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习近平一句话引发的翻译公案


来源:WSJ    作者:WSJ   时间:2012-11-18 11:06   点击: 次  


 
习近平一句话引发的翻译公案
Translation Debate: Apologizing, Ambiguously, in Chinese

 

习近平道歉了吗?
Is Xi Jinping sorry?

本周四,新任中共中央总书记比原计划晚了将近一个小时才登台亮相。他承认自己迟到,说了一句“让大家久等了”。初学英文的学生可以告诉你,这句话按字面意思翻译成英文就是“made everybody wait a long time”。但现场口译把它译成了“sorry to have kept you waiting”。
When the new leader of the Chinese Communist Party stepped on stage Thursday nearly an hour later than scheduled, he acknowledged the delay by saying, '让大家久等了' -- which, as a beginning Chinese student can tell you, literally translates to 'made everybody wait a long time.' But in English, the interpreter at the event turned it into 'sorry to have kept you waiting.'

外媒普遍采用了这一翻译,但一些以中文为依据的媒体(比如《华尔街日报》)删掉了“sorry”一词。
While the English translation was widely picked up by the foreign media, some that relied on the Chinese (such as the Journal) left out the 'sorry.'

人们总体上似乎都认为,不管怎么翻,习近平的话都传达了一种温和的歉意。新浪微博上很多操中文的观察人士都为习近平道歉而交口称赞。但在关注中国翻译、政治及文化之间联系的人们中间,这一差别还是引起了一些心平气和的讨论。
People appeared to generally agree that Mr. Xi's comment conveyed a sense of mild regret either way, with many Chinese observers on the Sina Weibo microblogging service praising Mr. Xi for apologizing. Still, the difference sparked good-natured discussion among people who watch the intersection between translation, politics and culture in China.

搜索公司百度(Baidu Inc.)的发言人郭怡广(Kaiser Kuo)经常点评中国时事。他在推特(Twitter)上用英文说,个人来讲,我会直译为“I've kept everyone waiting”,不加“Sorry”,英文同样隐含了歉意。
'Personally I'd go for fidelity and say 'I've kept everyone waiting,' without the appended 'Sorry.' Implicit in English too,' wrote Kaiser Kuo, a spokesman for search company Baidu Inc. and frequent commenter on current events in China, on his Twitter account.

北京的一位作家、翻译家Brendan O'Kane赞成加进“sorry”,以反映原话的语境。他在一篇文章里说,习近平的话或多或少地与“sorry to keep everyone waiting”具备同样的功能:通过承认造成不便而象征性地表示一下歉意。
Brendan O'Kane, a Beijing writer and translator, sided with those who would add the 'sorry' as a matter of context. Mr. Xi's comment 'serves more or less the same function as 'sorry to keep everyone waiting': a perfunctory apology by acknowledgement of inconvenience,' he said in a note.

不管是在中文还是英文之中,道歉问题并非只是一个学术问题。11年前,美国一架侦察机在中国南部海岸附近飞行时与中国的一架战斗机相撞,导致中国飞行员身亡,并被迫着陆在海南岛上。事发之后,道歉便成为一个重要问题。北京要求华盛顿方面正式“道歉”,而华盛顿一方面急于缓和矛盾,另一方面又不想承认过错。于是双方就各自寻找合适的中英文词汇。
The issue of apologies in Chinese and English hasn't always been so academic. The issue came to the fore 11 years ago, after a U.S. surveillance plane flying off the southern Chinese coast collided with a Chinese fighter jet, killing the Chinese pilot, and was forced to land on Hainan island. Beijing sought a formal apology ( , or daoqian) from Washington, which was anxious to soothe tensions while at the same time keep from admitting wrongdoing. That left the two sides seeking appropriate words in both languages.

事情的解决归结到了语言学上。(乔治梅森大学(George Mason University)研究人员在2005年的一篇论文中有解释。)美方表示对中国人民及失踪飞行员家属表示“very sorry for their loss”,同时也对进入中国领空表示“sorry”。
The solution -- as explained by researchers from George Mason University in a 2005 paper (PDF) -- came down to linguistics. U.S. said to the Chinese people and the family of the missing pilot that it was 'very sorry for their loss.' It also said it was 'sorry' for entering China's airspace.

中方在把这些话翻译成中文的时候,意思略有变化,“very sorry”变成了“深表歉意”。乔治梅森大学的研究人员把它翻译回去的意思是“a deep expression of apology or regret”。
When China translated the phrase into Chinese, the meaning was subtly shifted. 'Very sorry' became '深表歉意,' which the George Mason researchers translate as 'a deep expression of apology or regret.'

 


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