首先恭喜英译中的得胜者 Dallas Cao! 他的翻译口语风格流畅，确实有胜出其他参赛者之处。
I had not seen my mother since I was born, so the stay in La Rochelle was also an opportunity for me to get to know her properly. At first, I couldn't help but be surprised that she merely kissed me twice, and then only on my forehead, after all this time apart. Nor could I have guessed that those two kisses would be the only ones I would receive from her in my life. She spoke in harsh tones and was clearly irritated by my thoughtless laughter at the stories my brothers told. "She really is not a pretty child," she told my brother Constant right in front of me one day. "Her eyes are absurdly out of proportion. They make it impossible to see the rest of her face."
However, it was not until some days after my arrival that my reservations about her became outright loathing. This change was brought about by the way she tried to take me to church. I had never attended a mass, but I was more curious about it than hostile to it, and even though I had sometimes been to sermons with the Villettes, I did not consider myself to be a Protestant. My mother dragged me along as if she were taking me to prison instead of church, uttering threats and clutching my hand in a vice-like grip. I was not naturally docile and this use of force awakened a sense of rebellion deep inside me. The end result of my mother's method was that I turned my back to the altar as soon as we were inside the church. She slapped me. I bore it with great courage, feeling enormously proud to be suffering for my religion. This resistance to the mass didn't last, because there was no basis for it. But I have never got over the repulsion for my mother that was born from this experience.
Tim is currently at a stage of his development which I shall probably enjoy remembering later - because it is over. Let's call it the "farty phase", which appears to be part and parcel of every child’s drawn out process of language acquisition. Every rapper in Berlin is an aesthete when compared to my son.
In the mornings, when Tim tramples over my legs into my bed, he joyfully shouts "Helloooo fart face"! But I am not a fart face, I am his father. And I make that quite clear to him. Needless to say that for his mother he also has some very special literary creations at his fingertips ... most of these creations are based on bodily orifices and excretory processes. That’s not very pleasant.
Why can't he invent nicknames which we like? Why doesn't he just call me "flower dad"? The kindergarten teacher deemed this normal when I approached her on the matter. I don't care, so I decided to courageously counter my son's behaviour and to impose punishment for swear words if need be.
However, I unfortunately lack sufficient authority to implement this. I am not particularly good at punishing. Moreover, a psychologist once told me that small children do not understand punishment as such anyway. It just doesn't help! Actually, keeping to sanctions is tougher on the parents than on their children, especially the enforcement of a TV ban. Would you keep that up stringently on a Sunday morning at 8 am? No? See what I mean? So I decided to play it by ear.
“Naughty cat! Get down!”
Immersed in the umpteenth translation, from the studio I hear the shouts of my second-born Alessandra berating Marlon, a former stray, now a rather portly cat lording it over the family sofa.
Outside, the September sun brings a feeble warmth to a day that is empty without Giorgio, my eldest. Now a man, he has left for university: spirited, sensitive and tugging at my heart.
Who’d have thought that his absence would have cut so deep, with these sudden, stabbing pains? I cannot tell whether the heartache comes from knowing that now he's flown the nest and that life will never be the same again, or merely from the torment of the years flashing by like lightning in a summer storm - and the uneasy feeling that I didn’t enjoy these kids, I didn’t love them and raise them as I should have - could have – done.
Alessandra immediately settled into her new role of only child, a role she has coveted for 16 years and which is now all hers, at least until her big brother comes back home for the holidays.
Her moods swing between the satisfaction of finally having Mum and Dad under her thumb, and the solitude of someone who didn't realise how much she loved her brother. Who will unravel the mysteries of Latin to her now? More importantly, who will lend her a mobile phone when her credit runs out?
I hear approaching footsteps, the cat Marlon protesting… “Mummy, look, isn’t he cute?. Listen, you don’t really need your mobile right this minute, do you?”
Alessandra has found a solution. The steady gaze of Marlon, ensconced in her arms, says it all.
What should I tell the kids? To be honest and straight down the line, or to seize every opportunity that life throws at them? Should I encourage them to be dreamers or pragmatists? Am I wrong to instil in them values which the world seems to scorn?
Or am I just worrying over nothing? Our children listen to what we tell them, but they learn from what we do, as well as from what we don't do. Every little action, every gesture, the tone of our replies, inconsistencies between our words and our actions… nothing escapes the eager eyes of these little people placed in our charge by the hand of fate.
They are inconsiderate intruders, who eat up all our time and energy even when we have no more to give, and who, despite their lack of years and apparently insignificant size, are complex human beings who invade our private time, play havoc with our plans and spin the compass that rules our lives in a new direction.
We would dearly love for these innocent manifestations of our unfulfilled desires to follow the paths that we have dreamed of, to want what we ourselves want. They, however, have their own dreams and goals, and have to find their own paths in life.
Time and time again we try to use our own experience to shield them from the pitfalls of life, but some lessons can only be learnt by making mistakes, and the games that life plays with us have more than one right answer.
Aren’t they great, these little kids? We learn more from them and with them than we could ever teach them. On their tongues our words take on a new perspective, and their needs and the challenges they face make us rethink the thoughts and feelings which have rooted themselves within our souls after years of routine.
Our children need us because we show them the path to follow. We need them even more so, as they are the footprints we leave on this path.
公布比赛的结果后，我看了其它语文的译本，才发现自己的法文还很有问题。一开头的解读就有不确切之处。不过，我的德文和西班牙文还算没有重大误解。如有兴趣读我的中译，可到 http://www.proz.com/contests 那个网页上的 Other language pairs in which no winner has been selected 中的相应部位选读。
特别请 chance 帮我留意一下从法文翻译过来的错误，或是中文表达的问题。至于我从德文和西班牙文翻译过来的文字，也希望有人能给予批评指教。老实说，我自己并不十分满意，老觉得应该还有更好的表达方式。
[Edited at 2007-10-02 05:29]