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You are welcome to comment on this: 第十六届韩素音青年翻译奖之英译汉:必要的虚构
Thread poster: Last Hermit

Last Hermit
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May 30, 2004

Necessary Fictions
必要的虚构
翻译:Last Hermit



The most pathetic in Friedrich Dürrenmatt's play The Visit is the Schoolmaster. The play tells the story of a town bribed by an enormously wealthy lady (the“visitor”of the title) to murder her former lover. That, at least, is the surface plot. The real plot is the reenactment by the townspeople of the archetypal ritual sacrifice that is the subject of Sir James Frazer's study of primitive religion, The Golden Bough , and that classical scholars such as Gilbert Murray and F. M. Cornford have found at the root of Greek tragedy. The play thus moves on two levels. On one, it is the story of a judicial murder for money, an indictment of materialism. On the other, it has nothing to do with motives in the conventional sense. It is a play about religious impulses that are independent of the ways people explain them.

在弗里德利希•杜仑马特的戏剧《探访》里,最窝囊者莫过于那位校长。该剧讲述一位超级富婆(剧名中的“探访者”)为谋杀旧情人而收买全镇人的故事。表面看来,剧情不外如此。实际上,它是通过镇中人再现了原始的祭祀仪式,亦即詹姆士·弗雷舍爵士的《金枝》所研究的原始宗教的课题,以及吉耳伯特·墨莱和F·M·康福德等研究古希腊或古罗马的学者们追溯希腊悲剧根源时的发现。因此,本剧朝两方面发展。其一,讲述以合法手段使人枉死于金钱之下的故事,从而对物质至上主义提出控诉。其二,它不关涉传统观念上的杀人动机。它关乎非一般人可以解释的宗教力量。

Dürrenmatt's Schoolmaster is a key figure because he represents the liberal and rational heritage of Western culture. He is“Headmaster of Guellen College, and lover of the noblest Muse.”He sponsors the town's Youth Club and describes himself as“a humanist, a lover of the ancient Greeks, an admirer of Plato.”He is a true believer in all those liberal and rational values that Western culture has inherited from antiquity.

杜仑马特笔下这位校长是个关键人物,因为他是自由地、理性地传承西方文化的象征。他是“古尔伦学院的校长,崇尚至高无上的缪斯。”他出钱资助镇里的青年人俱乐部,自称是“人文主义者,喜欢古希腊,仰慕柏拉图。”但凡是源远流长的西方文化中的自由价值观和理性价值观,他都照单全收。

In keeping with these values, Dürrenmatt's schoolmaster is horrified by the plans of his fellow townspeople, whom he has tried to inspire with visions of nobility, to commit murder. As the climax approaches, however, he crumbles. Not only does he know of the murder plan, he knows he will become a part of it:

就在恪守这些价值观的当儿,他得知他曾经以高远的志向启迪过的镇里的乡亲们正计划杀人,不禁惶惶不可终日。然而,随着剧情进入高潮,他终于崩溃了。他不但知道有这么个杀人的计划,他还知道自己也将成为计划的一部分:

I know something else. I shall take part in it. I can feel myself slowly becoming a murderer. My faith in humanity is powerless to stop it.

我还知道一些事情。我将要参与其中。我感到自己正慢慢地变成一个杀人凶手。我所信仰的人文主义,对此无能为力。

The Schoolmaster has discovered that the apparently absolute values of “the ancient Greeks…and Plato” have limits. Other values, hidden and irrational, are at least as powerful. Are the latter true and the former nothing more than lovely and venerable fictions?

校长先生发现,“古希腊文化……及柏拉图”等貌似至高无上的价值观并非所向披靡。其它看不见的、非理性的价值观,丝毫不甘示弱。是否后者才是真的,而前者不外乎是煞是好看的、教人心驰神往的幻象罢了?

The Visit brilliantly explores one of the most ancient paradoxes in Western experience, a paradox that appears in the Old Testament in the contrast between the Gentiles who worship graven idols and the Hebrews who worship invisible truth: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth underneath, or that is in the waters under the earth.” The same paradox recurs in the conflict between pagan learning and Christian revelation in the early centuries of the Christian era, and again, in the high Middle Ages, in the debate between Thomistic rationalism, which sees the world as an intelligible and orderly expression of divine reason, and the mysticism of St. Bonaventure's The Mind's Road to God , which sees the world as a delusion and turns from it to suprarational experience. In the seventeenth century the paradox is embodied in the conflict between science and revelation, a conflict that was renewed in the nineteenth century by the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species.

《探访》巧妙地探讨了存在于西方经验中的一个极为古老的悖论。它在《旧约》中出现时,以崇拜雕像之外邦人与崇拜不可见之真理的希伯莱人互为对比:“不可以为自己雕刻偶像;也不可作什么形象仿佛上天、下地和地底下、水中的百物。”同样的悖论,在基督纪元最初的几个世纪中,再次出现在异教研究与基督启示两者的冲突中,继而在中世纪鼎盛期,再而在托马斯理性主义与圣•波拿文都拉的《朝圣之路》的神秘主义论争中。托马斯理性主义视世界为对纯理性的可知而又有序的表述,而圣•波拿文都拉则视世界为幻象又由幻象化作超理性的体验。到了十七世纪,这一悖论便出现在科学与启示的冲突中,至十九世纪,又因达尔文的《物种起源》再起争端。

It is still with us. No one could be more devoted to humane values—or more knowledgeable in the field of biology—than Jacques Monod, co-recipient of the 1965 Nobel Prize for medicine and physiology. In a much-admired essay,“On Values in the Age of Science”(1969), Monod proclaimed the end of the Age of Faith:

到如今,它还在跟着我们走。1965年诺贝尔生理学及医学奖得主之一雅克•莫诺,对人道价值观研究之热爱,甚或对生物学之稔熟,可谓无人能及。他在他那篇教人击节赞赏的文章《论科学时代之价值观》(1969)中宣称“信仰时代”已经结束:



Modern nations…still teach and preach some more or less modernized version of traditional systems of values, blatantly incompatible with what scientific culture they have. The western, liberal-capitalist countries still pay lip service to a nauseating mixture of Judeo-Christian religiosity, “Natural” Human Rights, pedestrian utilitarianism and XIX Century progressivism…They all lie and they know it. No intelligent and cultivated person, in any of these societies can really believe in the validity of these dogma…

 

那些现代国家……至今依然在苦口婆心地向人们灌输那或多或少带有现代色彩的传统价值观,公然与它们现有的科学文化唱反调。西方自由资本主义国家,把犹太-基督教教义、“天赋”人权、平庸实用主义以及十九世纪的进步主义……揉成一团教人反胃的东西后,依然对着它大唱高调。它们全部在撒谎,它们也心知肚明。在这些社会里,但凡有智之士、有识之人都不会当真相信这些教条……

While a great many “intelligent and cultivated persons” undoubtedly agree with Monod, many others do not. Dü-rrenmatt is a case in point. What he shows through his Schoolmaster is that a rational and secular value system of the kind proposed by Monod is delusion that may crumble as soon as it is subjected to stress. Dürrenmatt had good reason to believe his message. The Visit was written in 1956 when memories of the Holocaust were still vivid. Since then, confidence in rational and secular values has continued to decline. In 1979, in what was almost a national paroxism of disgust, the people of Iran rejected Western rationalism and opted for a form of government that looks very much like theocracy. The diatribes of Iran's Mullahs are hardly less passionate than tirades of America's Moral Majority and the sermons of its radio and television evangelists. It is interesting and significant that the American Mullahs consistently identify “secular humanism” as the chief corruption of modern society. In fact, in 1979 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, a normally moderate body, felt the pressure sufficiently to include a denunciation of “humanistic secularization” in its proceedings.

有一大批“有智之士、有识之人”毫无保留地赞同莫诺的观点的同时,也有许多人不以为然。杜仑马特便是其一。他通过笔下的那位校长告诉我们,莫诺所倡导的那种理性的、世俗的价值体系,只不过是一场幻觉,一旦遇到压力便会破灭,化为乌有。杜仑马特实在有理由相信自己这样启发人是对的。《探访》写于1956年,当时人们对纳粹大屠杀依然记忆犹新。从那时起,人们对理性的、世俗的价值观越来越没有信心。1979年,伊朗几乎是在全国一片唾骂声中抛弃了西方理性主义,选择了一个几乎与神权无异的政府。伊朗毛拉们起劲的漫骂声,对比于美国道德多数会的痛斥声及其电台、电视台福音传播者的布道声,丝毫不遑多让。有意思的是,美国的毛拉们却始终视“世俗人文主义”为现代社会最大的堕落,这便不容小觑了。事实上,属于一般温和团体的圣公会大会,也于1979年感到有必要将谴责“人文主义世俗化”纳入他们的议程中。

While the Schoolmasters of Western society dream of nobility, the Faithful quote the Sermon on the Mount:

西方社会的校长们在做其高远之梦的当儿,虔诚的信徒们却在山上摘下如下训言:



No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.


一个人不能事奉两个主。不是恶这个爱那个,就是重这个轻那个。你们不能又事奉神,又事奉玛门。

And:

Take therefore no thought of the morrow, for the morrow shall take no thought for the things of itself.


还有:
 所以,不要为明天忧虑,因为明天自有明天的忧虑。

And:

Everyone that heareth these things, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon sand.


还有:
凡听见我这话不去行的,好比一个无知的人,把房子盖在沙土上。

The conflict between the graven idols of secular humanism and the invisible realities known only to the saving remnant of the devout is very much alive today. If Dürrenmatt is correct, there is little to be said for humanism. It is an illusion, a fiction, a thin coating of rationalizations covering something awesome and terrifying. The Mullahs have won.

世俗人文主义崇拜偶像,而硕果仅存的虔诚的信徒察现实于无形,两者至今依然纷争不断。倘若杜仑马特观点正确,人文主义不值一谈。它乃是幻象,是虚构,是裹着薄薄的理性主义外衣的、煌然的狰狞之物。毛拉们是胜利者。

Before abandoning humanism and all its works, however, let us consider it from another angle. For the sake of speculation, let us imagine a humanism that is a way of seeing. The things it sees are human creations or things that have special human significance. This sort of humanism will be interested in the values these things express but not in any particular set of those values.

在我们摒弃人文主义及其所有作品前,不妨让我们从另一个角度看看。为便于思考,我们不妨想像有一种人文主义以观察方式存在。所观者,乃人文创造或具特殊人文意义之事。这种人文主义关注的是这些事情所表达的价值观,而非当中某一特定的价值观。

A humanism that is a way of seeing will be committed describing what it sees. It will seek to fix the condition of the human spirit at a particular place in a particular moment of time in relation to a particular experience, and it will choose its places and times and experiences because they express the condition of the human spirit with particular clarity. They are the evidence concerning the nature of the human spirit that has accumulated throughout history. In other words, they are to humanism what the raw materials of physics, biology, and chemistry are to science.

以一种观察方式存在的人文主义,定当尽心描述所观之事。它必定会在与某一特定经历相关的特定地点、特定时刻,想方设法去修整人文精神的状态,所选之地点、时间、经历,必定缘于它们能特别清楚地表达人文精神的状态。它们印证了人文精神本质的整个积累过程。换言之,它们之于人文主义,即如物理原料、生物原料及化学原料之于科学




[Edited at 2004-05-31 15:10]


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Yongmei Liu  Identity Verified
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Local time: 23:08
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英文看得不是太懂,感觉翻得不错 May 30, 2004

随便说几个不成熟的想法:

The most pathetic:最窝囊者
这里的pathetic 是inviting sympathy, not scorn,所以“令人同情”较妥

超级富婆
极为富有的妇人 何如?

judicial murder :以合法手段
甚佳

he represents the liberal and rational heritage of Western culture/他是自由地、理性地传承西方文化的象征
他代表着西方文化的自由和理性的传统。(Plato在时间上在Christianity之前,所以说是heritage)

In keeping with these values:就在恪守这些价值观的当儿
根据,依照,与。。。保持一致

Dürrenmatt's schoolmaster is horrified by the plans of his fellow townspeople:不禁惶惶不可终日
horrified=repulsed 感到极度震惊、厌恶 not frightened

paradox: 悖论
paradox=contradition, antagonism 似乎可用“矛盾”“对抗”

Dürrenmatt had good reason to believe his message.杜仑马特实在有理由相信自己这样启发人是对的。
。。。自己的观点。。。

Moral Majority 美国道德多数会
“道德的大多数”(这里是说Monad认为现代国家在维持宗教传统,而毛拉们感到宗教在迅速没落)

Sermon on the Mount:虔诚的信徒们却在山上摘下如下训言
《登山宝训》,马太福音五章到七章 see
http://www.readusa.cn/Bible/BIBLE4.htm

the mysticism of St. Bonaventure's The Mind's Road to God , which sees the world as a delusion and turns from it to suprarational experience: 圣•波拿文都拉的《朝圣之路》的神秘主义...视世界为幻象又由幻象化作超理性的体验
turns from it to suprarational experience: turns away from it and turns to suprarational experience

The last 2 paragraphs are very difficult for me to understand, but:

It will seek to fix the condition of the human spirit at a particular place in a particular moment of time in relation to a particular experience, and it will choose its places and times and experiences because they express the condition of the human spirit with particular clarity. 它必定会在与某一特定经历相关的特定地点、特定时刻,想方设法去修整人文精神的状态,所选之地点、时间、经历,必定缘于它们能特别清楚地表达人文精神的状态。
Here "fix" does not mean "修整", rather it means "place ... at a particular time or place" cf: "LA County Surgeon fixed the time of death at between 5 and 8 am on Sunday morning..."
"作为一种观察方法的人文主义,定当尽力描述所观察的事物。它试图将人文精神的状态,定位于与某一特定经历相关的特定地点和特定时刻..."
确切的含义是什么,吾不知也

Thoroughly enjoyable nevetheless. Merci beaucoup (pardon my french)


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Yongmei Liu  Identity Verified
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Local time: 23:08
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pagan learning 可以理解为世俗的知识, 即科学 May 30, 2004

as opposed to religious learning/revelation 宗教的知识

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