译作了「for, after all, the east was not our native place」,是「for+原因状语」的结构,而且采用了正说反译的翻译方法,原句意为「在东边也是客居」,译文转换角度,处理做了「东边也不是故居」

🎈native place籍贯



Alas! Who could have thought that you would suddenly die and leave me behind?


🎈could have done虚拟语气,对过去事情的假设,本来可以做却没能做。

🎈「leave behind」:「If you leave someone or something behind, you go away permanently from them. 永远离开」


“I’d go and live there and leave Kentucky behind,” says Brown.




You and I were both young and I believed that although we might part for a brief period of time, we would eventually live together for a long time. Therefore, I left you and took up my residence in the capital to earn an official’s meager salary.

🎈「旅食」意为「旅居」,译作「took up my residence in」

🎈「斗斛(hú):唐时十斗为一斛。斗斛之禄,指微薄的俸禄。」译作「meager salary」,其中「meager」意为「small in quantity and poor in quality 少量且劣质的」


She has moved to a small house and is living off her meager savings.




Had I known what would happen, I would not have left you for a single day, even if I were appointed to the highest office with ten thousand carriages at my command.


🎈would have done虚拟语气,表示与过去的事实相反。



Last year, when Meng Dongye went south, I asked him to bring a letter to you in which I wrote, 「I am barely forty years old, but my eyesight is failing, my hair is graying and my teeth are loose.



🎈「视茫茫」是指视力模糊,译作「my eyesight is failing」,「fail」是衰退之意。



My uncles and brothers were all physically strong, but they all died in the prime of life. Delicate as I am, how can I live long?

🎈「皆康疆而早世」意为「在健康强壮的盛年早早去世」,其中「身体健康」译作了「physically strong」,「早早去世」译作了「died in the prime of life」。「in the prime of life」是「盛年之际」之意。



I cannot leave my post and you will not be coming. I might die at any moment, and you would be brought to eternal grief.”

🎈「恐旦暮死」意为「随时有可能死去」,译作「I might die at any moment」



Who can explain why the younger one dies whereas the elder one lives on, and why the healthy one succumbs early whereas the fragile one survives?


🎈「live on」to continue to live or exist 继续活着;继续存在。

🎈「succumb」释义为「to not be able to fight an attack, an illness, a temptation , etc. 屈服;屈从;抵挡不住(攻击、疾病、诱惑等)」


His career was cut short when he succumbed to cancer.




Alas! Was the news true? Or was it a hallucination? Or was it mere misinformation?




If it was true, then why is it that my brother, who was a man of virtue, should have his son die young?

🎈品德高尚之人a man of virtue



Why couldn’t his innocent and brilliant son be blessed by his goodness?


🎈「纯明」译作了「innocent and brilliant」




Was it fair that the frail, elderly man should outlive the vigorous youth?

🎈这句话的意思是「谁能料到年轻的却先死了,而年老的反而还活着,强壮的早早死去,而衰弱的反而还活在人间呢」,意思就是这样的结果是一般人料想不到的,是不公的,译作了「Was it fair that…」




I could not believe it was true.




It was a hallucination, or a rumor. Then why is it that Dongye’s letter and Genglan’s obituary notice are at hand here?




Alas! Then the news must be true. A virtuous man like my eldest brother had the life of his son taken away at an early age.


🎈「have sth done」让(他人)做某事



An innocent and brilliant man like you, who should have carried on the family line, could not enjoy the blessings of his father.

🎈「业其家」意即「继承家业」,译作「carried on the family line」



How unpredictable is Heaven’s will! And how unfathomable is God’s disposition!



Man proposes and God disposes.




That is why the logic of things can never be reasoned out, and the continuation of one’s existence cannot be foretold.




Nevertheless, since the beginning of this year, my gray hair has faded to white, and my loose teeth have decayed or fallen off.




I am growing weaker and weaker and my vigor is waning. It won’t be long before I follow you and die.

🎈「毛血」:指体质。「志气」:指精神,译作了「vigor」,释义为「energy, force or enthusiasm 精力;力量;活力;热情」


His health and vigor were unimpaired by a stroke.




If you should have consciousness after death, then our separation won’t be long. If not, my grief will not last long either; eternity will follow in which I will be oblivious of grief.

🎈「其几何离」:分离会有多久呢?译文处理了陈述句,即「分别不会很久了」,译作了「our separation won’t be long 」

🎈「不悲者无穷期矣」意思是「(死后)不悲痛的时间却是无穷无尽的」,译作了「eternity will follow in which I will be oblivious of grief」,其中「be oblivious of」是「not aware of sth 不知道;未注意;未察觉」之意。


汝之子始十岁,吾之子始五岁,少而疆者不可保,如此孩提者,又可翼其成立邪? 呜呼哀哉!呜呼哀哉!

Your son is just ten years old and my son is five. There exists no guarantee that these young and healthy ones will live long. How can we expect them to grow up to fulfill their careers? Alas! Alas!

🎈「少而疆者」就是指 「年轻强壮的人」,译作了「young and healthy ones」

🎈「成立」意为「成人立业」,译作「to grow up to fulfill their careers」



Last year you wrote to me, saying, 「I am suffering from numbness in the feet and sometimes it is growing worse.”




I replied, “Many people in the south suffer from that kind of illness,”




It did not cause me much anxiety.




Did you actually die of it? Or was it some other illness?




I received your letter which was written on June the seventeenth. Dongye said that you died on June the second. The obituary notice Genglan brought me gave no date of your death,






but it was very likely that Dongye’s messenger did not even ask your family about the date of your death. Genglan should know that an obituary notice should mention the date of death. How could he fail to mention yours?

🎈obituary notice讣告

🎈「yours」指代「the date of your death」,英文中常用代词,是变换说法的一种体现,在汉英翻译时非常重要。



Perhaps when Dongye was writing the letter to me, he asked the messenger about the date, and the messenger mentioned a date at random.

🎈「使者妄称以应之耳」意为「使者胡乱说个日期应付」,译作了「the messenger mentioned a date at random」,其中「at random」是「胡乱地/随便地」之意。



Was this guess true? Or not?




Now I am sending Jianzhong to offer you sacrifices and pay condolences to your children and your wet nurse.

🎈「吊」:此指慰问,译作「pay condolences to」


🎈wet nurse奶妈,乳母



If they do not lack for food, they will remain beside you till the days of mourning have passed. Then I will welcome them to my place. If they cannot do so, I will have them brought to me without delay, and let the remaining servants carry on mourning until the end.


🎈「遂」是「立刻/马上」的意思,译作了「without delay」,正说反译。



If I can, I will move your coffin back home and re-inter you in the ancestral burial grounds in order to fulfill my life-long wish.


🎈「先人之兆」指的是「祖坟」,译作了「ancestral burial grounds」

🎈「然后」是「这样以后」之意,译作「in order to」,和后文的内容一起做了目的状语。



Alas! I did not know when you were ill. Nor did I know the date of your death.




When you were alive, I did not live with you to support you. When you were dead, I did not mourn over your remains to give vent to my bitter grief.

🎈「抚汝以尽哀」意为「抚尸痛哭」,译作了「mourn over your remains to give vent to my bitter grief」,其中「remains」是「the body of a dead person or animal 遗体;遗骸」之意;「give vent to」是「发泄/吐露」之意。



When you were lying in the coffin, I did not follow the funeral procession. When you were interred, I did not come to your grave.

🎈「凭其棺」就是「为你送葬」之意,译作「follow the funeral procession」



I fear I am the cause of your untimely death as I have failed to live up to the expectations of the gods. I am neither kind nor filial. I did not live together with you to take care of you, nor die in your company.

🎈live up to意为「做到/不辜负」

🎈「不孝不慈」意思是「对上不孝,对下不慈」,译作了「neither kind nor filial」



Now you are in the remotest edge of the heaven while I am in the remotest corner of the earth. When you were living, we were not always together as body and shadow, and now that you are dead, your soul does not meet me in my dream.


🎈「生而影不与吾形相依」结构:生时我们没有相互依靠,像形与影那般,译作「when you were living, we were not always together as body and shadow」



It was all my own doing. Who else can I blame?




Oh! That unreachable blue sky above! When will my grief come to an end?




I have no wish to live on, and will buy several hundred mu of land by the Yi and the Ying rivers upon which to spend the rest of my life.

🎈「以待馀年」意为「度过余生」,译作「to spend the rest of my life」



I will educate my son and your son, hoping they will grow up to be men and I will bring up my daughter and your daughter and marry them off. Then can my wish be fulfilled.


🎈marry sb off把…嫁给/为…娶亲



Ah! My words have expired, but my grief has no end. Do you know or don’t you know? Ah! How sorrowful I am!

🎈「expire」在这里与「run out」同义。




May you partake of the offerings.



successor     n.接替者;继任者;接替的事物;后继的事物


a person or thing that comes after sb/sth else and takes their/its place


Who’s the likely successor to him as party leader?



fondle     v.爱抚


to touch and move your hand gently over sb/sth, especially in a sexual way, or in order to show love


He tried to kiss her and fondle her.



residence     n.居住;定居


the state of living in a particular place


They were not able to take up residence in their new home until the spring.



meager     adj. 少量且劣质的


small in quantity and poor in quality


She has moved to a small house and is living off her meager savings.



succumb      v. 屈服;屈从;抵挡不住(攻击、疾病、诱惑等)


to not be able to fight an attack, an illness, a temptation , etc.


His career was cut short when he succumbed to cancer.



vigor      n.精力;力量;活力;热情


energy, force or enthusiasm


His health and vigor were unimpaired by a stroke.



献祭offer sacrifice

应时美味佳肴seasonal delicacies

亡灵departed soul

依赖于/依靠于be dependent on

谋生make a living/earn a living

依附/依靠cling to


籍贯native place

永远离开leave behind 「旅居」,译作「took up my residence in」居住,定居

盛年之际in the prime of life

继续活着/继续存在live on

品德高尚之人a man of virtue

继承家业carry on the family line

谋事在人成事在天Man proposes and God disposes.

不知道/未注意/未察觉be oblivious of

讣告obituary notice

胡乱地/随便地at random

奶妈,乳母wet nurse

发泄/吐露give vent to

做到/不辜负live up to

把…嫁给/为…娶亲marry sb off






You and I were both young and I believed that although we might part for a brief period of time, we would eventually live together for a long time. Therefore, I left you and took up my residence in the capital to earn an official’s meager salary.



I can just scrape by on what my parents give me.



Many families struggle to make ends meet.


未经允许不得转载:帕布莉卡 » 韩愈《祭十二郎文》 -英语翻译教程-中英双语赏析

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