2012年4月6日 星期五

文言譯外國小說

讀中學時的中國文學課有一篇選文,是民國初年北京大學校長蔡元培的「答林琴南書」,逐一反駁林琴南來信反對北大教白話文的論點。

林琴南就是林紓,最早把外國小說翻譯為中文的人。

還是清朝覆亡之前的事呢,他從1898年 到1925年,一共翻了近200本,平均一兩個月就出一本----這也是因為大受讀者歡迎,銷量奇佳,因應市場的需要了。

許多名著,如David Copperfield(塊肉餘生錄), Ivanhoe(撒克遜劫後英雄略), Robinson Crusoe(魯濱孫漂流記), Uncle Tom's Cabin(黑奴籲天錄).....都是由他介紹給中國人的,不少譯名都成為經典,神探「福爾摩斯」就是他的傑作,後來其他人的重譯版本也要沿用。


林紓是桐城派的古文家(聽說還是武林高手),文字功力之高不在話下。大師級的周作人和錢鍾書,都讚他的翻譯小說好看,作為引進外國名著的「媒」,功不可沒。周作人與乃兄魯迅仿其形式出過一本「域外小說集」。錢鍾書在其「七綴集」中有一章專論「林紓的翻譯」,書我有,篇幅太長,不掃描出來了。


但他是不懂外文的,「翻譯」全靠人看書口述其意,由他在心中消化了,再用他的生花妙筆寫出來。林譯小說好看歸好看,口述的人的外文功力如何,能否傳情達意,有沒有遇到難明之處略去不述,又是另一個問題了。而且一個人譯得那麼快那麼多,難免有些會是粗製濫造的了。


現在就把「黑奴籲天錄」(全文)的第一章頭幾段貼出來,讓大家評比一下:

Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P----, in Kentucky. There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness.
美國硜脫溝省交春垂二月,猶陰寒逼人。時有二人對酌,旁無僮廝雜侍。

For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, two  gentlemen . One of the parties, however, when critically examined, did not seem, strictly speaking, to come under the species. He was a short, thick-set man, with coarse, commonplace features, and that swaggering air of pretension which marks a low man who is trying to elbow his way upward in the world. He was much over-dressed, in a gaudy vest of many colors, a blue neckerchief, bedropped gayly with yellow spots, and arranged with a flaunting tie, quite in keeping with the general air of the man. His hands, large and coarse, were plentifully bedecked with rings; and he wore a heavy gold watch-chain, with a bundle of seals of portentous size, and a great variety of colors, attached to it,--which, in the ardor of conversation, he was in the habit of flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction. His conversation was in free and easy defiance of Murray's Grammar, and was garnished at convenient intervals with various profane expressions, which not even the desire to be graphic in our account shall induce us to transcribe.
此二人者,性情相貌大復不類。其一人獰醜,名曰海留,衣服華好,御金戒指一,鑲以精鑽,又佩一金表。狀似素封,而談吐鄙穢,近於傖荒。

His companion, Mr. Shelby, had the appearance of a gentleman; and the arrangements of the house, and the general air of the housekeeping, indicated easy, and even opulent circumstances. As we before stated, the two were in the midst of an earnest conversation.
其一人文秀,家亦少康,名解而培。

"That is the way I should arrange the matter," said Mr. Shelby.
解而培謂海留曰:「凡今天下之習貿遷者,能如我存心,斯得矣!」

"I can't make trade that way--I positively can't, Mr. Shelby," said the other, holding up a glass of wine between his eye and the light.
海留曰:「我之宗旨萬不如君!」言已,自引巨觥。

"Why, the fact is, Haley, Tom is an uncommon fellow; he is certainly worth that sum anywhere,--steady, honest, capable, manages my whole farm like a clock."
解而培曰:「吾遣吾奴湯姆與爾。其人絕願愨,屬以事,匪不如志。今既屬君,應多予吾值。」

"You mean honest, as niggers go," said Haley, helping himself to a glass of brandy.
海留曰:「天下之奴,安有精品。君言毋乃過耶!」因又引一觴。

"No; I mean, really, Tom is a good, steady, sensible, pious fellow. He got religion at a camp-meeting, four years ago; and I believe he really did get it. I've trusted him, since then, with everything I have,--money, house, horses,--and let him come and go round the country; and I always found him true and square in everything."
解而培曰:「此奴事我久,凡吾物產,下逮牛馬,悉竭忠佐我,非常奴也。」

"Some folks don't believe there is pious niggers Shelby," said Haley,
with a candid flourish of his hand, "but  I do . I had a fellow, now,
in this yer last lot I took to Orleans--'t was as good as a meetin, now,
really, to hear that critter pray; and he was quite gentle and quiet
like. He fetched me a good sum, too, for I bought him cheap of a man
that was 'bliged to sell out; so I realized six hundred on him. Yes, I
consider religion a valeyable thing in a nigger, when it's the genuine
article, and no mistake."
海留無語,良久曰:「奴固不必盡良,然間有良者,君言或不誣。」


(文章允許轉貼,請具作者名字:梁煥松)

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11 則留言:

  1. I am not fully understand the chinese translation, seems like the number of words is much less than the original english version.

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  2. 撮要重寫。
    有時就加料「補足其意」。
    錢鍾書說他有時估得中,做得好。那真是異數了。

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  3. Raymond上午9:38

    看林紓的翻譯,當作看古文便可。

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    1. 多謝介紹林紓,但不知道在近五十年有沒有一些香港或台灣出版的由中文翻譯英文的non fiction好書介紹.我手上有一本锺尚志教授寫[刀下留人]就是一本幾有意思的介紹他自己在香港及PNG的工作故事.真好想能找一些巳前香港人用中文出版後又翻譯英文(要好有英式英文)書來收藏.

      PNG Sammy

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    2. 當然可以, 我特別推薦
      60年代美國新聞處在香港發行的「今日世界」雜誌的「美國文庫」中譯書,由名家執筆,前文
      http://chrisleung1954.blogspot.com.au/2009/07/blog-post_7383.html
      另外就是同期的中文版「讀者文摘」,每期例有中英對照文章一篇,是顯露功夫的力作。
      這些書,在舊書店見到,不用想,掃啦!
      「中譯英」的選擇比「英譯中」的選擇少得多。張振玉的「譯學概論」和錢歌川的「翻譯的技巧」裡有很多引例。
      大師著作,有錢鍾書英譯的毛澤東選集。

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  5. 我覺得林琴南的翻譯比原文更具有咀嚼性,同原文比較,譯文輕身得多,又唔臃腫。當然,中文要學好,先容易體會得到林生的譯文精髓。比起宜家求其翻譯,直譯好得多。 任何事都冇完美可言,林先生嘅弱點大概系翻譯幽默的句子,我無法想像點樣用文言文點翻譯引人發笑D句子?

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    1. 錢大師說,林譯有些幽默文筆也很高超的。

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  6. 星宿老怪上午7:04

    當我是「小學雞」時,曾閱林琴南翻譯的「福爾摩斯」多次﹔初時看不明他的文言文體,亦不識林老之鼎鼎大名,只當是坊間的雜書而已。上中學後,從老師的介紹,方知林老譯書的高超;又把書挖出來,耐着性子看完;那時卻看得比較明白了。此後也間中重閱數次,直至後來於多次搬家中失去此書。此時說起也有些懷念呢!

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    1. 現在也很難找了啦。

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