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对读者的礼貌――清晰 F.L.Lucas   

2010-01-29 07:05:25|  分类: 翻译写作 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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不求能理解,但求不误解。――Quintilian

晦涩……虚假做作。――Montaigne

我说过,文体中首先要考虑即是特性。其次要考虑什么特征能赢得听众或读者的认同。比如,不必要却麻烦他们是不礼貌的,故要清晰。浪费他们的时间是不礼貌的,故要简洁。

有个故事,Sisson教授对我讲的,现在仍记忆犹新。一个法国人对他说:“在法国,费劲的是作者;在德国,费劲的是读者;在英国,费劲的是两者。”这个概括过于简单,甚至可能有些诽谤,但不无道理。我想这话告诉我们另外一个原因:为什么法国散文水平一直那么高。而这在一定程度是又是因为,与我们的文化相比,法国文化基于会话和沙龙这一点一直更为突出。在大部分会话中,若是敷衍、啰嗦、沉闷,很快会让你――只要你不是河马――感觉出来。况且,沙龙一直深受女性影响;通常,对于沉闷与笨拙,女性更不能忍受。

那么,首先来谈清晰。
 

Character, I have suggested, is the first thing to think about in style.  The next step is to consider what characteristics can win a hearers or a readers sympathy.  For example, it is bad manners to give them needless trouble.  Therefore clarity.  It is bad manners to waste their time.  Therefore brevity.

There clings in my memory a story once told me by Professor Sisson.  A Frenchman said to him: In France it is the writer that takes the trouble; in Germany, the reader; in English it is betwixt and between.  The generalization is over-simple; perhaps even libelous; but not without truth.  It gives, I think, another reason why the level of French prose has remained so high.  And this may in its turn be partly because French culture has been based more than ours on conversation and the salon.  In most conversation, if he is muddled, wordy, or tedious, a man is soon made, unless he is a hippopotamus, to feel it.  Further, the salon has been particularly influenced by women; who, as a rule, are less tolerant of tedium and clumsiness than men.  

First, then, clarity. 


 

Character, I have suggested, is the first thing to think about in style.  The next step is to consider what characteristics can win a hearers or a readers sympathy.  For example, it is bad manners to give them needless trouble.  Therefore clarity.  It is bad manners to waste their time.  Therefore brevity.

  

There clings in my memory a story once told me by Professor Sisson.  A Frenchman said to him: In France it is the writer that takes the trouble; in Germany, the reader; in English it is betwixt and between.  The generalization is over-simple; perhaps even libelous; but not without truth.  It gives, I think, another reason why the level of French prose has remained so high.  And this may in its turn be partly because French culture has been based more than ours on conversation and the salon.  In most conversation, if he is muddled, wordy, or tedious, a man is soon made, unless he is a hippopotamus, to feel it.  Further, the salon has been particularly influenced by women; who, as a rule, are less tolerant of tedium and clumsiness than men.  

  

First, then, clarity.

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