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汉英同传中应注意简洁[1]
北京外国语大学高级翻译学院李长栓

敬告:本文虽然谈同传的技巧,但技巧仅仅是翻译的辅助手段,甚至可以说是微不足道的手段。技巧不能代替译员对专业知识和会议背景的把握。任何试图通过语言转换技巧来解决一切翻译问题的努力都是徒劳的。

汉英同传中我们有这样的经历:一篇中文发言稿已译成英文,同传时只需跟着发言人读稿就行了。发言人讲话的速度适中,听起来很舒服,可是英语却要紧赶慢赶才能跟得上,稍有怠慢就有被落下来的危险。如果听众不熟悉中国国情,或英语不太好的话(并非所有的代表都来自英语国家,以英语为外语的代表实际占大多数),要听懂这样的英语是有困难的。如果再把这样的英语转译为其它语言,后果就可想而知了。造成这种局面的原因也许很多,比如在相同的时间内汉语传递的信息可能比英语多(可以肯定在书面上汉语比英语更省地方),或者汉语中包含过多的缩略成分或有中国特色的东西需要作太多的解释,或者是英语译文不够简洁。不管什么原因,这种现象的存在不容我们忽视。试想,读稿尚且难以跟上,如果没有稿呢?所以,我们必须找到适当的办法来处理好这个问题,使英语讲得从容,听众感觉舒服。办法之一就是力求译文简洁。

1、浓缩语及其它词的翻译

汉语中包含大量的浓缩语,如各种简称、套话、行话、成语、典故等,还有许多中国特有的概念等,这些东西往往包含大量信息,很难找到英语对应的说法,所以往往采用解释性翻译。中文几个字,英文却要解释一大堆,如“四有”新人译全了可以是“a new type of person who has revolutionary ideals, sound morals , good education and a strong sense of discipline"。在笔译和交替传译中,多解释几句也无妨,只要能把问题说清楚。同声传译时由于受时间约束,要说完整就很困难,所以为了在最短的时间内把这些词打发掉,解释一定要简而又简,抓住实质。如:‘“八七”扶贫攻坚计划’只能简单地译为“helping-the-poor project", 而来不及译成"a project to help the 80 million people get food and shelter within 7 years up to 2000".在很难解释清楚的情况下,宁肯采用直译,同时应注意应使直译尽量有点意义,但又不至于产生误解。如 “五讲四美三热爱”可简译为"five-four-three moral education campaign".忌译为"five talks, four beauties and three loves".让人听了不知所云,还以为有四个“美人”。

另外,有些概念虽然有较好的英译文,但因其太长,不适合同传需要,应当加以改造和变通。有时,汉语的行文特点和语速也使得简洁显得十分必要。以下是达到译文简洁的一些处理方法。

1.1译出实质

汉语常把某一概念、某一活动压缩为只有几个字的短语,比如“三纲五常”、“三好学生”、“双学双比”,简单易记,言简意赅。有些缩略语时间久了,具体代表什么,一般也许说不完整,仅仅存在一个模糊的概念。如 “三从四德”究竟指什么,能说清楚的人也许不多,仅仅知道它是要求妇女服服贴贴遵从一定的封建道德准则。所以此类词的翻译只要能给人以类似的概念,就算忠实地传达了发言者的意图,没有必要、也没有时间将其译完整,以下是一些翻译尝试:

1)“双学双比”活动

a learning and competing campaign(in rural areas)

2)三从四德

wifely submission and virtues

3)三八红旗手

women pacesetters

4)三纲五常

principles of feudal moral conduct

5)三好学生

model students

6)巾帼建功活动

"women-making-contributions" campaign in urban areas

同样的翻译原则也适用于成语典故、习语、社会新现象、特有现象等:

1)轻徭薄赋

low tax rates

2)循环往复,水涨船高

spiral

3)四面楚歌

be besieged

4)伯乐

talents identifier

5)父母之命,媒妁之言

parents-and-matchmaker arranged

6)天时地利人和

all necessary conditions

7)打工妹

migrant working girls

8)当小秘

be a mistress

9)责任田

contractual farmland

10)口粮田

subsistence land

1.2 直译

如果找不到简洁的解释性翻译,则只能采取直译的办法。直译可能造成理解上的困难,仅仅为权宜之计,应尽量少用。如:

1)二保一

"two ensure one"(a woman sacrifices her career to ensure her husband's success or the other way round)

2)三座大山

“three big mountains"

3)四自

"four-selfs"(woman's self-cultivation in four aspects, namely, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-reliance and self-improvement)

1.3用英语缩略语或简称

在特定会议上,有些专有名词用得十分频繁,每次都译全称既麻烦又误时间,可能影响到表达和理解,应当尽快使用其缩略语或简称。如:

1)含氯氟烃CFCs

2)经济特区SEZs

3)国有企业SOEs

4)乡镇企业TVEs

5)经济技术开发区 ETDZ

6)高新技术开发区 HTDZ

汉语中可以反复使用同一词组而不显得罗嗦,而英语则应当避免,这样既简洁又符合英语习惯。如:

1)第四次世妇会

The Fourth World Conference on Women

---→the Conference---→it.

2)国家建设征地

the state construction land takings

---→the land takings---→the takings.

3)化学物质

chemical substances---→chemicals

4)药品

pharmaceutical products---→pharmaceuticals

有些名词只用简称,如:

5)催交资本callables

6)调味品  flavourings

7)添加剂  additives

1.4简化传统译法

有些词传统上已有较好译法,只是太长,不一定适合同传需要,有必要加以改造,以下是一些翻译尝试(a为传统译法,b为拟定译法)。

1)城乡基层群众性自治组织

a)urban and rural mass organizations of self government at the grass-roots level.

b)grass-root NGOs.

2)复关谈判

a)negotiation on the resumption of China's contracting party status of the GATT.

b)accession negotiation

3)利改税

a)reform to replace profit submission with tax payment

b)profit-to-tax reform

4)清产核资

a)inventory-taking and assets evaluation

b)a general assets checkup

5)孕产保护

maternity protection("maternity"既包括“孕”又包括 “产”)

6)职工

a)workers and staffers

b)employees

7)直辖市

a)cities directly under the control of the central government

b)provincial level cities

汉语中有很多说法实际上是讲的同一事物的两个方面,译时可只译其一方面而省去另一方面。如:

1)扭亏为盈

直译为:run from loss making to profit making.

简译为:go into black 或begin to make profit.

2)脱贫致富

shake off poverty (and get rich)

3)阴盛阳衰

stronger women (and feebler men)

4)男尊女卑

male superiority (and female inferiority)

5)重男轻女

son preference

6)男主女从

the domination of men (and the subordination of women)

7)男主外,女主内

men work outside (and women inside)

2、句子的翻译

简洁的原则不仅适用于词的译法,而且应当运用到句段的翻译。从某种意义上讲,简洁是同声传译的生命,同传中节省的一秒一毫都可能成为下一句翻译成败的决定性因素。在句子翻译中应注意下面几个问题:

2.1选用简单句式

在动词或连结词的选择上应注意避繁就简。如:

1)reach agreement on ---→agree on

2)make use of ---→use

3)exhibit a tendency to ---→tend to

4)give consideration to ---→consider

5)owing to the fact that ---→because

6)in accordance with ---→according to

※顺便提一下,有时发言人讲话速度过慢或在等待发言人说出关键词时,为了填补翻译中出现的空白,选词可以繁琐一些,使听众觉得译得很完整,没有丢掉东西。同样,发言人的重复罗嗦按道理不译也可,但为了安慰听众,还是在必要时译出为好。

2.2 省略意义不大的词句

汉语中有不少只起形式作用的词,如“问题”、“情况”、 “形势”、“工作”、“态度”、“精神”、“原则”等,还有一些重复、不言自明或意义不大的句子,在翻译时都可以省掉;另外汉语喜欢用华丽的修饰语,如果照直译出,则显得拗口或华而不实,不如将其省去。如:

1)只要我们以科学的态度,求实的精神和扎实的工作来精心组织和推进改革……

So long as we take a realistic, pragmatic and down-to-earth approach in our reform endeavor…

2)以色列应当按照安理会有关决议,包括508号和509号决议的规定……

Israel should follow the relevant Security Council resolutions including Resolutions 508 and 509, …

3)AIPPI中国分会秘书处的工作人员将竭诚为各位贵宾服务。

The secretariat of AIPPI China Group will do its best to help you with your work.

4)美国总统克林顿提出了很典型的一个口号,很明确的一个口号,就是经济安全。

U.S. president Bill Clinton put forward a typical and explicit slogan, that is , economic security.

2.3 将从句译为短语

汉语从句若仍译为英语从句,则句子显得松散;若译为英语名词短语,则显得简洁有力,结构紧凑,如例句1和2。有时若不译为从句,则句子无法顺下去,如例3和4。

1)我们认为,安理会决定审议被占巴勒斯坦和其它阿拉伯领土的犹太人定居点问题是十分必要和及时的。

We believe that the Security Council's decision to consider the question of the Jewish settlements on the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories is quite necessary and timely.

2)国家要独立,民族要解放,人民要进步,这是不可抗拒的历史潮流。

National independence and liberation and social progress are an irresistible historical trend.

3)怎能以一个国家里有外国军队为理由而不许另一个国家独立呢?

How can the presence of troops in one country be used as an excuse to deny another country its independence?

4)现在,美国对以色列的无理要求究竟采取什么立场,美国对公正解决中东问题是否真有诚意,国际社会正拭目以待。

The United State's position on the unjustified demand of Israel and its sincerity on the just solution of the Middle East question are something that the international community is waiting to see.

2.4 总结性翻译

如果发言人在读稿,或口才很好,对所讲话题又特别熟悉,那么发言速度往往很快。这时如果跟不上节奏,只能作概括性翻译。如:

1)从东部沿海开放到建立经济特区,从沿江开放到沿边地区、内陆地区开放,目前,中国已形成了全方位的对外开放格局。

From the coastal areas to the SEZs, from the river basins to the border areas and hinterland, China has now shown an all-directional opening up pattern.

2)我们参与国际合作越广泛越深入,我们学习人类先进的文明成果越多,吸收得越好,中国的现代化进程才会越快,中国才能更早地走向繁荣富强。

The more we participate in international cooperation and the more we draw upon the advanced fruits of civilization, the faster our modernization will proceed and the sooner China will prosper.

2.5 口语译为正式语

1) 现在美国的一个农民,我到你们的农场去看,一个农民,就是你们的所谓农场主啦,farmer,不是peasant,你们一个农场主能够生产120人以上的粮食,但是我们中国按目前的情况看,一个农民也就生产3个人到5个人的粮食,这个相差的极远,所以在这样的农业基础上我们中国实现工业化是非常困难的。吃饭问题解决不了。所以必须是集约化生产,搞规模经济。(即席发言)

I have visited your farm. Now one farmer in the United States can produce grain for 120 people. But in China, one farmer or peasant can only produce grain for 3 to 5 people. This is a big difference. And it is difficult for China to become industrialized on such a basis. We have to feed the people first. So we need to have intensive production and economies of scale.

2) 因为经济学中有个很普通的一个原理,叫以就业带动就业。有一部分人就业了,他就有钱了,他就要花钱了。花钱,更多的人就有工作了,更多的人又就业了,他又要花钱,又有更多的人有工作,以就业带动就业。所以,对民工的看法应该是这样看,而且从中国整个经济来看,民工潮的出现是有好处的,不能老去埋怨,说坐火车那么挤,我放门口的自行车又给骑走了等等。(即席发言)

Because there is a very common theory in economics: Employment creates employment. When someone becomes employed he will make money and buy things. This will require more production and more people will be employed, and the process goes on and on. So our view towards the migrants should be like this: They will create more jobs. And migration is good to the whole economy. We should not always complain the train is too crowded and my bike is stolen by them again.

3) 民工出来,他的观念就发生了变化。今天出来的民工被称为第二代民工,跟八十年代初是不一样的。80年代初我的学生到深圳去问那些打工仔,你出来是干什么的?当时大多数人不好意思回答你的问题,个别人悄悄在你耳朵旁边说,赚两个钱回去讨个老婆,这是当时的想法。(即席发言)

Migration will also help change the farmers' value. Today’s immigrants are migrants of the second generation, who are different from those in the 1980s. At that time, I went to Shenzhen and asked the young migrants what they were there for. Most of them were too embarrassed to answer your question. A few would whisper on your ear and tell you they wanted to make a few dollars and go back and get a wife.

4)所以有些地方官员确实不重视农业,确实是口号农业,口头讲得很响亮,实际并不那么干,实际上还是挖农业,损害农业。(即席发言)

i. Therefore, some local officials really do not pay much attention to agriculture. They are just paying lip service and doing nothing about it. In fact, they are undermining agriculture.

ii. Therefore, some local officials talk loudly about agriculture but their actions do not match their words. In fact, they are harming agriculture.

5)为什么呢?美国它今天说是你对我出口太多,进口太少,造成了我的外贸收支不平衡,明天又说另外一个,你,对我外贸也是造成不平衡。(即席发言)

i. Because on one day the United States accuses one country of exporting too much and importing too little, therefore causing its trade imbalance, and on another day accuses another of causing its trade imbalance.

ii. Because today the United States will say to one country “You have exported too much and imported too little. You have caused our imbalance” and tomorrow it will say to another “You have also caused our imbalance.”

[1] 本文发表于《中国翻译》 1996年第6期。