翻译探究 | 老字号翻译成time-honored brand对吗?

几个在线词典对time-honored的解释如下:

1. Cambridge Dictionary

A time-honoured tradition, practice, or method is respected because it has been done or used in the same way for many years:
The developers dealt with the problem in the time-honoured fashion/way, burying the industrial waste in landfill sites.

2. Oxford Dictionary

(of a custom or tradition) respected or valued because it has existed for a long time
‘the eldest son was named, in time-honoured fashion, after his father’
‘the beer is still brewed in the time-honoured way’

3. ldoce Online

A time-honoured method or custom is one that has existed for a long time.
Sharon became involved with music in the time-honoured fashion – through her family.

4. Collins Dictionary

A time-honored tradition or way of doing something is one that has been used and respected for a very long time.
Raising the money is done in the usual time-honored ways – college events, garage sales, and the like. 

5. Macmillan Dictionary

done in the same way for a very long time
a time-honored custom/method/procedure  

这五个解释均明确说明time-honored指传统或行为,与brand搭配可能并非最佳。另外值得考虑的一点是第3和第5条释义没有提尊重,只说历史悠久就可以用time-honored,这无疑拉低了“老字号”的门槛。需要注意的是前五个解释均来自英国词典品牌(剑桥、牛津、朗文、柯林斯、麦克米伦),对词语的解释可能会倾向于英式英语习惯

有的词典并没有把time-honored限定为传统和行为。看一下www.thefreedictionary.com网站上对time-honored引用的两个解释:

Respected or adhered to because of age or   age-old observance.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition)

如果选用respected because of age的释义,time-honored brand确实站得住脚。

Adhering to beliefs or practices approved by authority or tradition.(The American Heritage® Roget’s Thesaurus)

这个解释同样支持time-honored brand的用法。

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary对time-honored的解释也与以上两者近似,尽管示例仍然使用了“custom”:revered or respected because of long observance or continuance: a time-honored custom。

美国英语词典中最权威的Merriam-Webster对time-honored的释义为:honored because of age or long usage <time-honored traditions>。

美国的英语词典似乎都对time-honored的解释更为宽泛,虽然引用的示例仍然使用了custom或traditions。

看来大西洋两岸对于time-honored的用法存在差异,而即使在对其定义更为宽泛的美国,这个词似乎也和传统、习俗搭配最自然。

这样来看不如换一个词。笔者认为,venerable brand比time-honored brand搭配更为自然,其中venerable意为:old and respected: valued and respected because of old age, long use, etc。

谷歌搜索证明境外主流商业新闻网站更偏爱“venerable brand”。

华尔街日报:

老字号翻译成time-honored brand对吗?

老字号翻译成time-honored brand对吗?

福布斯:

老字号翻译成time-honored brand对吗?

老字号翻译成time-honored brand对吗?

金融时报:

老字号翻译成time-honored brand对吗?

老字号翻译成time-honored brand对吗?

经济学人:

老字号翻译成time-honored brand对吗?

老字号翻译成time-honored brand对吗?

以上对比清晰显示,无论是结果的数量还是结果质量,“venerable brand”都要远高于“time-honored brand”。

无论从词义和使用上来看,venerable brand都要优于time-honored brand。这里涉及的不是绝对的对与错,而是哪个更常见,因此也很可能更自然、更地道。

注:文中词语英文解释除说明外均来自Merriam-Webster。

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