翻译研究 |《乡愁》英译浅析

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翻译研究 |《乡愁》英译浅析

台湾著名诗人余光中14日病逝,其代表作《乡愁》享誉华人世界。网上找到本诗的两个英文译本,各有一些问题。

原文:

小时候/乡愁是一枚小小的邮票/我在这头/母亲在那头
长大后/乡愁是一张窄窄的船票/我在这头/新娘在那头
后来啊/乡愁是一方矮矮的坟墓/我在外头/母亲在里头
而现在/乡愁是一湾浅浅的海峡/我在这头/大陆在那头

Homesick
(赵俊华译)

As a boy,
I was homesick for a tiny stamp,
—I was here,
Mom lived alone over there.

When grow up,
I was homesick for a small ship ticket.
—I was here,
My bride remained over there.

Later on,
I was homesick for a little tomb.
—I was here,
Mother rested over there.

And to-day,
I am homesick for a shallow strait,
—I am here,
The Mainland lies over there.

首先,原文“母亲在那头”、“新娘在那头”、“母亲在里头”和“大陆在那头”表述简洁,与“我在这头”对仗工整。译文将“在那头”和“在里头”分别处理为“lived alone”、“remained”、“rested”和“lies”,没有原文规整,比较繁乱。此外,译文有一些文字问题,比如“When grow up”应为“When grown up”;“a small ship ticket”除了“窄窄的船票”,还可理解为用来乘坐小船的票;“我在外头”仍被译为了“I was here”,即“我在这里”。

Nostalgia
(杨钟琰译)

When I was a child,
Nostalgia seemed a small stamp:
“Here am I
and there my mother.”

Then I was a grown-up,
Nostalgia became a traveling ticket:
“Here am I
And there my bride.”

During the later years
Nostalgia turned to be a graveyard:
“Here am I
And yonder my mother.”

And now at present
Nostalgia looms large to be a channel:
“Here am I
and yonder my Continent!”

这一版与前一版的区别首先是将“乡愁”译为了“nostalgia”,而非“homesick”。“乡愁”译为“homesick”没有问题。Nostalgia这个词与homesick有些区别,前者指较为强烈、甚至影响健康的思乡之情

Originally in reference to the Swiss and said to be peculiar to them and often fatal, whether by its own action or in combination with wounds or disease. By 1830s the word was used of any intense homesickness: that of sailors, convicts,  African slaves.

In the first two years of the war, there were reported 2588 cases of nostalgiaand 13 deathsfrom this cause. These numbers scarcely express the real extent to which nostalgia influenced thesickness and mortality of the army.

(https://www.etymonline.com/word/nostalgia)

同时,nostalgia比homesick的含义更广泛,渴求的不仅仅是家乡,同时渴求的色彩也更加强烈一些,浪漫色彩更浓一些。根据《韦氏词典》,nostalgia意为:翻译研究 |《乡愁》英译浅析

因此,文学色彩更浓的nostalgia似乎比homesick更适合翻译这里的“乡愁”二字。除了和第一版一样把“我在外头”翻译成“Here am I”外,这一版译文还有其他一些文字问题:

“乡愁是一枚小小的邮票”被译成了“乡愁似乎是一枚小小的邮票”;“船票”被译为“travelling ticket”,语义模糊了;“乡愁是一方矮矮的坟墓”本指坟墓承托乡愁,却被译为乡愁真的变成了一个坟墓(Nostalgia turned to be agraveyard);“And now at present”中的now与at present重复;“乡愁是一湾浅浅的海峡”中的“浅浅的海峡”被放大了,成了“loom large”,不但失去了原文的美感,更重要的是失去了原文海峡虽浅,但难以跨越的意思;最后,“大陆”译成“Continent”也不妥当,这里的“大陆”应该就是中国大陆,即Chinese Mainland,译成Continent不知是指哪个大洲。

笔者也尝试翻译了一下这首诗,向余光中先生致敬:

小时候/乡愁是一枚小小的邮票/我在这头/母亲在那头
长大后/乡愁是一张窄窄的船票/我在这头/新娘在那头
后来啊/乡愁是一方矮矮的坟墓/我在外头/母亲在里头
而现在/乡愁是一湾浅浅的海峡/我在这头/大陆在那头

Nostalgia

In my childhood
nostalgia was a small stamp.
I was at one end,
mom the other.

When grown-up
nostalgia was a slip of a ship ticket.
I was at one end,
my bride the other.

Later
nostalgia became a squat tomb.
I was on one side,
my mom the other.

And now
nostalgia is a shallow strait.
I am at one end,
the Mainland the other.

(中国翻译研究院)

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