“忠于原文”还是“忠于译文”?(Be faithful to the source text or to the translation?)
Thread poster: Fan Gao

Fan Gao
Australia
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Sep 12, 2006

这个问题应该在翻译界争论了很久,也没有得到一致的答案.我不想引发理论性的东西,但是在实践中确实碰到这样的问题,想问问一般大家如何处理?

我碰到需要翻译的句子大致是:"人在江湖,身不由己"这句话常被罪犯拿来当作无法改邪归正的借口.

关于"人在江湖,身不由己"在这里的翻译,我先准备就做字面上的翻译:"Living in this world, sometimes you lose control of your life"但是感觉这句话并没有经常被说英语的罪犯经常拿来当借口,根据我平时看的和听的,他们用的借口好像更多是:
 "I didn't ask to be born."

但是,如果这么翻,意思就与原文有比较大的差别.当时为了这个问题苦恼了半天.最后,我一狠心,用了"I didn't ask to be born".

因为我当时翻的材料是用于当作英语学习参考书的,应该更注重英文的原汁原味,这样才能更好地帮助英语学习者提高英语水平.

不知道大家有没有碰到过类似的"忠于原文"和"忠于译文"的选择,拿出来分享?

樊高


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-09-12 20:24]


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peiling  Identity Verified
Germany
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True to the meaning Sep 12, 2006

A few thoughts.

I think that "Living in this world, sometimes you lose control of your life" is not a translation that is true to the meaning nor the language, while "I didn't ask to be born" is an extreme rendering of the meaning. Even though "人在江湖,身不由己"might often be used by 'criminals', as you say, but there are also instances where it depicts 无奈. In this case, "I didn't ask to be born" would not work as it sounded like some rebellious teenager. Maybe you can consider some other translations such as "my life is not my own" (e.g. The fact is that my life is not my own. There’s the external expectation of work and home and the internal, haunting thoughts that whisper my own inadequacies, both of which keep pushing me to go, go, go.). I'm sure somebody would come up with a better translation. Anyway, my point is that maybe the translation should be at least true to the meaning. I mostly do technical translations. There are of course instances where it's a choice between the 原文 and the 译文. But mostly I tried to at least render the 译文 as close a translation in meaning as possible. I do agree that sometimes literal translation is a no no. Hope that helps.


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pkchan  Identity Verified
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三忠於 Sep 12, 2006

忠於原文,忠於译文,忠於自己專業操守

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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
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兩者之間不存在矛盾 Sep 12, 2006

源文字的任何概念和句子﹐ 總是能找到一個最貼切的翻譯的 。 如PK所言﹐兩者都要忠於 。

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Libin PhD  Identity Verified
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You cannot be yourself in this world. Sep 12, 2006

I would use "you cannot be yourself in this world." “人在江湖,身不由己”除了罪犯使用外,普通人无奈的时候也会用的。

[Edited at 2006-09-12 23:34]


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
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忠於什麼? Sep 13, 2006

「人在江湖,身不由己」這句話常被罪犯拿來當作無法改邪歸正的藉口。

頂上這句話的外文翻譯想必不容易。
首先問的是:什麼是「江湖」?
其次問的是:為什麼在「江湖」便「身不由己」?
然後才可能解釋為什麼「人在江湖,身不由己」可以被拿來當藉口。

要把這類文化上特有的東西轉譯成另一種文化產生的語言可以表達、而且不教人摸不著頭腦的語句,那很有得推敲。

江湖道上不由人,閒雲野鶴在竹林。這樣的語境裡,"I didn't ask to be born. " 無法表達意思;但在「藉口」的語境裡,"I didn't ask to be born. " 確實貼切。

忠於什麼?右手忠於左手嗎?如果說實話會要你的命,你還說實話嗎?

我現在也是「人在江湖,身不由己」,本來想多寫一些對翻譯的看法,無奈明天截稿,我還有五千字未譯。趕工去啦!


[Edited at 2006-09-13 01:18]


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wherestip  Identity Verified
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Context Sep 13, 2006

Wenjer Leuschel wrote:

我現在也是「人在江湖,身不由己」,本來想多寫一些對翻譯的看法,無奈明天截稿,我還有五千字未譯。趕工去啦!



I think Wenjer made a very good point: it all depends on context.

For example, in Wenjer's above sentence, he meant he had more important and pressing things to attend to.

For a criminal looking for excuses, it could mean "I didn't know any better", "My hands were tied due to my loyalty to the gang", "I couldn't break the cycle of crime because of my rough upbringing", etc., etc. Any number of translations might work well depending on how the phrase is used, and in what situation.

Context is very important. The lack of adequate context often makes many KudoZ questions unanswerable IMHO.


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Fan Gao
Australia
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TOPIC STARTER
个人认为最主要还是看翻译的领域 Sep 13, 2006

谢谢各位的回答!

确实,一句经常挂在我们嘴边的话要翻成英文,会有很多不同的版本.根据不同的上下文,我们需要灵活运用.

比如说,目前我一个客户是广告公司,他们就给我很大的自由,允许并鼓励我带有创造性的翻译,译文和原文有很大的不同,虽然精髓相通.

而我接受的其他稿件,如法律、科技方面的,我会严格遵照原文,不敢一丝怠慢。

总之我认为,翻译是人,是活的。


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peiling  Identity Verified
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另一种情形 Sep 14, 2006

For example:
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1546112
When the source text is wrong, do you translate according to the source text or state what is correct? I've been advised to do the former so that the incorrectness in the source text could be picked up. What do you think?


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wherestip  Identity Verified
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Language Competency Sep 17, 2006

Pei Ling Haussecker wrote:

For example:
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1546112
When the source text is wrong, do you translate according to the source text or state what is correct? I've been advised to do the former so that the incorrectness in the source text could be picked up. What do you think?



Garbage in, garbage out.

Personally, I wouldn't accept a job that the source text was piss-poor in any language, English, Chinese, or otherwise. One's own professional reputation is at stake.

BTW, I'm not talking about a few typos here and there, or the misuse of a few words.


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
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Garbage in, fish food out! Sep 17, 2006

wherestip wrote:

Pei Ling Haussecker wrote:

For example:
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1546112
When the source text is wrong, do you translate according to the source text or state what is correct? I've been advised to do the former so that the incorrectness in the source text could be picked up. What do you think?



Garbage in, garbage out.

Personally, I wouldn't accept a job that the source text was piss-poor in any language, English, Chinese, or otherwise. One's own professional reputation is at stake.

BTW, I'm not talking about a few typos here and there, or the misuse of a few words.


Hi Steven,

You see, we translators do not have the choice. There are texts poorly written in the original language and translated into some other languages one after another. So, we get sometimes stupid texts to work on.

I once heard one of my colleagues saying that Mr. So-and-So (maybe Mr. Yonotoko Takirari or Mr. Yamimoto Nokamina) translates from German into Japanese and his translations are always better than the original.

When I was young, I read a volume of Rilke's poems translated from German into Chinese by a Taiwanese poet and found a lot of spots where I just got stumbled and would say, "Huh?" But, when I came across my way to meet the poet one day, he told me, "Well pal, the translation was done as my recreation. There is no way to translate Rilke." Nice, isn't it?

Recently, I asked a KudoZ question concerning a fish food saying in Chinese, which was translated from Chinese into French and then into English and German. I was supposed to translate it back into Chinese. How the hell could I figure out what the guy was saying in Chinese? The only texts I have are translations in European languages. The client wanted it properly translated into Chinese in any way, by all means.

Translators must invent or recreate something, sometimes. When a translation achieves its purpose, nobody cares whether or not the orginal was well and correctly written. People expect us to provide better writing. There we are: Garbage in, fish food out!

That's why I joke with colleagues: The art of translation is sometimes to make sense out of nonsense.

I don't really care how the original was. The translation must be palable to the fish! What do you think about this?

- Wenjer


[Edited at 2006-09-17 22:00]


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
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To make a silk purse out of a sow's ear Sep 17, 2006

Wenjer Leuschel wrote:

wherestip wrote:

Garbage in, garbage out.

Personally, I wouldn't accept a job that the source text was piss-poor in any language, English, Chinese, or otherwise. One's own professional reputation is at stake.

BTW, I'm not talking about a few typos here and there, or the misuse of a few words.


Hi Steven,

You see, we translators do not have to choice. There are texts poorly written in the original language and translated into some other languages one after another. So, we get sometimes stupid texts to work on.

I once heard one of my colleagues saying that Mr. So-and-so translates from German into Japanese and his translations are always better than the original.

When I was young, I read a volume of Rilke's poems translated from German into Chinese by a Taiwanese poet and found a lot of spots where I just got stumbled and would say, "Huh?" But, when I came across my way to met the poet one day, he told me, "Well pal, the translation was done as my recreation. There is no way to translate Rilke." Nice, isn't it?

Recently, I asked a KudoZ question concerning fish food saying in Chinese, which was translated from Chinese into French and then into English and German. I was supposed to translate it back into Chinese. How the hell could I figure out what the guy was saying in Chinese? The only texts I have are translations in European languages. The client wanted it properly translated into Chinese in any way, by all means.

Translators must invent or recreate something, sometimes. When the translation achieves its purpose, nobody cares whether the orginal was well and correctly written. People expect us to provide better writing. There we are: Garbage in, fish food out!

That's why I joke with colleagues: The art of translation is to make sense out of nonsense.

I don't really care how the original was. The translation must be palable to the fish! What do you think about this?

- Wenjer



Wenjer,

I agree with you that sometimes compromises have to be made. Imagine one has a dolt for a boss. I'm sure there are also ways to please a client and translate an impossible text.


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David Shen  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
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I'd trying to understand the logic of an impossible translation Sep 18, 2006

Wenjer wrote:

... I was supposed to translate it back into Chinese. How the hell could I figure out what the guy was saying in Chinese? ...


wherestip wrote:

Garbage in, garbage out.

Wenjer,
I agree with you that sometimes compromises have to be made. Imagine one has a dolt for a boss. I'm sure there are also ways to please a client and translate an impossible text


论翻译,其实这个论坛上就可看出,已高手云集,又青菜、罗卜各有所爱,这点也是这个论坛精彩之所在。但作为翻译人,我们这儿首先要面对的是顾客而已经不是翻译理论。所以我是不敢在此谈翻译理论的。不过我十分欣悦能常常在此看到同仁们的高见。原则上,我严重同意wherestip说的“Garbage in, garbage out.”但实际运作中,觉得文哲说的办法才是切实可行的对同行的忠告。 文哲你也曾说“自嘲最容易。”其实勇于自嘲也不容易。我曾译完一批质量较差的原文后写了一段自嘲,以誌无奈。今理出来帖在此,算是让你见笑:

{董其昌论画,分三品: 下品、上品、神品。
翻译怎么分法?

古人信倉颉造文字后,天机泄,鬼神哭。 翻译尽干些泄露天机的事!
圣经上也说,人类语种讹变相互说不通,是神有意要跟人们开玩笑。
神将语言变乱,使人们不能交流,翻译却将语言过滤,使人们又能够交流。那么翻译做的事就是欲解释神开的玩笑啰?玩笑本来就不易解释,更何况是神开的玩笑?

所以,翻译看来得这么分:

下品=能解释得令人笑逐颜开的,是再创造,论翻译应属下品。

上品=能解释得让人哭笑不得的,才是真实的翻译,属上品。

神品=能解释得让人一头雾水的,乃有神助所致,则属神品。}

当今这个高速运转的电子世界,大部分顾客个个想要“神品” 但只肯付下品的翻译费,哥们,大家看着办吧!:D


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 09:10
English to Chinese
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宋玉對楚王問 Sep 18, 2006

David Shen wrote:

{董其昌论画,分三品: 下品、上品、神品。
翻译怎么分法?

古人信倉颉造文字后,天机泄,鬼神哭。 翻译尽干些泄露天机的事!
圣经上也说,人类语种讹变相互说不通,是神有意要跟人们开玩笑。
神将语言变乱,使人们不能交流,翻译却将语言过滤,使人们又能够交流。那么翻译做的事就是欲解释神开的玩笑啰?玩笑本来就不易解释,更何况是神开的玩笑?

所以,翻译看来得这么分:

下品=能解释得令人笑逐颜开的,是再创造,论翻译应属下品。

上品=能解释得让人哭笑不得的,才是真实的翻译,属上品。

神品=能解释得让人一头雾水的,乃有神助所致,则属神品。}

当今这个高速运转的电子世界,大部分顾客个个想要“神品” 但只肯付下品的翻译费,哥们,大家看着办吧!:D


Hi David,

許久沒跟你聊聊了。你還是很 sharp!

其實,我對翻譯有很明確的看法,那就是和寫作沒有多大差異。寫作是把自己的觀察轉譯成能夠與人溝通的語言文字,翻譯是把別人的觀察轉譯成能夠讓別人明白的語言文字,兩者首先注重的是:道理要說得通。那就是,兩者的目的都是溝通。

在翻譯方面,由於根據的是別人的觀察,而別人表達自己的觀察時,使用語文的習慣可能與我們自己有相當的差別,所以可能有寫作者表達不清楚,或者是我們理解不透徹的情況發生。

有些人把寫作或翻譯視為舞文弄墨的自我表現,所以先入的態度上就已經排斥了與自己不同語言表達習慣的文字,因此對文本產生批判的心理,這在翻譯時會阻礙對目的的洞視和對內容的理解。抱持這樣的態度從事翻譯工作,肯定不會有夠好的產能和產效。

翻譯工作上會遇到的寫作風格千萬種,並非每一種都容易讀懂,尤其那些經過好幾重語言轉譯的文字,那樣的文本往往幾乎無法解讀。這種情況下,翻譯者必須特別用心確定文本的使用目的,找出譯入語言裡的恰當表達方式,使用符合文本使用目的的文字,讓譯文能夠達到預期的效果。這時根本不要考慮譯出語文的表達是否貼切,而是只考慮譯文的表達能否達到目的。

據說中國唐代極盛時期,外邦民族九轉來朝。所謂九轉即經過九次轉譯;如果每次轉譯都要加上一堆翻譯者的註解旁白,交代文化上的差異,那麼什麼事都不用做了,主事者肯定累死。客套話就是客套話,不必在意客套是怎麼表達的,讓聽者高興就行;關鍵只在談論實質合作事宜的內容時,那才需要仔細說明。

翻譯是一種事業;經營事業要講究績效,不能為了原文或譯文的一點瑕疵損害事業的績效。那種專挑瑕疵批評而不識內容轉譯大體的人不適合以翻譯為生,只適合當窮酸的文人。

在翻譯上,什麼品都有,也都必須接受,因為不同的使用目的對文字表達品質的要求本來就不一樣。我做過的操作說明書常被有車間經驗的工程師說是過於文謅謅,他們的批評是正確的;操作說明書是給車間技術人員閱讀的,不能過於刁鑽,right to the point 即可,否則閱讀者會有理解上的困難。不管在哪一種語文裡,technical writing 已經成為一種專門的職業,翻譯者需要注意的是自己的表達是否符合規範,其它的都可不必太在意。Cognac、champagn 和清酒的品嚐法當然不同,我們不必裝腔作勢,以一副 enjoying the spirits 的模樣,用胖肚杯或高腳杯喝清酒。

翻譯文字什麼品都有,但是挑選翻譯者時,我只看翻譯者的言語是否說得通順,表達是否清晰,其它什麼品都不在意,除了人品之外。需要神品,當然也有那種人才,可用神品的價格購入,但先決條件還是翻譯者的人品。那些懂得修養自己、提攜別人的翻譯者注定在翻譯這個行業裡成功,要他們不成功也真的困難;反之,老是批評別人的文字,不知鼓勵提攜同仁的翻譯者,功夫再好,別人不願意和他合作,以自己的能力所能達到的績效,無論多大也還是有限。

我喜歡的是那種能唱陽春白雪或陽阿韮露,但平常只唱下里巴人的翻譯人,因為後者是滿座皆歡的表演,而陽春白雪或陽阿韮露只在特殊場合才唱的。生意就是生意,不必裝腔作勢;能掙到的絕對是憑真本事,否則當官去就好了,幹嘛辛苦做翻譯?

宋玉對楚王問的論理表示了宋玉一生注定不得志,有那種態度的翻譯者,恐怕連當官都混不下去,只可能落得心理不平衡,老要酸別人的翻譯,或懷疑別人當官不清廉。其實,人間雖常有無奈,還算挺公平的,無施無獲,翻譯者和律師沒兩樣,不過是拿人錢財、替人消災而已,客戶選用我們做翻譯,絕對希望我們替他們解決問題,不會高興我們給他們製造更多的麻煩。這個道理跟水一樣軟,但無往不利。多唱點下里巴人,保證翻譯工作順利,溫飽無虞。

- Wenjer


[Edited at 2006-09-18 23:04]


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David Shen  Identity Verified
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谢谢 Sep 20, 2006

Wenjer,

闻君一席话,胜读十五年书。更主要的是有助于我端正对这行业的态度。能从上文受益的会有许多人,谢谢你!


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“忠于原文”还是“忠于译文”?(Be faithful to the source text or to the translation?)

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