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许渊冲:创新性翻译的真、善、美原则(下)

2018-02-13 17:25     娱乐     来自:21世纪英语传媒

本文通过《论语》、《诗经》及部分唐诗的翻译实例证明,在翻译中应坚持创新性翻译原则,即在翻译文学作品时,“真”是必要条件,而“美”是充分条件。翻译中的“真”虽然重要,但翻译文学作品时应在保证“真”的基础上,让译作与原作同样“美”,因为文学作品本身应当是一件“美”的事物。


(接上期)

No less ignorant and arrogant is Stephen Owen, professor at an American university, who also says something like Graham in the world of English published in March 2015. “China is wasting money in publishing Chinese classics translated into English by Chinese translators,” said Owen in that monthly periodical, p. 108, “for no one will read these versions of Chinese translators.” Is Owen right in his conclusion? 



Let us compare two versions of Li Bai’s poem Drinking Alone under the Moon, one translated by Owen and the other by a Chinese translator. One verse in the poem reads as follows: 行乐(make merry)须(must be)及春(in spring), Owen’s version reads as follows:


The joy I find will surely last till spring.


According to Owen, the poet should find joy or make merry before spring and not in spring. Is this the original idea? No. Now let us read the version of the Chinese translator:


(And) make merry before spring’s spent away.


The Chinese translator has corrected the mistake made by Owen. How dare he say that no one will read the Chinese version? Even if he has made no mistake in his translation, can he express the original idea better than a Chinese translator? Let us read another example in the same poem:



(1) 举(raise)杯(cup)邀(invite)明(bright)月(moon),对(face)影(shadow)成(become)三(three)人(men)。


(2) (Owen)

And lift cup to bright moon, ask it to join me,

Then face my shadow and we become three.


(3)(中译)

I raise the cup to invite the Moon who blends

Her light with my Shadow and we’re three friends.


A Chinese critic said: All scenic expressions in classic Chinese poetry are lyrical. Then we may say Owen’s version is scenic for it only describes the poet drinking under the moon, but the Chinese version is lyrical for it describes the drunken poet who sees the Moon blending her light with his Shadow. Here we see the Chinese translator excels Owen in expressing the same idea even in Owen’s mother tongue, even when Owen has made no mistake. What if his version is doubtful? Let us cite a third example in the same poem:


(1)永(ever)结(make)无(no)情(feeling)游(travel),相期(expect to meet)邈(far)云(cloud)汉(river)。


(2) (Owen)

Let us join in travels beyond human feelings,

And plan to meet far in the river of stars.


(3) (中译)

Our friendship will outshine all earthly love:

Next time we’ll meet beyond the stars above.


Again Owen’s expressions are scenic while those used by the Chinese are lyrical. Can Owen say that scenic expressions are better than lyrical expressions?


In short, Graham and Owen cannot well translate classical Chinese poetry into English because they do not know how to solve the contradition between sense and word, idea and form, or between science and art, truth and beauty, scenic expression and lyrical expression. According to the theory of creative translation, to be truthful or faithful is the necessary condition, while to be beautiful is the sufficient condition.


That is to say, it is necessary for the translation to be faithful to the original. If unfaithful, it cannot be called a translation. But it is not sufficient for literary translation to be faithful only, for a literary work must be a thing of beauty, so a literary translation must be as beautiful as the original, and to be beautiful is the sufficient condition for literary translation.


That is why the sense of the Chinese language may go beyond the word, for the Chinese is more artistic than scientific. The scenic expression is scientific and objective, while the lyrical expression is artistic and subjective. Science cannot go beyond the realm of necessity, but art may enter the realm of freedom. That is the reason why the principle of creative translation surpasses the principle of equivalence.



Finally I will sum up the contradiction between idea and form in imitation of the first chapter of the Old Master’s Laws Divine and Human.


Translation is possible, it is not transliteration.


Forget the original form, get the original idea!


Getting the idea, you understand the original;


Forgetting the form, you express the idea.


Be true to the idea common to two languages;


Be free from the form peculiar to the original!


Idea and form are two sides of one thing.


Get the common idea, forget the peculiar form:


That is the way of literary translation.


(连载完)

内容来源:《21世纪英语教育》287期。

图片来源:网络。

 

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