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可怜的梭罗——读《瓦尔登湖》翻译(149)  

2014-06-21 16:32:38|  分类: 《瓦尔登湖》 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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We might as well omit to study Nature because she is old. To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written. It is not enough even to be able to speak the language of that nation by which they are written, for there is a memorable interval between the spoken and the written language, the language heard and the language read. The one is commonly transitory, a sound, a tongue, a dialect merely, almost brutish, and we learn it unconsciously, like the brutes, of our mothers. The other is the maturity and experience of that; if that is our mother tongue, this is our father tongue, a reserved and select expression, too significant to be heard by the ear, which we must be born again in order to speak. The crowds of men who merely spoke the Greek and Latin tongues in the Middle Ages were not entitled by the accident of birth to read the works of genius written in those languages; for these were not written in that Greek or Latin which they knew, but in the select language of literature. They had not learned the nobler dialects of Greece and Rome, but the very materials on which they were written were waste paper to them, and they prized instead a cheap contemporary literature. But when the several nations of Europe had acquired distinct though rude written languages of their own, sufficient for the purposes of their rising literatures, then first learning revived, and scholars were enabled to discern from that remoteness the treasures of antiquity. What the Roman and Grecian multitude could not hear, after the lapse of ages a few scholars read, and a few scholars only are still reading it.

 (徐迟译)我们甚至还不消研究大自然,因为她已经老了。读得好书,就是说,在真实的精神中读真实的书,是一种崇高的训练,这花费一个人的力气,超过举世公认的种种训练。这需要一种训练,像竞技家必须经受的一样,要不变初衷,终身努力。书本是谨慎地,含蓄地写作的,也应该谨慎地,含蓄地阅读。本书所著写的那一国的文字,就算你能说它,也还是不够的,因为口语与文字有着值得注意的不同,一种是听的文字,另一种是阅读的文字。一种通常是变化多端的,声音或舌音,只是一种土话,几乎可以说是很野蛮的,我们可以像野蛮人一样从母亲那里不知不觉地学会的。另一种却是前一种的成熟形态与经验的凝集;如果前一种是母亲的舌音,这一种便是我们的父亲的舌音,是一些经过洗炼的表达方式,它的意义不是耳朵所能听到的,我们必须重新诞生一次,才能学会说它。中世纪的时候,有多少人,能够说希腊语与拉丁语,可是由于出生之地的关系而并没有资格读天才作家用这两种文字来著写的作品,因为这些作品不是用他们知道的那种希腊语和拉丁语来写的,而是用精炼的文学语言写的,他们还没有学会希腊和罗马的那种更高级的方言,那种高级方言所写的书,在他们看来就只是一堆废纸,他们重视的倒是一种廉价的当代文学。可是,当欧洲的好几个国家,得到了他们自己的语文,虽然粗浅,却很明澈,就足够他们兴起他们的文艺了,于是,最初那些学问复兴了,学者们能够从那遥远的地方辨识古代的珍藏了。罗马和希腊的群众不能倾听的作品,经过了几个世纪之后,却有少数学者在阅读它们了,而且现今也只有少数的学者还在阅读它们呢。

1.      We might as well omit to study Nature because she is old.

短语“might as well do something”柯林斯词典上解释为“If you say that you might as well do something, or that you may as well do it, you mean that you will do it although you do not have a strong desire to do it and may even feel slightly unwilling to do it.”其中一个例句是“Anyway, you're here; you might as well stay.(反正你都来了,就在这住下吧)”《现代英汉词典》上释为:“还是…的好;不妨”。我觉得近似说“还不如……吧”“索性/干脆……吧”。

徐译“甚至还不消”是较接近的,而戴译“或许不屑于” 则不妥,因为梭罗的意思是说,有古典书籍在,我们甚至都可以不去研究大自然了,而不是说我们不屑做。

2. To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise        To read well”徐译“读得好书”可以,而戴译“好好读书”则不妥。“well”是“read”的结果,不是读书人的态度。若译“读好书”,人们或许会把“好”字与“书”结合到一起,好像原文是“good books”似的。徐译里的“得”字虽已经说明了是“读得好”,但仍不像王义国译“书读得好”那样能避免“好书”的误会。

  简单的词,如这句里的“well”和“true”反倒是最难译的。

       3. Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.

这句里的 deliberately”和 reservedly应该怎么译?前文里有过live deliberately reservedly”译作“含蓄地”、“缄默地”都欠妥。古典书籍的为什么要含蓄地写作为什么缄默地阅读呢?写作时有意用文学语言而不是随意用口语写成,理解时也不会听到即懂或一览无余地理解。

4. if that is our mother tongue, this is our father tongue

徐译“如果前一种是母亲的舌音,这一种便是我们的父亲的舌音”;戴译“如果说口语是我们的母语,书面语则是我们的父语”。徐译大概想把“mother tongue”里的“舌头”译出来,所以成了“舌音”,其实应当是“母语”。两译相较,戴译要好很多。

5. The crowds of men who merely spoke the Greek and Latin tongues in the Middle Ages were not entitled by the accident of birth to read the works of genius written in those languages;

徐译“中世纪的时候,有多少人,能够说希腊语与拉丁语,可是由于出生之地的关系而并没有资格读天才作家用这两种文字来著写的作品”,好像真有根据出生地来划分读者资格似的;戴译“中世纪时,有无数之人,他们可以流利地讲希腊语和拉丁语,因为身处不同的地域,他们难以读懂天才作家们以这两种文字写出的书卷”好像身处的地域能关系到阅读似的。其实应当是:中世纪时很多人(the crowds of men)能说希腊语、拉丁语,但并不因为他们出生在那些地方就自然能读懂希腊拉丁语经典。换句话说,希腊的老百姓出生在希腊,讲希腊语,却未必能读懂希腊经典。

6. What the Roman and Grecian multitude could not hear, after the lapse of ages a few scholars read, and a few scholars only are still reading it.

文中斜体的“hear”“read”有种对照与强调:古代人听不懂的,多少年过后,人们还能读懂。应该不是“在岁月流逝了数个世纪之后,少数学者已能读懂了”。“还能”与“已能”是两个相反的方向,“还能”是说,过了那么多年,就算不失传也难得有人懂了,竟然还有少数人能读懂。“已能”是说,经过多年探讨,终于有人能懂了。

(戴欢译)我们或许不屑于去研究大自然,因为她已衰老了。好好读书,也就是说,以求真务实的精神去阅读真实的书,这是一种高尚的历练,阅读者的劳神费力已超过了世俗公认的任何历练。这需要一种锻炼,正如运动员要经常锻炼一样,终身不辍,持之以恒。书是务必要谨慎而又缄默地去阅读的,这与著书立说是同一种态度。

即便你所讲的语言与原著相同,这仍是不够的,因为口语与书面语之间有着明显的差异,一种是听说的语言,一种是阅读的语言。口语通常是说过即逝的,他是一种声音或舌音,是一种土语,几乎可说是很粗野的。我们能像野蛮人一样,从母亲那里下意识地学会口语。书面语则是口语的成熟和精炼的表达;如果说口语是我们的母语,书面语则是我们的父语,他谨慎而精细的含义表达,并非听觉所能感触,我们必定要再次降生人世,从头学起。

中世纪时,有无数之人,他们可以流利地讲希腊语和拉丁语,因为身处不同的地域,他们难以读懂天才作家们以这两种文字写出的书卷,这些书卷并非以他们所熟知的希腊语或拉丁语,而是以精炼的文学语言写成。他们没有学过希腊和罗马的那种更高一级的方言,此种语言所写的书卷在他们眼中不啻是一堆废纸,他们对一种低廉的当代文学倒能爱不释手。但是,当欧洲的几个国家拥有了他们自己的文字,虽说不够成熟但也表达无碍时,他们的文艺便足以复兴了;随之而来的就是知识的复兴,学者们能够识别远古的传世佳作了。罗马和希腊的民众当时难以听懂的作品,在岁月流逝了数个世纪之后,少数学者已能读懂了,如今也只剩几个学者在研读这些作品了。

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