十八、谚语-译海一粟:汉英翻译九百例-万书网
首页

十八、谚语

关灯 护眼    字体:

上一章 目录 下一章

    根据《现代汉语词典》,谚语是“在群众中间流传的固定语句,用简单通俗的话反映出深刻的道理。”—收集到的例子看,谚语有两种译法。

    第一,用相应的英语谚语。

    例1

    然而,“这山望着那山高”,家长和孩子并不满足于只是考上大学,而是要考上名牌大学。(L336)

    However, for our parents and children it is always a case of the grass being greener on the other side. Refusing to settle for second best, they all want to get into elite universities. (337)

    例2

    不管你的成就多大,都有历史的局限,不能当事后诸葛亮。(L95)

    All achievements, no matter how big, have historical limits, and the "I told you so" attitude gets us nowhere. (87)

    例3

    高校强弱合并,也有难题。弱校往往有“宁为鸡头,不为凤尾”的思想,怕被别人“吃掉”。(L90)

    Mergers between a strong university and a weak one also pose problems. Under the "better to be the head of an ass than the tail of a horse" mentality, the mere thought of being "annexed" could put the leaders of a weak university on tenterhooks. (82)

    例4

    周氏:不要老这么愁眉苦脸的。什么了不得的事,值得人在接亲的日子,要挂在心上呢?(家18)

    Zhou: Don't pull such a long face. After all, it's your wedding day; nothing is big enough to spoil that for you.

    觉新:没有,我没有什么事啊!

    Juexin: There is nothing, nothing the matter with me.

    周氏:看淡点,不要老觉得天要塌下来的样子。万事总有一条归路,要娶妻生子,就是一条人生的大路啊!

    Zhou: Take things easy. It's not the end of the world. Everything in life has a destination, and marriage and progeny is one of them.

    例5

    五是坚持,不仅是学外语,不论学什么,做什么,都要有坚持不懈、锲而不舍的精神。“三天打鱼,两天晒网”,难有所成。(L350)

    5) Perseverance. Dogged perseverance is called for in whatever you do or study, and foreign language is no exception. You will accomplish nothing if you work in fits and starts. (353)例6周氏:对呀,就是有人讲,世上哪有这么便宜的事啊?(家128)

    Zhou: That's it. That's why people say, it's too good to be true.

    人心都是相通的。中国人和外国人的心也是相通的。遇到某种情况,中国人会产生一种联想,外国人可能产生相同或相近的联想,也可能产生完全不同的联想。如例1,中国人想到的是“这山望着那山高”,外国人想到的是“那边的草比这边绿”。再如例4,中国人想到“天要塌下来”,外国人则想到“世界末日”。用词相近也好,迥异也好,那份感受却是完全一样的。因此若能找到相对应的谚语放到译文里,那可真是再传神不过了。

    最有趣的是例3。想一想要做什么样的人,中国人和外国人都想到用动物作类比。中国人想到的是“宁为鸡头,不为凤尾”,外国人想到的是“宁为驴头,不为马尾”。看来还是咱们中国人更富想像力,想到的形象更浪漫,更美丽。

    第二,直译。

    例7

    万事开头难(L86)

    All's well that begins well. (77)

    莎士比亚写过一个剧本,叫做All's Well That Ends Well,用得多了便成了一句谚语。这里换了一个词,把ends改为begins,作为一个标题,实在巧妙。

    例8

    俗话说,万事开头难。(L86)

    As the saying goes, "The first step is the hardest." (77)

    例9

    中国有句老话叫做“十年树木,百年树人”,意思是说树木十年能见成效,而树人是百年基业的长久之计,比树木更重要、更难。(L236)

    As the old Chinese saying goes, "It takes ten years to grow a tree, a hundred years to cultivate talent." This means that the cultivation of able people is an enduring and fundamental cause that is far more important and difficult than growing trees. (238)

    例10

    中国有句老话:“青,取之于蓝而青于蓝;冰,水为之而寒于水。”(L151)

    As an old Chinese saying goes, "Blue comes from indigo but is bluer than the plant itself; ice comes from water but is colder." (149)

    例11

    “三百六十行,行行出状元”,而不只是上大学一条路子。(L338)

    Going to college isn't the only way out because, as the saying goes, each and every profession produces its top experts.(339)

    例12

    “长江后浪推前浪”,在科学研究上,也往往是青年人赶过老年人,我们的老同志应当高兴地帮助青年人赶上来。(DⅡ56)

    As "in the Changjiang River the waves behind drive on those before", so in scientific research young people often surpass their elders, and our old comrades should be glad to help their juniors catch up with them. (69)

    例13

    宋代有位诗人释文珦,名气不是很大,但在他的一首名叫《过苕溪》的诗中有这样两句:“只看后浪催前浪,当悟新人换旧人”,胸怀宽广,极富哲理。(L161)

    Shi Wenxiang, a Song-dynasty poet, wasn't really famous but his poem "Passing Tiao Bridge" contains two lines that justify his broad vision and philosophical wisdom:

    Upon seeing the waves behind stir the waves in front,

    Only then aware new people have replaced the old. (159)

    例14

    国际竞争还很激烈,逆水行舟,不进则退,切不可掉以轻心。(L216)

    International competition is intense. As we row against the current, we must make headway or we'll be driven back—we simply cannot afford to rest on our oars. (221)

    例15

    这个问题要搞清楚。如果分析不当,造成误解,就会变得谨小慎微,不敢解放思想,不敢放开手脚,结果是丧失时机,犹如逆水行舟,不进则退。(DⅢ377)

    We must be clear about this question. If we fail to analyse it properly and to understand it correctly, we shall become overcautious, not daring to emancipate our minds and act freely. Consequently, we shall lose opportunities. Like a boat sailing against the current, we must forge ahead or be swept downstream. (365)

    例16

    开始时有的同志提出,制定一套新的基础教育课程体系,从实验到推行需要花十年工夫。我说,十年,“黄花菜都凉了”,我们等不起。(L343)

    In the beginning some people maintained that ten years were needed to establish a new curriculum for basic education, from experimental work to implementation. I said the dish could turn cold in ten years, and we could not afford to wait for so long. (344)

    例17

    不但要教他们会做事,还要教他们善于与人共事,不能“天马行空,独来独往”,而且要有“团队精神”,这样才会有所作为并创造更大的成就。(L331)

    We should teach them not only how to do things but also how to get along with and work with other people. They are not supposed to go it alone; only with team spirit can they amount to something, and make even greater achievements. (332)

    例18

    然而这位教授不断有新的设想、新的研究开发,有的已取得一定程度上的具体成果。但一个成果尚未商品化和占领市场,又想去搞新的产品,犹如“熊瞎子掰苞米,掰一个丢一个”,在市场上一事无成。(L196)

    This professor kept coming up with new concepts and new research projects, which yielded some results, but he couldn't wait for his earlier results to be converted into products and reach the market before he' d start developing new ones. Just like a clumsy bear greedily picking corn ears, getting one and losing another, the professor accomplished little commercially. (198)

    例19

    强校和弱校合并,强校担心合并后影响其教学质量,弱校担心自己被强校“吃”掉了,而强校和强校合并,又“一山不容二虎”,难度更大。(L88)

    The strong universities in a merger were apprehensive about a possible drop in teaching quality while the weak ones were afraid of being "swallowed up" by the strong. Things were even tougher if a proposed merger contained two strong schools, because, as the saying goes, "One mountain cannot hold two tigers." (78)

    例20

    为什么这次能够摸“老虎屁股”,进行城市改革?(DⅢ98)

    Why is it that we are now in a position to launch reform in the cities or, as we say, to dare "touch the tiger's rump"? (104)

    例21

    中国不是有一个“过五关斩六将”的关公的故事吗?(DⅢ262)In ancient China there was a story about Guangong [a famous third-century warrior of the Shu Han Kingdom], who fought his way through five passes and killed six enemy generals. (257)

    例22

    同时,我们要把工作的基点放在出现较大的风险上,准备好对策。这样,即使出现了大的风险,天也不会塌下来。(DⅢ267)

    At the same time, we should base our work on the possible emergence of serious problems and prepare for them. In this way, even if the worst should happen, the sky will not fall. (262)

    例23

    觉新:(拿出纸条读)“大哥,我走了,生活是要自己征服的。你应该乐观。你必须做一个顶天立地的汉子。任何事情都没有太晚的时候,你要大胆,大胆,大胆哪!”(家322-324)

    Juexin: [takes out the note and reads] "Elder Brother, I am leaving. Everyone has to conquer life for himself. You should have confidence and take on the world as a man. Nothing is ever too late, what you need is courage, courage and more courage!”

    例24

    觉新:“口是为着说话的。”(家102)

    Juexin: "The mouth is for speaking."

    克明:那叫放屁!你告诉觉慧,口是为着吃饭的。别的什么也不为!俗话说:“病从口入,祸从口出。”

    Keming: Nonsense! You tell him this from me, the mouth is for eating! And nothing else! As the saying goes, "Disease enters by the mouth, whereas trouble comes out of it."

    例25

    “神农尝百草始有医药”和“药食同源”的传说,就是关于中华医药起源的概括。(L182)

    The adages that "herbal remedies came about because the Divine Peasant tasted a hundred herbs" and that "medicine and food came from the same source" are succinct summaries of the origin of traditional Chinese pharmacology. (181)

    以上诸例中的谚语是用直译的方法翻译的,也就是说,保留了原文的词语和形象。个别地方有一点灵活性,如例11“三百六十行”译作each and every profession,例16“黄花菜”译作the dish,但这并不影响全句的形象。因此翻译谚语,如果不是采用相对应的英语谚语,便是用接近原文的直译,而不采取翻译成语使用的第三种办法:意译。这是因为成语在译文中往往用作修饰语或动词短语,可以不顾原文的词语和形象,而压缩成很短的短语。而谚语往往是有主语和谓语的完整句子,即使不是完整的句子,也会前后呼应,形成完整的思想。因此,翻译谚语就不得不尽量贴近原文才能把原文的意思充分翻译出来。

    新词语

    近年来,随着社会的发展,汉语出现了许多新词语,前面已见到不少。这些词语看上去很像成语或谚语,但由于存在的时间不长,似乎还算不上成语或谚语,因此姑且称之为新词语。新词语的译法大致和谚语相同,有时很不好译,现在看到的译法也不见得成熟,尚有待改进。现有若干条,列在这里,供大家参考。

    例26

    我们讲科教兴国,但不是什么教育都能兴国。科举教育能兴国吗?片面的精英教育能兴国吗?不能。只有素质教育才能全面提高中华民族的素质,才能兴国。(L302)

    We stress the rejuvenation of the nation through science and education, but the purpose cannot be served by just any kind of education. Can education based on the imperial civil examination system rejuvenate the nation? Can unbalanced elite education rejuvenate the nation? No. Only character education can thoroughly raise the quality of the workforce and rejuvenate the nation. (306)

    例27

    “改革人才培养模式,由‘应试教育’向全面素质教育转变”(L299)

    "switching the mode of training professionals from examination-oriented education to all-round character education" (302)

    例28

    破除“近亲繁殖”和“论资排辈”(L159)

    Say no to 'academic inbreeding' and seniority-based pecking order (156)

    例29

    对高校的教师队伍建设,我以为有三个问题特别需要引起我们的注意:一是“近亲繁殖”问题;二是“论资排辈”问题;三是专业技术职务、职称终身制问题。(L159)

    On this issue, I want to call particular attention to three problems. One is "inbreeding”. The second is a pecking order predicated on seniority. The third is lifelong tenure for professional positions and academic titles. (156)

    例30

    “近亲繁殖”不利于学校的发展,我看道理大家都明白,毋庸赘述。(L159)

    That "inbreeding" puts development of our universities in jeopardy is clear to all, and I needn't waste my breath on it. (157)

    例31

    在这方面,我是警钟长鸣,不厌其烦,凡是涉及学校安全的问题,我必问必管!(L360)

    I make a point of keeping the alarm bells ringing. I must do something about problems concerning school safety. (363)

    例32

    社会上存在“文人相轻”的不良风气由来已久。这种风气对学术的繁荣、科技的发展、社会的进步都是十分不利的。……必须摒弃“文人相轻”,换一个字,成为“文人相亲”。(L332)

    The unhealthy tendency among scholars to disparage one another is nothing new, and is a bane to academic success, scientific and technological development, and social progress. …We must eradicate this trend and replace it with fellowship among scholars. (332)

    例33

    中小学生课业负担过重的原因是多方面的,其中最根本的是高等教育和职业教育的资源特别是优质资源不足,造成“千军万马过独木桥”,高考的“指挥棒”在起作用。但是,解决这一问题无法一蹴而就,需要一个较长的过程。(L338)

    The most fundamental cause of heavy workload is shortfalls in higher education and vocational education resources that give rise to the phenomenon of hundreds of thousands of people jostling across the one-lane bridge of university entrance exams. However, this problem cannot be solved overnight. (340)

    例34

    过去是靠“读书”、科举走上仕途,反映在现代便是千军万马挤“独木桥”,家长都希望自己的孩子考上大学以谋个好的前途。(L336)

    In the past, excelling in book knowledge and imperial exams was the only road to officialdom; in modern times, students jostle to pass university entrance examinations because college education is the best route to a good future. (337)

    例35

    “再穷不能穷教育,再苦不能苦孩子。”(L237)

    "No matter how poor we are, we must not let poverty affect education; no matter how broke we are, we must not let our children suffer." (240-241)

    例36

    千万不要把天真活泼的幼儿教成“小眼镜”“小书呆子”。(L287)

    On no account should we turn innocent and lively children into "bespectacled kids" and "little bookworms." (292)

    例37

    这也是我经常说“人命关天,安全第一”的原因。(L253)

    That incident was one of many that prompted me to remind people again and again how "life is a matter of such utmost importance, we should always put safety first." (256)

    例38

    也有的地方,“上有政策,下有对策”,我行我素,甚至曲解应付。(L337)

    In some places, the higher authorities have their policies, and the localities have countermeasures to neutralize the effect of these policies. They go their own way, ignoring whatever others may say, or even go so far as to distort government policies or take a perfunctory attitude toward them. (339)

    例39

    当时有的部委直属高校的同志无奈地说,我们出身于“多子女家庭”,一碗饭得大家分着吃,只能熬苦日子。(L81)

    "We come from a family with too many children," an educator from one such university was heard saying helplessly, "so if there's just one bowl of rice, it has to be shared by many mouths—all we can do is try to survive." (70)

    例40

    高校举办高科技企业对促进科技成果转化为现实生产力已经发挥和正在发挥着巨大作用。但我认为,高校高科技企业要学会在市场的大海中游泳,做到真正“下海”,应普遍实行现代企业制度、法人治理结构和股份制。(L200)

    The hi-tech enterprises run by our universities are doing a tremendous job in converting the results of research into real productive forces. But these enterprises must learn how to swim in the "economic sea" and become real players in the market. That means they all need to introduce the modern enterprise system, the legal-person governance structure, and the joint-stock system. (203)

    例41

    空谈误国,实干兴邦。(文件)

    Making empty talk is harmful to the nation, while doing practical work can help it thrive.

    例42

    现在,大家都在讨论中国梦,我以为,实现中华民族伟大复兴,就是中华民族近代以来最伟大的梦想。(文件)

    Nowadays, everyone is talking about the China Dream. In my view, realizing the great renewal of the Chinese nation is the Chinese nation's greatest dream in modern history.

    例43

    中国在发展道路上仍然面临不少困难和挑战。实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,还需要付出长期艰苦的努力。(文件)

    China is faced with numerous difficulties and challenges on its road to development. It called for long-term, arduous efforts to realize the Chinese dream of great renewal of the Chinese nation.

    例44

    “中国梦”将不仅造福13亿中国人民,也有利于亚太乃至世界的和平、稳定与繁荣。(文件)

    The Chinese dream will not only benefit the 1.3 billion Chinese people, but also contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia Pacific and beyond.

    最后三例,原文都提到“中国梦”。前二例未加引号,第三例用了引号,加以强调。译文也不统一,有the China Dream,也有the Chinese dream。Dream一词,也有的大写,有的不大写。看来,这些译法都可以,意思是一样的。在外国人写的文章里也是这样,甚至在同一篇文章里,两种说法交替出现。也许只是为了避免重复,变换说法而已。

    最后我们来看一组例子,享受一下成语、谚语集中出现的盛宴。

    例45

    我们所倡导的解放思想、实事求是,与时倶进、勇于创新,知难而进、一往直前,艰苦奋斗、务求实效,淡泊名利、爱心奉献的时代精神,也都是同中华传统美德一脉相承的。(L321-322)

    The spirit of the times we are advocating—such as emancipating the mind, seeking truth from facts, keeping up with the times, being boldly innovative, persevering in the face of difficulties, pressing ahead with tenacity, working hard, being pragmatic, refraining from pursuing fame and wealth, and being compassionate and dedicated to the people—can be traced to the same origin: Chinese traditions and values. (323)

    例46

    我国历史上曾长期处在封建社会,那种“万般皆下品,惟有读书高”“十年寒窗苦,金榜题名时”“书中自有黄金屋,书中自有颜如玉”等旧观念,那些古代流传下来的刺股悬梁、凿壁引光、映雪囊萤、燃糠自照、月下夜读等发奋读书的故事,深深地印在一代又一代人的脑子里。(L336)

    Throughout the course of China's feudal history, notions such as "to be a scholar is to be at the top of society; all other careers are inferior," "the ten-year toil of a scholar boils down to the moment his name is found on the honor roll of the imperial examination" and "book learning eventually lands a scholar in a golden house with beautiful wives" have been deeply ingrained in the minds of generation after generation of people. Stories about diligent students—such as Su Qin of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) who prodded his thigh with the point of an awl, Sun Jin of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-25 AD) who tied his hair to a roof beam to dispel drowsiness, Kuang Heng of the Western Han Dynasty who dug a hole in the wall to divert lamplight from next door in order to be able to keep reading, Sun Kang of the Jin Dynasty (265-420) who read books by snow-reflected moonlight in winter, Che Yin of the Jin Dynasty who read by the glow of bagged fireflies in summer, Gu Huan of the Qi Dynasty (479-502) who read through the night by the light of burning rice husks, and similar stories—have been passed down from antiquity. (336-337)

    例47

    我们现在需要提倡的优秀品德,几乎都可以从古代的传统中原原本本地追根溯源。比如:(L320)

    Virtually all the fine values we need to advocate today can be traced back to our ancient traditions, such as: (321)

    例48

    公正无私、嫉恶如仇、诚实笃信、不尚空谈、戒奢节俭、防微杜渐、三省吾身、豁达大度、温良恭俭让等修身之道;(L320)

    Ways of self-cultivation, such as being just-minded and selfless, abhorring evil, being honest and trustworthy, avoiding empty talk, guarding against extravagance, nipping erroneous ideas in the bud, conducting self-examination constantly; Being open-minded, tolerant, composed, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous; (321)

    例49

    敬业乐群、公而忘私的奉献精神;(L320)

    The spirit to devote oneself to one's work and get along with colleagues, and put public interest before everything else;(321)

    例50

    天下兴亡,匹夫有责的爱国情操;(L320)

    Patriotic sentiments such as the belief that everyone is responsible for the fate of their country; (321-322)

    例51

    “先天下之忧而忧,后天下之乐而乐”的崇高志向;(L320)

    The ideal of "being the first to bear hardships and the last to enjoy comforts"; (322)

    例52

    自强不息、艰苦奋斗的昂扬锐气;(L320)

    The daring spirit to make unremitting efforts to improve oneself, and to persevere; (322)

    例53

    “富贵不能淫,贫贱不能移,威武不能屈”的浩然正气;(L320)

    The noble spirit of "being immune to the temptation of wealth and rank, not shaking one's determination and compromising one's integrity under straitened and humble circumstances, and being unyielding in the face of high-handed pressure"; (322)

    例54

    “苟利国家生死以,岂因祸福避趋之”“鞠躬尽瘁、死而后已”的为政风范;(L320)

    The grace of a loyal civil servant's belief that "now that I am ready to lay down my life for the interests of the country, how can I avoid danger in perilous times and seek fame and gain in peaceful times?" The determination that "I must exert myself to the utmost to fulfill my duties until death takes me"; (322)

    例55

    厚德载物,达济天下的广阔胸襟;(L320)

    The belief that great virtue carries happiness with it and the resolve to be broadminded and dedicated to the prosperity of the nation; (322)

    例56

    奋不顾身、舍生取义的英雄气概;(L320)

    The heroic spirit of advancing regardless of one's safety and laying down one's life for a noble cause; (322)

    例57

    “大道之行,天下为公”“以天下为己任”的社会理想;(L320)

    The social ideal that "when the grand course is pursued, a public and common spirit will rule all under the sky"; The aspiration "to take transforming the world as one's own mission"; (322)

    例58

    “己所不欲,勿施于人”“老吾老以及人之老,幼吾幼以及人之幼”的社会风尚;等等。(L320)

    And social ethics such as "do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you," "take care of one's own aged parents first and then extend the same care to elders in general; take care of one's own children first and then extend the same care to others' children." (322)

    从例47至例58这十二个例子本是连续的一段话,从各个方面系统地阐述了中华民族的传统美德。这些优良品质不但将继续鞭策我们自己自强不息,而且将通过翻译走出国门,飞往各地,在全世界发扬光大。

上一章 目录 下一章