《中国关键词》英译实践探微

来源: 《中国翻译》

蔡力坚 美国明德大学蒙特雷国际研究学院   杨平 中国翻译研究院 / 中国翻译协会

摘要:“中国关键词”多语信息传播平台由中国外文局、中国翻译协会、中国翻译研究院共同创建。鉴于此项目的重要性,有必要对政治话语特别是关键概念翻译的实践及理论问题进一步深入讨论。本文仅涉及中英翻译。本文强调翻译应既忠实原文,又注意向读者传递信息的需要。所谓忠实,是指忠实于原文核心思想内涵,而非词语的表面意思。忠实性要求确保基本概念准确,确保信息完整准确,在内在含义上做到不增不减。为了有效传递信息,笔者不认同强行将中文语言特点移植到译文里的做法,而强调需要尊重目标语的习惯,包括英语话语的形合性质、不同于中文的搭配及句型、实现行文连贯的方式及避免不必要的重复等等。

关键词:政治话语;基本概念;忠实性;可读性;语言规范

中图分类号:H059 文献标识码:A 文章编号:1000-873X(2017)02-0093-012

《中国关键词》多语对外传播平台作为中国外文局、中国翻译研究院承担的国家项目,自2014年立项实施以来,经过短短两年多的努力,已构建起集图书期刊、互联网、移动社交媒体为一体的中国特色政治话语多语种、多媒体、多形态的对外传播平台,成为向国际社会解读、阐释当代中国发展理念、发展道路、内外政策、思想文化核心话语的窗口,受到国内外受众的广泛关注和好评。项目初见成效,是各方专家和相关机构部门共同努力和精心打造的结果。仅从词条的外文翻译来说,项目汇聚国内对外传播翻译实践领域的专家及充分了解中国国情的外籍专家,制定了翻译原则和规范,严格按照四个流程即:翻译、外籍专家改稿、核改稿、审定稿来操作。英文词条除经过上述流程外,还组织国内外资深专家进行了专题研讨。笔者直接参与了该项目的组织实施和英文词条的翻译及审改稿工作,本文结合《中国关键词》词条英译案例和专题研讨的成果,对政治文献的英译实践进行微观探讨。

一、忠实于原文核心思想内涵

按照项目定位,《中国关键词》收录的是当代中国发展理念、发展道路、内外政策、思想文化的核心话语,体现了党和国家的大政方针政策。因此,在翻译过程中必须首先要准确传达词条的基本概念与核心思想内涵,确保信息完整准确。

(一)确保基本概念准确

《中国关键词》内容主要包括词条术语和对该词条术语产生的背景及词条核心思想要义的解释,词条术语是关键词的基本构成。因此,在翻译过程中首先要准确表达这些术语的基本概念和内涵。试举几例:

(1)“小康”

自从建设小康社会的概念提出以来,“小康社会”的译法已有多种,最常见的也许是a moderately prosperous society。我们不赞成这种译法。虽然prosperous意为successful in material terms,而且我们承认该词语也用来描述目前所经历的成功,但需要指出的是,人们谈论prosperous时经常着眼于未来。究其词源,该词产生于拉丁字prosperus,其含义是doing well。来自词源的这一本意至今仍然是该词语的主要含义。我们说某个国家、某个社会、某个地区或某个家庭prosperous,就是说它们doing well,不一定意味着它们现在就很富裕或已达到某种富裕的水平,而是说目前情况很好,蒸蒸日上,前景可观。有鉴于此,prosperous可用来描述任何一种发展良好的状态,而无论现有发展程度或富裕程度为何。

在prosperous前面加上一个修饰词moderately,就更值得商榷了,那就意味着not doing terribly well。Prosperous的近义词是thriving、flourishing、expanding、booming等等。Moderately prosperous也就是not so prosperous或somewhat thriving。在“小康”概念提出以来,中国经济一直蓬勃向上,一直prosperous, 按照“小康”的这一译法,把建设一个不那么繁荣的社会作为发展的目标,即从繁荣走向“不那么繁荣”,国外受众读到这种表述,肯定难以理解和产生歧义。

其实,所谓小康,是有客观标准的。1991年国家统计与计划、财政、卫生、教育等12个部门的研究人员组成的课题组,按照中央、国务院提出的小康社会的内涵确定了16个基本检测值。这16个指标涉及人均国内生产总值、城镇人均可支配收入、农民人均纯收入等等。这些都是客观标准,反映的不是发展的势头,而是发展的结果。

因此,我们认为,用a moderately well-off society来表示“小康社会”是比较恰当的。Prosperous与well-off的区别主要有以下几点:1)prosperous一般带有很大的相对性和主观性,而well-off可以具有绝对性和客观性;2)prosperous反映过程(势头、前景),而well-off反映结果(实际状况)。还有更重要的一点是,用moderately修饰prosperous,限定了发展的势头,而用moderately修饰well-off,只限定了“康”的程度,而这正是“小康”的本意。

(2)“依法治国”与“法治建设”

“依法治国”,有人将其译成governing the country in accordance with the law,其他译法还有:rule according to the law、law-based governance等等。应该承认,与把“小康”译成moderately prosperous的情况不同,以上译法与原文内涵不一定有特别大的偏离。但所有这些译法都带有一种connotation,即此前的做法都是govern/rule not according to the law。不过,人们始终可以对某一概念加以进一步解释,使其含义更加明确。我们在此想问的问题是,在英语里已有对应概念(the rule of law)的情况下,我们究竟有没有必要制造新概念?

从“依法治国”的词语组合来看,就是在“法治”的基础上增加两字“依”和“国”,把两字改为四字(这在酷爱四字结构的中文里有时是出于文字表达的需要)应该在实质内涵上没有发生变化。当然,可以认为加上“国”字后便强调了国家层面,但要指出的是,我们谈论法治问题时本来就是谈国家层面的问题,而且英语里的the rule of law一般也指国家层面的情况。

再来看the rule of law,词典(如dictionary.com)对the rule of law的解释是,the principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced; the principle of government by law。维基百科的解释是:The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials。这与中文里“法治”或“依法治国”的概念基本相同。

事实上,关于the rule of law,有许多不同的定义,大家有不同的解释。美国律师协会(American Bar Association)也承认,法治这个术语很常用,但很难定义(The rule of law is a term that is often used but difficult to define)(见https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/publiced/features/Part1DialogueROL.authcheckdam.pdf)。虽然the rule of law是一个普遍性概念,世界各国在这方面都有自己特定的做法。我国主张的“法治”在内涵上必然也不完全等于某些其他的the rule of law的概念。于是,有人认为中文的“法治”与the rule of law有别,应该用别的术语来表达。照此说法,世界各国都推行相互有别的the rule of law,是否就意味着世界上需要有无数种特定术语来描述这个概念?必须承认,尽管中文的“法治”与关于the rule of law的某些定义有别,但共性是主要的,差别是次要的。

关于“法治建设”,有人将其译成legal construction,这种字面机械对应翻译是比较离谱的。“XX建设”在中文里常用,但在翻译成英文时,多数情况下需要根据上下文语境灵活处理。前面讨论过,“法治”可译成the rule of law,“法治建设”,我们认为promoting the rule of law应是一种比较恰当的选择,至少国外受众能够读懂和理解。

(3)“命运共同体”

“命运共同体”官方最早提供的译文是a community of common destiny。Destiny一词的使用似乎带有一种宿命观,因为destiny is the force that controls what happens in the future。实际上,“命运共同体”是指在追求本国利益时兼顾他国合理关切,在谋求本国发展中促进各国共同发展。按照这一理解,我们认为a community with a shared future是比较恰当的译法。后来,中国驻联合国代表团采纳了这种译法,要求联合国口译部门将“命运共同体”改译为a community with a shared future。

(4)“民族复兴”

一种常见的译法是rejuvenation of the nation。这种译法虽然在内涵上应该说没有错,但rejuvenation的最基本的含义的making ... look or feel younger, 最通常是用于化妆品护肤品广告。这里谈的是民族复兴,似乎还是避免使用这样的词为上策。我们认为用national renewal也许合适一些。

(5)“从要素驱动转向创新驱动”

有人将“从要素驱动转向创新驱动”译成transition from a low-skilled economy to one driven by innovation。我们觉得这种译法不够确切,因为要素驱动是指主要依靠各种生产要素的投入(如土地、资源、劳动力等等)来推动经济增长。而仅仅用low-skilled不能涵盖各种要素。考虑到“要素驱动”这一术语本身译自英文factor-driven,而且在相关中文语境里使用时的含义仍然与factor-driven相当,故应该以factor-driven来表示。

(二)确保信息完整准确

政治文献的翻译无疑要讲政治,在翻译过程中译者一定要在吃透原文确切含义的基础上选用最恰当的英文词语,或进行适当调整和变通,以确保原文信息能够完整、准确地表达出来,简单、机械、随意从字典里选取一个词或短语,仅从字面上对号入座肯定是不行的。

1.权力不论大小,只要不受制约和监督,都可能被滥用。

【原译】Any power, more or less, can be misused if it is not subject to constraints and oversight.

译文里的more or less并没有反映权力的大小,而只能作为副词短语修饰动词misuse,意思是to some extent,那就完全偏离原文的意思。有的人可能会想到用big or small来表示,那也不恰当,如果用any power, big or small,那可以被理解是“任何国家,无论大小”。因此,对于这里的(权力)大小,我们不宜从字面上考虑。

【改译】Power is susceptible to abuse at all levels if it is not subject to constraints and oversight.

2.中国将力争到2020年,基本形成适应创新驱动发展要求的制度环境和政策法律体系,为进入创新型国家行列提供有力保障。

【原译】By 2020 China aims to create an institution, a legal system and a set of policies to guarantee that it becomes one of the innovative countries in the world.

从字面上看,译文似乎包含了原文的所有要素,但如果稍加注意,就会发现有多处不确切。首先,create an institution的意思是“设立一个机构”,而原文是“形成……制度环境”。译文里谈的是建立一个具体的实体,而原文含义是形成一套体系,两者差别甚大。其次,从表面来看,becomes one of the innovative countries in the world相当于“进入创新型国家行列”,因为innovative countries似乎就是“创新型国家”。但是,两者在程度上是很不一样的,innovative countries普普通通,任何国家都可以有此称号,因为任何国家无论总体创新水平多么落后,都必然在某些方面具有创新性。而“创新型国家”虽然表面上没有以最高级显示,但真正含义却是:one of the world抯 most innovative countries。

【改译】China seeks to have in place by 2020 an institutional, legal and policy framework for innovation-driven development so as to provide a solid basis to put China on track to become one of the world抯 most innovative countries.

3. 2013年6月,中国国家主席习近平与美国总统奥巴马在安纳伯格庄园会晤,提出共同努力构建中美新型大国关系。关于中美新型大国关系的内涵,习主席在会晤中用三句话作了概括:一是不冲突、不对抗,二是相互尊重,三是合作共赢。不冲突对抗,是构建中美新型大国关系的必要前提。相互尊重,是构建中美新型大国关系的基本原则。合作共赢,是中美构建新型大国关系的必由之路。

【原译】In June 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping held meetings with United States President Barack Obama at the Annenberg Retreat in California, where he put forth the proposal of constructing a new model of major power relations between the two countries. Xi summarized the connotations of the new relationship model in three phrases during the meetings: no conflict and no confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation. “No conflict and no confrontation” is a prerequisite of the new model of major power relations between the two countries; “mutual respect” is the basic principle for this new model; and “win-win cooperation” is the only way to turn this vision into a reality.

译文的第一个问题是“内涵”的所谓对应词connotations有误。这可能是一个普遍性的误解,许多人都把“内涵”译成connotations,许多正式文件的官方译文里也是这样译的。在不少人看来这是“铁定”的译法。但必须指出,这是错误的译法。所谓connotation是指the associated or secondary meaning of an expression,也就是“弦外之音”,而不是“内涵”。修改后的译文里没有以“内涵”的名词形式直译,而是以动词形式(boils down to)加以表示。在不少情况下,我们也可以用the essential meaning等来表示“内涵”。例如:

“企业家精神”成为人们挂在嘴边里的一个概念,也就是最近这十几年当中的事。“企业家精神”的内涵是对机会的抓取,对于创新的热情,以及对冒险的渴望。

这句话可译成:

“Entrepreneurial spirit” has become a catchphrase only in the past ten or more years. Its essence manifests itself in a readiness to seize a chance, an enthusiasm for innovation, and an eagerness to take risks.

例3译文的第二个问题应该属于本文第二部分关于语言表达的问题,但因为出现在此处,也附带加以讨论。原文里先是谈到三点(不冲突、不对抗;相互尊重;合作共赢),紧接着对这三点分别加以解释。中文这种行文安排是可行的,因为中文不怕重复,但在译文里照搬原文结构,就会过分罗嗦重复,因此上策是将后面的分别解释与前面的三点合并处理,从而避免不必要的重复。

【改译】Meeting with President Barack Obama of the United States at the Annenberg Retreat in California in June 2013, President Xi Jinping of China proposed building a new model of major-country relations. This new model, in his words, boils down to three principles: (a) no conflict or confrontation, which is a prerequisite; (b) mutual respect, which provides the basis for healthy major-country relations; and (c) mutually beneficial cooperation, which provides the means to turn this vision into a reality.

4.在学有所教、劳有所得、病有所医、老有所养、住有所居上持续取得新进展。

【原译】The CPC needs to make steady progress in ensuring that those wanting education can receive it, those needing jobs can find them, those requiring medical care can enjoy it, those looking for affordable housing can find it, and the old people cared for.

译者真的想译出其中的每一个字,结果这个译文的十分明确的言外之意(connotation)就是those who do not want education will not receive it; those who do not need jobs cannot find them; those who do not ask for medical care will not enjoy it; and those who are not looking for affordable housing will not have it. 中文原文实际上是借助中文表达的特点,把本来可以更简单的说法说得更加生动一些,但这种语言现象在中文里行得通,搬到英语里意思就大变样,就严重偏离原文要旨。而翻译最根本的任务是准确反映原文的真正含义,那就是:

【改译】Efforts should continue to improve access to education, employment, medical services, elderly care, and affordable housing.

5.实行民主集中制,还要求“尊重多数,保护少数”,反对无政府主义的“大民主”,反对把个人意志凌驾于集体之上。

【原译】Democratic centralism also calls for respecting the majority while protecting the minority, opposes anarchic 揼reater democracy?and is against putting one抯 will above that of the collective.

“尊重多数,保护少数”的本意是指尊重多数人的意见,保护少数人的权利,在英语里只说respecting the majority while protecting the minority是不够全面的。另外,putting one抯 will above that of the collective 中的one抯指什么是不清楚的,the collective指什么也是不清楚的(可以指某个合作社)。因此, “把个人意志凌驾于集体之上”的含义没有得到确切反映。

【改译】Democratic centralism also calls for respecting the opinions of the majority while protecting minority rights. It rejects anarchic democracy on the one hand and any tendency to allow the will of any individual to override collective wisdom on the other.

6.转变政府职能的核心要义,是要切实做好“放管”结合。“放”是放活,而不是放任;“管”要管好,而不是管死。

【原译】The key for transforming government functions is to strive for a proper balance between delegation and control. “To delegate” is to activate the market, not to let things run loose while “to control” means to exercise appropriate management, not to bring things to stagnation.

译文不准确的一处是 activate the market,那就意味着市场过去是没有投入使用的,activate是启用。另外,称政府要exercise appropriate management的说法也不确切。政府对经济活动的职能是regulation(监管),而不是management。Management是企业的事,是指the organization and coordination of the activities of a business,是具体的日常活动。此外,key for transforming则存在语法问题。

【改译】The key to transforming government functions is a right balance between delegation and the exercise of control. To delegate authorities is meant to inject more vitality into economic activities, rather than embracing an unqualified laissez-faire approach. To exercise control is to ensure that the market functions appropriately, rather than stifling the economy with regulatory overreach.

(三)确切表达成语典故在文献中的实际含义

翻译成语典故主要应考虑三点:一是尽量保留原有典故的形象及寓意,二是尽量确切体现典故在文章中的实际含义,三是尽量使典故的形象及寓意天衣无缝地融入文章论述之中。其中第二点最重要,是压倒一切的,离开这一点,别的就无从谈起。如遇译文实在难以保留典故中的形象,那就只能“忍痛割爱”,放弃典故,着力体现典故中实际想要传递的信息,着力完成第二点任务。不仅是时政翻译,而且在包括文学翻译在内的各类翻译工作中,都会碰到这种情况。有时,硬译典故形象不仅不能为译文增辉,使之更加生动,反而制造多余的噪音,喧宾夺主,严重影响实质信息的传递,结果得不偿失。总之,传递实质信息永远是第一位的。如何在译文里处理成语典故,需根据成语典故在文章中或在特定场合使用时的重要性而定。如果成语典故在文章中举足轻重,那么必须在译文里如实再现其形象及寓意。以下的例子均属这种情况:

(1)“治大国如烹小鲜”

这个成语集体讨论时决定译成:Governing a large state is like cooking a small fish: it must be handled with great care.在单独出现的情况下,似有必要加上补充说明。如果仅仅用了like cooking a small fish,则成语的实质信息并不明确。“如烹小鲜”隐含有“丝毫不敢懈怠,丝毫不敢马虎”的意思,在中国文化里也许不需进一步解释,而译成英语后,like cooking a small fish没有与“谨慎”直接挂钩,补充解释还是必不可少的。不过,在特定上下文里,补充解释可以省略,如:“治大国若烹小鲜”一语出自中国古代思想家老子所著的《道德经》。意思是说治理大国,如同烹煮小鱼,关键在掌握好火候、调和好味道,而不可以不断翻搅。

The adage “governing a large state is like cooking a small fish” came from Daodejing by Laozi, an ancient Chinese thinker. Just as cooking a small fish requires careful heat control, right seasoning, and a minimal amount of stirring, so governing a large state is a delicate balancing act that must be performed with the highest level of care.

(2)“大道至简”

集体讨论的译文是Great truths are always simple。这样翻译也是为了尽量体现典故的原汁原味。具体用法如下:

“大道至简”是中华传统道家哲学学说,道在中国哲学中,是一个重要的概念,表示“终极真理”。此一概念,不单为哲学流派诸子百家所重视,也被宗教流派道教等所使用。“大道至简”的基本含义是,大道理(基本原理、方法和规律)是极其简单的,简单到一两句话就能说明白。

“Great truths are always simple” is an important concept of Daoism and traditional Chinese philosophical thinking. “Great truths” are ultimate truths. This concept not only featured prominently in philosophical works across different traditions, but also was embraced by many religious thinkers. It means that fundamental principles, approaches and guiding rules are invariably straightforward and can be explained very concisely in simple words.

(3)“打铁还需自身硬”

虽然这一成语的含义在英语里本来就有类似的说法,如A good example is the best sermon,但我们还是采用了体现中文成语原有形象的译法:It takes a good blacksmith to make good steel. 这是考虑到保留原有形象在英语里仍然是说得通的,成语的含义也仍然能得到传递。在这种情况下,我们不妨保留原有形象。不过,必要时也可用英语成语加以补充说明。例如:

“打铁还需自身硬”,是中国流传已久的通俗名句,意思就是要从自己做起,以身作则,言传身教,率先垂范。

“It takes a good blacksmith to make good steel” is a popular Chinese adage. It means that only by conducting yourself honorably can you expect others to do the same, or in other words, only a good example can serve as the best sermon.

二、语言表达符合译入语规范和习惯

准确表达原文思想内涵是政治文献翻译的第一要义,但是,在此基础上,还应尽量做到语言表达流畅,符合译入语的语言规范和习惯,以使国外受众更易于阅读、理解和把握文献的思想内涵。对于政治文献的翻译来说, 特别是对于英语非母语的译者来说,这也许是更大的挑战。通过《中国关键词》的翻译实践,我们认为在政治文献翻译过程中,似可在以下几个方面做出努力:

(一)按照英语习惯处理中文特有意合结构

一般认为中文是意合型语言,经常用并列结构,各个成分之间的关系不必在形式上标明,同时形式上并列的成分在意义上经常不一定并列;而相比之下,英语是形合为主的语言,语言各成分之间的关系一般都在形式上标明,意义上不能并列的成分一般不予作为并列关系排列。因此,中文里十分常用的并列结构经常不能照搬到英语里。例如:

1.其目的就是要解放和发展生产力,实现国家现代化,让中国人民富裕起来。

【原译】All this was designed to liberate and develop productive forces, modernize the country and make the Chinese people prosperous.

在以上例子里,中文用了三个动宾词组,表面上看三者是并列关系,似乎我们要做三件不同的事情,而实际上这三件事情相互密不可分。翻译时如果放弃原文的并列结构,能更加有效地传递原文的信息。

【改译】Aimed at dismantling the economic straitjacket and unlocking the growth potential, the reform program put China on a path to modernization and prosperity.

2.市场决定资源配置是市场经济的一般规律,健全社会主义市场经济体制必须遵循这条规律,着力解决市场体系不完善、政府干预过多和监管不到位问题,推动资源配置依据市场机制实现效益最大化和效率最优化。

【原译】 It is a general rule of market economies

that the market determines the allocation of resources. To improve its socialist market economy, China must follow this general rule, establish a robust market, control excessive government intervention, address insufficient government oversight, and ensure that resources are allocated in the marketplace most effectively and efficiently.

中文原文“必须”后面用了三个并列的动宾结构。在第二个动宾结构中,另有三个貌似并列的词组(主谓词组),即“市场体系不完善”、“政府干预过多”和“监管不到位”。由于作者用了“着力解决……问题”的结构来涵盖这三个问题,所以也可以将其视为另外三个并列的动宾结构,即“着力解决市场体系不完善问题”、“着力解决政府干预过多问题”和“着力解决监管不到位问题”。原译文的译者就是这样看待这种结构的,在译文用了五个并列的动宾词组。但在英语里有些成分不宜并列,如 control excessive government intervention和address insufficient government oversight,这两者在意思上是矛盾的。既然是矛盾的,这种矛盾关系在形式上就需要予以反映,需要有转折(以转折符号来显示),而不应以并列形式存在。另外,原文里最后的动宾结构(“推动资源配置依据市场机制实现效益最大化和效率最优化”)虽然表面上看似乎与其他词组并列,实际上可以被看成是前面动作的目的或结果。根据这一分析,我们似乎可翻译如下:

【改译】A general rule embraced by market economies, the preeminence of the market in allocating resources should also be a feature of our socialist market economy. To this end, efforts should include building a robust market, and rolling back excessive government intervention while also addressing insufficient government oversight in some areas, so as to promote the market抯 role in maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency in resource allocation.

3.中国实施创新驱动发展战略,就是要推动以科技创新为核心的全面创新,坚持需求导向和产业化方向,坚持企业在创新中的主体地位,发挥市场在资源配置中的决定性作用和社会主义制度优势,增强科技进步对经济增长的贡献度,形成新的增长动力源泉,推动经济持续健康发展。

【原译】 To implement the strategy of innovation-

driven development, China will promote overall innovation, particularly scientific and technological innovation, remain demand-driven and industrialization-oriented, ensure that enterprises play the principal role in innovation, let the market play the decisive role in allocating resources, and take full advantage of the socialist system. It will enhance the contribution made by scientific and technological advancements to economic growth, create new engines of growth, and sustain sound economic development.

原文在“就是”后面跟着七个并列的动宾结构,译文把前面五个动宾词组改为六个,后面另起一句,但保留原有的最后三个并列的动宾词组。总体来看,译文基本上沿用了原文里众多并列动宾结构的组合方式。但问题是这些动宾词组从实际意义上讲并不都是并列关系,在英语里如此排列不合逻辑。比如,英语里第一个词组(promote overall innovation)与第二个(remain demand-driven)就无法并列,主语都是China,称China will remain demand-driven是说不通的。另外,从意义上来说,take full advantage of the socialist system也不能被视为是与其他事项平行的事项,所以在形式上也不应保持并列关系。在最后部分,虽然原文有三个并列词组,但三者显然也不是并列关系,后面两项应该是对前一项的进一步说明,所以翻译时保持原有结构是不可取的。

【改译】 China抯 innovation-driven development

strategy aims at encouraging innovation in all areas, particularly scientific and technological innovation. Innovation should be demand-driven in response to the needs of industrialization. Businesses are major players in delivering innovation, and the market should play the decisive role in allocating resources. The full potential of our socialist system should be explored. The strategy seeks to enhance the contribution of scientific and technological advances to economic growth, which would serve as a new growth driver and help sustain sound economic development.

(二)按照英语习惯调整词语组合及行文安排

翻译的本质就是用另一种符号系统为已经用一种符号系统编制的信息重新编码。所要传递的是信息,而不是编制信息的符号。译者需要在吸收原有信息的基础上,根据新环境的编码规则和习惯再现这些信息。因此,无论在词语或词组层面,还是在分句或句子层面,甚至在语篇层面,都不必紧紧盯住原文的单词、搭配方式、组合方式,而应真正理解消化原文的实质信息。这些信息在译文里的表达完全依据译文的习惯和表达需要。例如:

1.中国提出的全球经济治理的根本目标是推动经济全球化朝着均衡、普惠、共赢方向发展。

【原译】 The idea of global economic governance proposed by China aims at promoting the growth of economic globalization in the direction of balance, universal benefits and win-win results.

贴字面把“朝着均衡、普惠、共赢方向发展”译成in the direction of balance, universal benefits and win-win results是不通的。“方向”在中文里经常是为了组合文字的需要而用的,本身不包含信息要素,因此不必硬译。

【改译】 The goal of improving global economic governance is, in our view, to transform economic globalization into a balanced, win-win process that bring benefits to all.

2.摸着石头过河,是富有中国特色、中国智慧、符合中国国情的改革方法。摸着石头过河就是摸规律。对于必须取得突破但一时还不那么有把握的改革,就先行试点,尊重实践、尊重创造,鼓励大胆探索、勇于开拓,取得经验、看得准了再推开。

【原译】Crossing the river by feeling the stones is an approach to reform that is full of Chinese characteristics and wisdom and suits the national conditions of China.

It means trying to figure out the rules and laws in doing something. When a breakthrough is required in the country抯 development but people are not sure how to make it happen, the country starts out by conducting trials, respects praxis and creativity, encourages people to boldly explore and break new ground.

Then, when the country has gained experience and is completely clear about how things work, it carries out the reforms across the board.

“摸规律”按字面翻译成figure out the rules and laws不妥当,这里的“规律”与rules and laws毫无关系,“摸规律”实际上强调的就是探索。对于“尊重实践、尊重创造”,把中文搭配方式(respects praxis and creativity)搬到英语里,属生搬硬套。对整段话的处理,我们无法也不必追求“一个萝卜一个坑”,不必照搬中文语序,在把握各个基本要素的基础上,词语的组合及句型的安排完全根据英语表达的需要而定。

【改译】Crossing the river by feeling for stones is a distinctly Chinese approach to reform, one that embodies Chinese wisdom in addressing issues specific to contemporary China. It calls for prudence in feeling our way forward in unfamiliar territory, and testing the waters before a major course of action aiming at achieving breakthroughs is launched. It encourages innovation, exploration, and trailblazing efforts, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of identifying and promoting best practices on the basis of lessons learned.

3.中国主动适应并积极参与世界格局变革调整进程,以负责任大国形象展现在世人面前。

【原译】China is adapting itself to and actively participating in changes to the world order and has the image of a responsible big power.

中文原文在表面上似乎谈两件事情,但所涉含义相互交融,不可分割。当我们谈到“负责任”(responsible)时,我们需要与以此方式从事的活动(即参与国际事务)挂钩,不能高空悬挂着。中文里可以这样说,这是中文的语言特点(意合型)决定的,在英语里各个语言成分之间的关系需要明确。另外,在此语境里把“形象”直译成has the image of不妥。第三个值得商榷的问题是“大国”的译法,原文确实用了这两字,但在译文里有没有必要一定要自称big power呢?我们认为,在外宣场合最好避免这样说。

【改译】China is also adapting to an evolving world landscape, and actively participates in global affairs as a responsible member of the international community

(三)注意译文的逻辑及连贯性

中英文保持逻辑与连贯性的方式不尽相同,在中文里合乎逻辑的排列方式照搬到英语里不一定都有逻辑性。所以翻译时还得根据英语习惯视需要加以调整。

1.当今世界,人类生活在不同文化、种族、肤色、宗教和不同社会制度所组成的世界里,各国人民形成了你中有我、我中有你的命运共同体。

【原译】We live in a world with different cultures, ethnic groups, skin colors, religions and social systems, and the people of all countries have become members of an intimate community with a shared destiny.

中文里用的是两个在形式上相互独立的分句,以上译文沿用这一句式,也用了两个分句,似乎在谈论两件互不相干的事情。但从逻辑上来看,这两点不是自成体系的,彼此之间应该有一种让步关系。这种关系在中文里经常不必在形式上标明,但英语里罗列互不相干的两点是没有意义的,两者的关系需要明确,这样行文才能连贯。

【改译】While the world we inhabit is charac-terized by diversity in terms of culture, ethnicity, skin colors, religions and social systems, people across the world increasingly find themselves in a community with a shared future, with their interests interlocked.

2. “简政”,即解决机构职能交叉、政出多门、人浮于事、相互掣肘的现象,解决社会公共产品和服务提供不足、行政效率低下的问题。“放权”,则是解决对经济活动审批过多、审批程序复杂、审批周期长效率低的问题,解决政府管了一些不该管的事情、一些该管的事情却没管好的问题。

【原译】Streamlining administration means solving the problems of government having overlapping functions, being overstaffed and impeding each other, and the problems of an inadequate supply of social public goods and services and low government efficiency.

Delegating more power to lower-level governments means solving the problems of subjecting too many economic activities to government approval, having complicated approval procedures and taking too long to approve them, and solving the problems of the government managing things it should not manage and poorly managing things it should manage.

值得讨论的有下列几个问题:第一,对于中文里的“解决……问题”,我们不一定非要译成solving the problems不可,此处这样译并非不可以,但没有必要,如果不用solving the problems,行文可更加干净利索。“解决……问题”在中文里经常起帮助句子组合的作用,本身不带实质信息,省略不译不会影响译文的准确性。第二,impeding each other的说法是没有逻辑性的,因为前面没有提到可以impeding each other的两个或多个事物。动作主体只能是government或the problems of government,无论指何者都是说不通的。

【改译】Streamlining government aims at eliminating overstaffing and consolidating duplicate or overlapping - and often mutually interfering - government functions, so as to better address such problems as the inadequate provision of social public goods and services and the poor efficiency of the work of the government. Delegating authorities is intended to cut red tape that subjects an unnecessarily extensive array of business activities to a complex and lengthy government approval process. Such a move should free the government from unwarranted reach into areas it had better stay away from to focus on what really falls within its purview, especially duties it is supposed to perform but has not performed adequately.

3.随着中国的发展和进步,全国各地城乡基层民主不断扩大,公民有序的政治参与渠道增多,民主的实现形式日益丰富。

【原译】As China develops and progresses, both urban and rural areas throughout the country are enjoying more and more community-level democracy, the number of channels through which Chinese citizens participate in politics is increasing and there is ever-greater democracy.

译文里以并列方式列举了三点:第一点是more and more community-level democracy,第二点是the number of channels through which Chinese citizens participate in politics is increasing,第三点是there is ever-greater democracy。但这三点并列是不合逻辑的,尤其是第一点与第三点。根据逻辑,第一点应该包含在第三点之内,因为第三点谈的是民主的总体状况,而第一点是谈community-level democracy。既然在逻辑上这三者是这样的关系,在表达时就应反映这种关系,而绝对不能并排堆砌。

原文第三点是“民主的实现形式日益丰富”,重点在于“实现形式”,这与ever-greater democracy有较大的差距。如果在翻译时力求体现原文里第三点的本意,那么这三点并列就是正常的。

【改译】China抯 increasing prosperity and progress have been accompanied by greater democracy at the community level in both urban and rural areas throughout the country, increased orderly participation of its citizens in political life, and a multiplication of democratic practices.

(四)注意部分与整体的关系及语言成分的相互关系

中英文在部分与整体及语言成分的相互关系的表述上有差异,翻译时需要做到两点:一是透彻把握原文里各个成分之间的关系;二是按照英语习惯加以表达。一个典型的例子是,中文里说“中国与世界”是很自然的,但在英语里不能说China and the world,因为从逻辑上来看,中国也是世界的一部分,我们只能说China and the rest of the world。

1.统一战线是中国共产党凝聚社会各方面力量,促进政党关系、民族关系、宗教关系、阶层关系、海内外同胞关系的和谐,夺取中国特色社会主义新胜利的重要法宝。

【原译】The united front is an important measure for the CPC to pool the strength of the whole of Chinese society, make relations more harmonious between political parties, ethnic groups, religions, people of different strata and Chinese people at home and abroad, and achieve new victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics.

中文表达的各种关系是清楚的,但把这种结构照搬到英语里后,各方面的关系就很乱,给人感觉好像在说政党与民族、政党与宗教、宗教与海内外同胞等等相互间的关系。另外,译文里strata一词的使用不太妥当。虽然所有社会在一定程度上都存在着strata,但这不是可取的现象,在此语境里强调strata更是毫无必要的。

【改译】The United Front is an essential tool that the CPC uses to pool the strength of the whole of Chinese society to build a prosperous socialist country with Chinese characteristics. It helps forge partnerships and build harmonious relations among political parties, among ethnic and religious groups, among different regions, and among people from all walks of life, including overseas Chinese.

2.中国改革开放30多年的历史已经证明,和平发展是中国基于自身国情、社会制度、文化传统作出的战略抉择,顺应时代潮流,符合中国根本利益,符合周边国家利益,符合世界各国利益。

【原译】China抯 experience of reform and opening up over the past 30 years and more has proved that peaceful development is a strategic choice that suits China抯 national conditions, social system and cultural traditions. It conforms to the trend of the times and serves the fundamental interests of China. It also meets the interests of China抯 neighboring countries and those of all countries in the world.

中国是世界的一部分,中国的邻国也是世界的一部分,因此It also meets the interests of China抯 neighboring countries and those of all countries in the world的说法是有问题的。

【改译】As China抯 experience of reform and opening up over the past 30 years and more shows, the pursuance of peaceful development has been a crucial strategic move that is based on the considerations of China抯 national conditions, social system and cultural traditions. It represents a timely response to today抯 imperatives and serves the fundamental interests of China, and those of its neighbors and the rest of the world.

3.在全面深化改革中,我们要坚持以经济体制改革为主轴,努力在重要领域和关键环节改革上取得新突破,以此牵引和带动其他领域改革,使各方面改革协同推进、形成合力,而不是各自为政、分散用力。

【原译】As China comprehensively deepens reform, it needs to keep economic structural reform as the principal axis, strive to make new breakthroughs in the reforms of important areas, and use them to drive other reforms, so that all reforms move forward together and form a synergy, rather than being uncoordinated so that their effects are dissipated.

原文提到“努力在重要领域和关键环节改革上取得新突破”时是紧接着前一词组而来的,其中“重要领域和关键环节”仍然与经济体制改革相关。译文在这一点上不清楚,in the reforms of important areas似乎是说在(所有)重要领域,结果造成了关系混乱,读者难以猜测用什么reforms去推动other reforms。

【改译】Economic structural reform remains the central pillar of our comprehensive in-depth reform efforts. Major new progress must be made in key areas of this reform, so as to pave the way for, and provide impetus to, other sectorial reforms. Such an approach could ensure synergy and coordination between various reform initiatives, and avoid silo mentality and fragmentation.

(五)注意避免不必要的重复

言简意赅在所有语言里都是优点,都是作者或译者应该追求的目标。英语对避免重复的要求比中文更甚。中文里为了概念表达明确,经常不怕重复,重复不会显得累赘,有时还是专门使用的一种修辞手段(称为反复),形成排比句式,有助于突出中心意思,强调感情,加强气势。而在英语里则最忌讳重复。

1. 2014年4月,习近平主席在布鲁日欧洲学院发表演讲时提议:要建设和平稳定之桥,把中欧两大力量连接起来。建设增长繁荣之桥,把中欧两大市场连接起来。建设改革进步之桥,把中欧两大改革进程连接起来。建设文明共荣之桥,把中欧两大文明连接起来。

【原译】When addressing the College of Europe in Bruges in April 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed building a bridge of peace and stability linking the two strong forces of China and the EU, a bridge of growth and prosperity linking the two big markets of China and the EU, a bridge of reform and progress linking the reform processes in China and the EU and a bridge of common cultural prosperity linking the two major civilizations of China and Europe.

中文表达很自然,“中欧”重复使用四次,毫无累赘之感,在英语里按此重复就很罗嗦,凡能省略之处,我们均应省略。

【改译】Addressing the College of Europe in Bruges in April 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed building a bridge of peace and stability linking the two influential players, a bridge of growth and prosperity linking the two big markets, a bridge of reform and progress linking the reform processes in China and the EU, and a bridge of cultural prosperity linking the two major civilizations.

2. 2015年10月26日至29日在北京召开的十八届五中全会,首次提出了“创新、协调、绿色、开放、共享”的五大发展理念。

【原译】At the Fifth Plenary Session of its 18th Central Committee in 2015, the Communist Party of China (CPC) called for “innovation-driven development, coordinated development, green development, development for global progress, and development for the benefit of all.”

虽然中文里“发展”只用了一次,但以上译文里连用五次。

【改译】At its Fifth Plenary Session held from October 26 to 29, 2015, the 18th CPC Central Committee called for “development that is innovation-driven, coordinated, green, oriented toward global progress, and beneficial to all.”

(六)中文特有数字化表达方式的处理

数字化表达方式在政治文献中十分常用,但这种表达方式为中文特有,在英语里从古至今通常都没有类似的说法(英语里若干相关词语都以同一字母开头的情况与此不同,如The 4 R抯 - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover)。如果把这种结构照搬到英语里,必然怪诞不经。

(1)四个全面

一种常见译法是Four Comprehensives,即把中文里特有的数字与形容词的组合硬性移植到英语里,实际上这是创造了一种另类表达方式。一种比较合理的译法是the Four-Pronged Strategy。请看以下这段话的翻译:

2014年12月,习近平在江苏省调研时,首次明确提出了“四个全面”战略布局,即全面建成小康社会、全面深化改革、全面依法治国、全面从严治党。

【原译】The strategy of “Four Comprehen-sives”was first put forth by Xi Jinping during an inspection tour of Jiangsu Province in December 2014. The strategy consists of: comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively driving reform to a deeper level, comprehensively governing the country in accordance with the law, and comprehensively enforcing strict Party discipline.

除了Four Comprehensives的表达方式离奇外,comprehensively连用四次,也属于不必要的重复。在中文里重复可以加重语气,形成排比,在英语如此重复,效果恰恰相反,使行文变得无比累赘。再者,comprehensively与其他词语的搭配,如building a moderately prosperous society、driving reform to a deeper level等等,也十分勉强。

【改译】The Four-Pronged Strategy was first put forth by Xi Jinping during an inspection tour of Jiangsu Province in December 2014. The strategy calls for completing the process of building a moderately well-off society, pursuing an expanded in-depth reform agenda, implementing a comprehensive framework for promoting the rule of law, and launching an all-out effort to enforce strict Party discipline.

(2)三严三实

同样,常见译法three stricts and three honests也是打破了一切语法规则的生搬硬套,不仅离奇,而且不达意,没有反映“三严三实”的实际内涵。那么,翻译时如何处理为上策呢?一个办法是彻底放弃数字结构,改用从本意着手的方式切入,力求反映口号的实质内容。考虑到“三严三实”的重点是要求品行刚正,不妨称之为the integrity initiative或the campaign to promote integrity等等。如此翻译虽然脱离了中文特有的语言形式,但能有效体现内容要点。如果刻意保留数字结构,那也应以符合英语习惯方式加以表达。既然在英语里不能将数字与形容词直接组合,我们就得探讨其他途径。考虑到数字与诸如guidelines、rules等结合并用十分自然,我们似乎可将“三严三实”译成the three guidelines for ethical behavior and the three basic rules of conduct。请看以下使用情况:

“三严三实”是习近平对各级领导干部改进作风提出的要求,即严以修身、严以用权、严以律己,谋事要实、创业要实、做人要实。

【原译】“Three Stricts and Three Earnests” are requirements Xi Jinping proposed for officials at all levels to improve their conduct. The requirements are to be strict in self-development, the exercise of power, and self-discipline, and to be earnest in making plans, opening up new undertakings, and upholding personal integrity.

除了上文提及的 Three Stricts and Three Earnests 的说法离奇外,be strict in...the exercise of power的含义恐怕与“严以用权”的本意有较大的偏差。“严以用权”应该是指用权时不谋私利,遵纪守法,strict是针对自己,而be strict in...the exercise of power似乎主要不是针对自己的。另外,earnest in making plans等等的说法也比较奇怪。

【改译】The initiative to implement the three guidelines for ethical behavior and the three basic rules of conduct (the 3+3 Initiative) was proposed by Xi Jinping. It calls upon officials at all levels to be strict with themselves in self-cultivation, in the exercise of power, and in self-discipline, and act in good faith when performing official duties, taking initiatives, and interacting with others.

以上只是结合《中国关键词》英译实践和专家研讨而形成的粗浅认识和看法。翻译工作是一门永远会留有遗憾的艺术,译无止境。同时,政治文献对外翻译与传播对我们来说更是具有挑战性的新课题,需要继续实践,不断探索,也期待更多同行参与讨论。

[作者简介] 蔡力坚,联合国前高级译审,美国明德大学蒙特雷国际研究学院客座教授。

杨平,编审,中国翻译研究院秘书长,《中国翻译》杂志副主编。

[作者电子信箱] lijiancai@gmail.com;yangp@tac-online.org.cn