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可怜的梭罗――读《瓦尔登湖》翻译(八十)  

2010-08-13 14:52:13|  分类: 《瓦尔登湖》 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Such is the universal law, which no man can ever outwit, and with regard to the railroad even we may say it is as broad as it is long. To make a railroad round the world available to all mankind is equivalent to grading the whole surface of the planet. Men have an indistinct notion that if they keep up this activity of joint stocks and spades long enough all will at length ride somewhere, in next to no time, and for nothing; but though a crowd rushes to the depot, and the conductor shouts "All aboard!" when the smoke is blown away and the vapor condensed, it will be perceived that a few are riding, but the rest are run over, -- and it will be called, and will be, "A melancholy accident." No doubt they can ride at last who shall have earned their fare, that is, if they survive so long, but they will probably have lost their elasticity and desire to travel by that time. This spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once. "What!" exclaim a million Irishmen starting up from all the shanties in the land, "is not this railroad which we have built a good thing?" Yes, I answer, comparatively good, that is, you might have done worse; but I wish, as you are brothers of mine, that you could have spent your time better than digging in this dirt.

(徐迟译)这便是普遍的规律,从没有人能胜过它;至于铁路,我们可以说它是很广而且很长的。使全人类得到一条绕全球一圈的铁路,好像是挖平地球的表面一样。人们糊里糊涂相信着,只要他们继续用合股经营的办法,铲子这样子铲下去,火车最后总会到达某个地方的,几乎不要花多少时间,也不要花什么钱;可是成群的人奔往火车站,收票员喊着“旅客上车!”烟在空中吹散,蒸气喷发浓密,这时可以看到少数人上了车,而其余的人却被车压过去了,这就被称做“一个可悲的事故”,确是如此。毫无疑问,挣到了车资的人,最后还是赶得上车子的,就是说,只要他们还活着,可是说不定那时候他们已经失去了开朗的性情和旅行的愿望了。这种花了一个人的生命中最宝贵的一部分来赚钱,为了在最不宝贵的一部分时间里享受一点可疑的自由,使我想起了那个英国人,为了他可以回到英国去过一个诗人般的生活,他首先跑到印度去发财。他应该立即住进破旧的阁楼去才对。“什么!”一百万个爱尔兰人从土地上的所有的棚屋里发出呼声来了,“我们所造的这条铁路,难道不是一个好东西吗?”是的,我回答,比较起来,是好的,就是说,你们很可能搞得更坏;可是,因为你们是我的兄弟,我希望你们能够比挖掘土方更好地打发你们的光阴。

1Such is the universal law, which no man can ever outwit, and with regard to the railroad even we may say it is as broad as it is long.

universal”一词接近成语“放之四海而皆准”,说明对什么情形都适用。“普适法则”前面是定冠词the,而不是不定冠词a或数量词one,它们的侧重点是不一样的。 一条普遍的规律”回译当是aone

outwit”徐译“战胜”可以,戴译“反其道而行之”则偏了。“outwit”在句中即便有“不遵守法则”的意思,仍看不出“反其道”来。

短语“it is as broad as it is long”,Oxford English Dictionary上解释:it comes to the same thing either way, it makes no difference。没料到是个popular phrase,原来也以为是“长宽一样”“其宽等于其长”呢。徐译“很广而且很长”和戴译“四通八达的”都没有作上面的固定短语理解。

and with regard to the railroad even we may say it is as broad as it is long”这一句不容易理解。“and”连接的两部分,前面是完整的,后面好像是省略句。“even”一词取消了句子“we may say”的独立性而使之成了从句。从句就你树之枝,需要依靠树之干而存活,可这句的主干呢?我觉得可以看作承前省略:“it is universal with regard to the railroad”。徐译“至于铁路,我们可以说它是很广而且很长的”漏译了“even”。

2To make a railroad round the world available to all mankind is equivalent to grading the whole surface of the planet.

grading”这里是指为铺铁轨而把地面整平或适当的坡度。并非“(将地球表面)铲去一层”。另外,“一条绕地球行驶的铁路”,好像铁路能自己行驶似的。把铁路修得世界各个地方的人都能乘,那就等于说得把整个地球表层都修得能铺铁轨。

3Men have an indistinct notion that if they keep up this activity of joint stocks and spades long enough all will at length ride somewhere, in next to no time, and for nothing;

indistinct”是修饰“notion(想法)”的,译为“模糊”“不清晰”即可,若译成“糊里糊涂”“ 稀里糊涂(地)”,则成一副词状语而描写人(的动作)了。

keep up this activity”就是指铁路继续建下去。“this activity of joint stocks and spades”这里的“stocks”和“spades”都是名词。如果把“spades”译为“铲子(这样子)铲下去”还算正确引申的话,把“joint stocks”译为“合股经营”就有问题了。上文里从未谈及“合股经营”,为什么在谈建筑铁路时要提到“股份合还是不合”呢?这种从话题上岔开的枝节话,在梭罗这本书里是不该有的。

英语详注版说这里的“joint stocks and spades”是双关语:Pun on joint stock and trade, the stock or capital funds of a company held jointly or in common by its owners, and the spades used in grading the railroad beds. 但是注释是并没有说明这双关意义何在,也就是说,仍然没有讲清为何要提“合股经营”。

我猜测“joint stocks”另有所指。 A device consisting of a heavy timber frame with holes for confining the ankles and sometimes the wrists, formerly used for punishment(美国传统辞典). 足枷的形状有点近似于一节铁轨。人们只看到了铁路把人送往某地的快捷,却没能看到另一面:铁路即是“joint stocks”,它束缚了人的手脚。

这样理解,与下文的“少数人乘到了车,其他人则死于轮下”以及段落最后说的“有比建铁路更好的方式度过光阴(you could have spent your time better than digging in this dirt)”正相一致。

all willride somewhere”中,“all”是指有“ride”能力的人,不是指铁路。因此,“火车最后总会到达……”和“铁路终会延伸到……”的译法是错误的。

4but though a crowd rushes to the depot, and the conductor shouts "All aboard!" when the smoke is blown away and the vapor condensed, it will be perceived that a few are riding, but the rest are run over, -- and it will be called, and will be, "A melancholy accident."

All aboard!”翻译时,需要译出“All(大家都)”来,徐译“旅客上车”和戴译“请旅客上车”都没有重视这点,这样,与后面“a feware riding, but the rest are run over)”的照应就没有再现出来。建筑铁路是为了所有人,但终究是少数人用,而多数人为此劳碌,在某种意义上,可能终生在挣乘车费。

the vapor condensed”徐译“蒸气喷发浓密”不当,不如戴译。“烟”与“蒸汽”都妨碍人们看清结果,怎么会在写“烟在空中吹散……这时可以看到……”时,再强调“蒸气喷发浓密”呢?应当是“烟消雾散”的意思。

perceive”这个词也不只是“看”,有“发现”“意识到”。人们才看清楚这个事实。

the rest are run over”中“run over”,有“撞倒”“压过”甚至“辗过”,却没有“在铁轨上”的强调。加上“在铁轨上”,话题的侧重就从“被撞/辗死”转移到了“在哪里(被撞/辗死)”了。

it will be called, and will be, "A melancholy accident." 徐译“这就被称做“一个可悲的事故”,确是如此。”可以看出,“确是如此”是译插入语“and will be”的。戴译这就是所谓的“一个惨不忍睹的事故”没有译出“and will be”来。

melancholy accident”详注版解释出了与“railroad”的联系:“Term used by newspapers in Thoreau’s day to describe an accident, usually involving a steamship or railroad, in which many lives were lost”。

5No doubt they can ride at last who shall have earned their fare, that is, if they survive so long, but they will probably have lost their elasticity and desire to travel by that time.

can ride at last”是说“没有钱乘车的人,劳作挣钱作车费,最终能乘火车”,但并不侧重“赶得上与否”或“上下车”。“最终”一词,是说“只要他们能survive”,可见不少人在“劳作挣车费的过程中死了”。徐译“只要他们还活着”和戴译“只要他还活在世上”都没有译出“survive”所暗示出的“挣车费”之漫长艰难。也许到了他们挣足了钱要去乘车的时候,他们发现在身体上自己已经失去年轻时的弹性,也没有当年乘车的欲望了。

有个故事,讲到一渔夫在悠闲地钓鱼。有人建议他应多劳作,去打渔卖钱,然后发家致富。他问“so what?”那人说等有钱了就可以享受生活,比如悠闲地钓钓鱼了。渔夫回答“我现在不就这样做着吗?”

梭罗,还有渔夫,应该不是教人懒惰,而是强调人的自由与发展,不为劳作或金钱所奴役,以至于终身劳作,无暇关注人生中真正有价值意义的事情。

年轻时拼命挣钱,以健康换金钱,年老了拼命花以金钱换健康,等这两件事做完命拼完之后,就可了安享生活了,只是那时一个人躺在地下小房子里永远地安静了。

这正是梭罗接下来要怀疑的“This spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it”。

questionable liberty”挣钱以便获得将来的财政自由,可以这自由未必能指望能靠得住,是“questionable”,因为它有个前提是“(yousurvive so long”。

6He should have gone up garret at once. 想在英国过诗人生活,就不应该跑到印度先去挣大钱,而应该立即上阁楼开始诗人生活。

徐译“他应该立即住进破旧的阁楼去才对”增加了原文所没有的“破旧的”一词。梭罗要说的是“想过诗人生活就马上开始”,与阁楼的“破旧不破旧”无关。甚至连“住进去”或“去住”都是多余的。

7"What!" exclaim a million Irishmen starting up from all the shanties in the landIrishmen指铁路建筑工人,starting up 是惊起,shanties指他们筑路工地的棚屋,the land感觉是指工地那一片地域,译作“土地”或“大地”好像范围太大而变得古怪了,如戴译“爱尔兰老乡从大地上的所有陋室中向我呼叫道”。

8、“comparatively good, that is, you might have done worse”。建铁路和其他一些事情比较起来,还是好的。其他事情可能更糟更无益。

9but I wish, as you are brothers of mine, that you could have spent your time better than digging in this dirt.

as you are brothers of mine”徐译“因为你们是我的兄弟”是正确的,戴译“作为你们的手足兄弟”则错了。

spend your time”若译“打发光阴”,似乎在说时间太多,无事可消磨。

digging in this dirt”是指筑路挖掘,有土也可能有石,但这里的“in this dirt”却没有“石”。

10Ken Kifter的评注:所有的现代改进都是改而不进,这是一个悖论。事实一次次地表明,投资几万亿元的计算机并没有提高车间的生产力。房子比梭罗时代不便宜也好不太多。有了飞机人们可以很短的时间走过很长的路程,但很少有人能既有时间又有钱去坐飞机。人们喜爱汽车抱怨税太高,但他们没注意到车的成本高,税收有隐性补助,他们忽视了健康问题(源于长久采取坐姿的生活方式)忽视了我们汽车文化的巨额环境成本(整个地表的整修)。他们仍然倾向于认为他们能“乘车去一地,花时很少,不费啥钱”。如果我们明智点,我们应该能看出这些的缺陷而合适地应对。(The paradox is that all of our modern improvements don't improve. It has been demonstrated time and again that computers do not improve the productivity of the work place, in spite of trillions of dollars invested. Houses are no cheaper and not much better today than in Thoreau's day. People can travel long distances in short periods of time due to airlines, but very few have both the time and the money to make such trips. People love their automobiles and complain about high taxes, but they ignore the high costs and hidden tax subsidies, the health problems (created by a sedentary lifestyle), and the enormous environmental cost ("grading the whole surface of the planet") of our automobile culture. They still tend to think that they will "ride somewhere, in next to no time, and for nothing." If we were wiser, we would see these shortcomings and respond accordingly.

(戴欢译)这便是一条普遍的规律,无人可以反其道而行之,即使我们说到的这四通八达的铁路,也不会例外。要使全人类获得一条绕地球行驶的铁路,就相当于将地球表面铲去一层那样。人们稀里糊涂地认为,只要他们继续合股经营下去,铲子也照铲不误铁路终会延伸到某个地方的,以后到那里去就花不了多少时间,也花不了什么钱。但尽管人们川流不息地朝火车站蜂拥而来,售票员大声喊着“请旅客上车!”,烟尘渐渐在空气中散去,喷出的蒸汽也凝成了水滴,这时会看到只有少数几人登上了火车,而其余的人却被辗死在铁轨上——这就是所谓的“一个惨不忍睹的事故”。

毫无疑问,挣足了车费的人们,最后还是能登上火车的,也就是说,只要他还活在世上,终会如愿以偿的,但或许真到了那时,他已经失去了奔放的活力和旅行的欲求了。耗费生命中最珍贵的时间去挣钱,竟是为了在最不珍贵的时间里安享一点可疑的自由,我自然就想到了那个英国人,他首先跑到印度去挣大钱,为的是他日后能回到英国过上一个诗人般的生活。他真该立即爬上阁楼去住才好。“什么!”一百万个爱尔兰老乡从大地上的所有陋室中向我呼叫道,“我们修筑的这条铁路,难道不是个好东西吗?”是的,我答复他们,相对而言,它是个好东西,也就是说,你们或许会干出更坏的事来;然而,作为你们的手足兄弟,我希望,你们能把宝贵的时光花在比挖掘土石方更好的活计上去。

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