翻译辨误 | kick 不一定要用脚

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原文:He kicked down the racing car at the first bend.

  • 原译:他在第一个弯道把赛车踢了下去。

辨析:

kick的基本意思是“踢”,把kick down理解为“踢下去”也是有道理的,如:He kicked down the blanket.(他把毯子踢了下去。)但是英语里有许多习语,其意思常常是从字面上推导不出来的。第4版的Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English给idiom下的定义就是:a group of words that has a special meaning that is different from the ordinary meaning of each separate word. 本句的原译让人弄不明白,他怎么踢得动一辆汽车,又从哪里踢下去?正如A Dictionary of American Idioms前言开头说的:If you understand every word in a text and still fail to grasp what the text is all about, chances are you are having troubles with idioms. 这一句里的kick down就是一个idiom,其意思是“把车换到低挡”,即“减低车速”,所以原句的意思是:他在第一个弯道换到了低挡。这当然是用手而不是用脚完成的。

其实,英语中含有kick的成语很多,很多是kick加上一个很短的副词或介词构成的。以下成语有时可指字面本来意思,有的有几个意思,这里只举最常用的意思:

  • kick against 不喜欢,抱怨,反对:You'll only make yourself feel worse if you kick against your ill luck—you must learn to accept it.(如果你抱怨自己运气不佳,只会使自己更难受,你必须学会认命。)
  • kick around 1. 四处游荡:He kicked around for several months after being demobbed and didn't find a job until the next year.(他退伍之后有几个月什么也不干,到第二年才找了个工作。)2. 粗暴地待人:John always gets angry when he sees others kick around the little boy.(看到别人欺负那个小男孩,汤姆总是很生气。)
  • kick back 给回扣。所给的“回扣”称之为kickback(名词)。
  • kick in 开始:The payments on the new flat won't kick in until February.(买房的钱要到2月份才开始付。)
  • kick off 开始。此习语来自足球比赛时的开球,并有名词形式kickoff: They had a good kickoff.(他们开局不错。)
  • kick on 开始运转。
  • kick out 开除。由“踢出去”引申出来,很形象。
  • kick over 1. 发动(引擎等)2. 付钱:The gang forced all the shop-keepers on the block to kick over 1,000 yuan a week for so called protection.(那帮歹徒强迫该街区所有商店每周交1000元所谓的“保护费”。)
  • kick up 发作:John had eaten too much and his stomach started to kick up.(约翰吃得太多,肚子开始不舒服了。)

以上习语中的kick大多数不需要用脚。

(本文摘自《翻译辨误》,传送门:京东正版购买链接

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