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翻译加注的原则  

2010-06-09 12:34:46|  分类: 翻译 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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最近因为翻译的一些疑难,我写信向作者科伦·麦凯恩求助。其中有个疑问涉及到注释问题。文中有个地方,冷不丁冒出个Coca-cola one two three,没头没尾,不知道什么意思。我查过资料,没有收获。又问了四周的美国朋友,他们也不知道什么意思。有美国朋友猜测可能是跟冷战期间的电影One Two Three有关。

于是借来此电影,从头到尾看了一遍,发觉里面没直接提到Coca-cola One Two Three。电影里的"One Two Three" 被用来当作行动的召集令,最后那位柏林的总裁登机前买可乐,可乐一瓶一瓶从售货机里出来,他嘴里也说:One Two Three. 那总裁是在走(回美国总部)与留(留柏林分公司)之间抉择,我猜小说里的这个用法,是不是玛西娅在催促格洛丽亚跟她们一起走,而不是留下来陪索德伯格太太。

向科伦核实后,他说这不过是小孩子游戏中的说法。但是他并没有解释这是什么游戏。

我于是问我家的儿童游戏权威: 我三年级的女儿。她说从来没有听说过这个说法,倒好像有什么coconut coconut one two three的什么游戏。儿子也是这么说的。于是我又向他提出了质疑,他终于跟我解释了这个游戏的玩法,说就如同玩Tag,或是玩捉迷藏时候说的,小孩出发前总要喊coca-cola one two three,好比是“Ready or not, here I come! ” 只不过这可口可乐一二三是纽约城小孩的说法而已。

不过这么一问,惹出了麻烦,他说不希望小说中加注,说他只希望能将文字的质感翻译出来便可,要是我能找到中文中与Coca-cola one two three类似的说法,他都能接受。

但是我不希望这样。作家这么宽宏,给你很大自由去处理他的文字,但是读者和批评界,未必会给译者这个自由。要知道,一部作品翻译成另外一门文字,作者、译者、读者、编者的利益有时候是有所冲突的。

读者希望你能适当解释一些疑难之处,以便他阅读中能知道到底怎么回事。但是你也不能老是注释,什么都注释,把读者当白痴。

作者不希望他的作品在阅读中间一会儿被脚注打断,使得阅读不流畅,他希望你译者是隐身的。

而编者,则可能对各自的出版社负责,需要按照出版社的风格指引来办事。而出版社对于注释,多半是有各自规定的。

这样的话,译者就必须做一个很微妙的平衡,最好一个都不要得罪,这也是一个走钢丝的游戏。这个游戏的诀窍是你有没有感觉到你自己在说话,在干扰叙述,如果你感觉到是“你”作为译者在说话,要学会闭嘴。这个毕竟你是在翻译他人的作品,不是你自己的作品,你不服不行。不服自己写去。我老是写博客,也就是有时候感觉为他人作嫁衣烦了,在这里畅快淋漓地乱写一番,哪怕错字连篇,或观点极端,谁也不能奈何。这就是我的自我和解之术。

我的加注基本原则是:

1. 少注:尽量少加注,尽量隐身到作品后,以翻译为要务,不要跳出来卖弄自己的学问。要想展示自己的学问,翻译完了另写文章去。
2. 尾注:用尾注,而非脚注,这样读者除非特别有兴趣的,可跳过不读,以作品阅读流畅性为第一要务;
3. 简注:用极简主义的精神加注,提供简要事实,比如书中出现人物的原文姓名,以帮助研究者查找所指为何人,不要发挥。

如下是我给科伦的说明,他读后欣然接受。但根据他的要求,我也删掉了不少注释。

I agree with you that notes may get in the way of reading, but sometimes it is a necessary evil. I will list the situations when I use notes (not many of them) and please let me know if you will approve of them.

Of course I converted them all to end notes so that people can ignore them easily enough, while those with interest can refer to them at the end of the book. I hope this is a good solution.

1. When you mention a person such as Lenny Bruce, Eckhart von Hochheim, Massignon, Louis Massignon, Charles de Foucauld, Rubem Alves, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Philip Arthur Larkin and Rumi , I added a note to tell readers who they are -- at least what their original names are. If people are interested in knowing more about these individuals (researchers mainly, for instance someone may decide to learn more about Rumi), they can go to the end of the book and find out what the original names are. Chinese translations of names are notoriously inconsistent to be of much help in identifying a person.   You probably have noticed that when an English name is translated into Chinese, there are many ways to render it into Chinese characters. Your last name, for instance, has appeared in Chinese media as 麦坎, 麦坎恩,麦肯。Your first name has appeared as 科姆,科伦,科伦姆. Due to this reason it would be very difficult for someone to figure out who Rumi is if I had not added a note to provide the original name. Your French or German translators may not have such problems as French and German are alphabetical languages like English. Such names can blend in as they are in these languages.

2. I occasionally added a little note about certain special references such as "ambulance chasers" because most readers wouldn't know why lawyers are called that. But of course I can get rid of that. This is not absolutely necessary. Let's hope more readers know about these than I had assumed.   (I usually do not assume anything due to the variety of readers.  Maybe I should change that habit.)

There are three or four other places where some cultural background knowledge is needed for comprehension, but such knowledge is not immediately available from the text.   I explained such unfamiliar concepts to readers in notes too.  These include  "Freedom Rides" and "Natural Step".  I just explained them in a matter-of-fact way, using one or two sentences explaining what they are.

3. If I see an allusion that I think an average Chinese reader may not know, I would add a note indicating its source. There are three or four short notes like this.  For instance, I indicated that "Roaring Seaward, and I Go" is a line from the poem "Locksley Hall". And the reference about Solomon splitting of baby is a reference to King Solomon in the Old Testament.  Some Chinese readers may not know who King Solomon is. If I don't add a note there, they won't be able to tell why it is fun to hear Solomon will become the judge. An end note here will actually help readers in comprehension. People who know about the reference can simply ignore the note.

4. You have some word plays and puns in the book, such as "Miro, Miro on the Wall", "Hacker" as a computer hacker and a person cutting (hacking) , and you mentioned Gloria in association with "Gloria, in excelsis deo". A note is necessary here because Gloria the name will be translated into 格洛丽亚 and the Gloria in "Gloria, in excelsis deo" had to be translated into 荣耀。 When rendered in Chinese, such association is lost,  a note is necessary to explain this. I could probably find dynamic equivalents for some other usages such as alliterations, but I would prefer to stay faithful to your text without constantly taking matter into my own hands to rewrite parts to avoid such translation problems in such situations. In most cases, however, I can find equivalents for rhetorical devices you have in the book, without doing any disservice to your meaning.   That's usually what I would do.  Using a note to explain is a last resort, not a first choice.

Also you have “Machine- aided cognition. Men against computers. Multi- access cognition. Maniacs and clowns. Must ask coyly. Might add colostomy bag.” The initials will be lost in translation, so that's where I added a note explaining about MAC. The same goes for "Keyring" and "Ciaran", "PARC" and "Park", and the play with the word "well".

5. You have some Spanish and Italian in the text. At first I kept them as they are in the text while adding an end note explaining what they mean. After reading your message, I removed the notes.  Instead, I added the Chinese equivalents immediately afterwards in this format: “Que payaso(你这小丑)。” nin?os(孩子们)I hope that is better.

 I used as few notes as I can. Even in these notes I provided facts only and keep them as short as possible. I didn't offer further explanation which would get in the way of someone's reading experience. As end notes, readers can ignore these brief notes too.

I hope this will be fine for you. If not, please let me know, and I'll be happy to change them.

I am also copying this to my editor so that she can also determine whether these are necessary based on your requirements, the style guide of the Press, and her understanding of readers.

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