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奥巴马讲话中的Main Street是什么?

(2008-11-19 00:47:35)
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分类: 英汉翻译

奥巴马讲话中的Main Street是什么?

北京方雨

 

    我贴出《奥巴马有句话所有版本都译错了》之后,有位neutrophils博友出来替力镔若水打抱不平。他的第一条留言如下:

 

   虽然文森的译文不可能没有缺点,但至少是目前误译最少的。” 博主这话说的太绝对了吧,随便找出一句话,把张放、力镔若水的译文与文森的比较一下,就可立见高下。

    Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it'that we cannot have thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.
力镔若水:请记住,如果说这场金融危机给了我们什么教训,那就是当布衣街患难时,华尔街不可能繁荣。
 
  放:如果这场金融危机的确给教会了我们什么的话,那就让我们铭记吧:当华尔街以外的大街都在遭受煎熬时,华尔街是不可能繁荣的。

  森:让我们记住,如果我们从这次金融危机中得到任何教训的话,那就是,我们不能富了华尔街,穷了商业街。
    我不是英语专家,也不会分析语法,但是这句话懂英语的人都能看出来谁翻译的正确,谁的文学功底更深厚。请方雨先生发表您的高见。

 

    虽然neutrophils不过是现用现注的一个马甲(博客里空空如也),而且力镔若水的那篇译文已经删除,我不知道neutrophils怎么还会找到它,但他毕竟是留了博名认真来提出不同意见的,所以我还是决定认真回复他,今天只回复他的第一条意见。

 

    我注意到,neutrophils的意思是:对于“Main Street”这个词,力镔若水翻译成“布衣街”比文森翻译成“商业街”要准确。那么什么是Main Street?请看《维基百科》的解释:

 

     Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name (and often the official name) of the primary retail street of a village, town, or small city in many parts of the world. It is usually a focal point for shops and retailers in the central business district, and is most often used in reference to retailing and socialising.

      In the general sense, the term "Main Street" refers to a place of traditional values.

In the North American media, "Main Street," or the interests of everyday working-class people and small business owners, is sometimes contrasted with "Wall Street" (in the United States) or "Bay Street" (in Canada), symbolizing the interests of corporate capitalism. For example, in the middle 20th century the Republican Party was sometimes divided between "Wall Street" (socially liberal) and "Main Street" (socially conservative) factions, of which the latter came to predominate late in the century.

     “Main Street” was an extremely popular term during the economic crises in 2008, proposed bailout of U.S. financial system, the 2008 presidential campaign and debates.

 

译文:

    “Main Street”是世界许多地方的村镇或小城市主要零售街道的一个通用称呼(常常是正式名称),它通常是商店和零售商聚集的商业中心区,常指零售和社交的区域。

   (在美国文化中)一般而言,“Main Street”是指一个具有传统价值观的地方。

    在北美媒体中,有时把“Main Street”——象征日常劳动阶层人民和小企业主的利益与 “Wall Street”(美国)或“Bay Street”(加拿大)——象征着企业资本主义的利益相对比。例如,在20世纪中期,共和党曾分为“华尔街派”(社会自由)和“商业街派”(社会保守)两个派别,后者在20世纪末占主导地位。

    “Main Street”在2008年经济危机和总统竞选和辩论中是一个非常流行的词,代表着拯救美国金融体系的主张。

  

    虽然“Wall Street ”和“Main Street”在美国媒体谈到政治和经济问题时都不是新词,但2008年金融危机以来,它们被赋予了一层当前特定的含义。在奥巴马与麦凯恩的电视辩论中,两人多次就“Wall Street ”和“Main Street”进行舌战。按目前流行的用法,Wall Street主要是指美国的大企业,特别是500强里的大金融企业(中国人对“华尔街”并不陌生,知道指的是美国的金融寡头);而Main Street主要是指地方的小企业,特别是一些小的金融公司。另外,《维基百科》中文版也把“Main Street”翻译成“商业街”。 

 

    所以,文森将“Wall Street ”和“Main Street”分别译为“华尔街”和“商业街”是比较贴切的。而张放译为“华尔街以外的大街”让人摸不着头脑;力镔若水译为“布衣街”更是让人不知所云,况且“布衣”历来是指没有官职,属于政治范畴,与经济状况无关,难道华尔街的大资本家就是“官员”?另外,“华尔街以外的大街都在遭受煎熬”、“布衣街患难”的意思也都含糊不清,没有直接反映出老百姓生活水平的下降,因为“患难”也好,“遭受煎熬”也好,都不一定是遇到了生计问题。 而文森用“穷了商业街”这个说法来表达,既简洁又直接地反映了这层意思。

 

    为了更好地理解“Main Street”的语境,我在文后摘译了一段国外报刊的文章,该文的内容是谈投资到底应该找大公司(用Wall Street指代)还是小公司(用Main Street指代),摘译的是关于“Wall Street”和“Main Street”的介绍。看了这段文章,可能没人会把Main Street理解成“平民百姓的街道”(布衣街)或“华尔街以外的大街”。当然,我对金融完全是门外汉,翻译不妥之处,还请方家指正。

 

    所以,奥巴马关于Wall Street 和Main Street的这段话,毫无疑问还是文森翻译得最准确,而张放和力镔若水的翻译都使这段话的内涵丧失大半。不过,公正地说,就这段话而言,力镔若水的翻译尽管不贴切,但还是比张放的要好些——因为他理解奥巴马的意思,张放则根本不知道“Main Street”的背景。这说明,英语不过硬、汉语不纯熟,或者缺乏国际知识,要想翻译奥巴马这篇内容丰富、含义深刻、充满暗喻的讲话都会力不从心。

 

(补记:2009年1月7日的《参考消息》第11版转载(节选)并翻译了《洛杉矶时报》的《年度词汇》(Word of the year),其中From Wall Street to Main Street 列为第二:

From Wall Street to Main Street. With fists pounding on podiums, many a candidate last year used this phrase to demand that Washington shift its ministrations from fat cats in the financial industry to struggling small-business owners and their employees.

 

译文:从华尔街到缅因街:许多候选人去年敲着讲台作词表述,要求华盛顿把扶助对象从金融大亨转向挣扎求生的小企业主及其雇员(small-business owners and their employees)。

 

参考消息把Main Street音译为缅因街,是照顾海外华人的习惯,其实也不确切。其实缅因州的英文是Maine,并不是Main。但可以证明Main Street 的确是指小企业主及其雇员,并非泛指普通老百姓。2009.1.7)

  

附录:国外文章中对 “Wall Street ”和“Main Street”的介绍

 

Choosing An Advisor: Wall Street Vs Main Street

选择投资顾问:华尔街还是商业街

by Jim McWhinney

(北京方雨节选并翻译)

 

Wall Street. When most people think about investing, they think about Wall Street. It embodies globally recognized, brand-name investment firms that represent the mystique of rags-to-riches stories and paper fortunes won and lost. These big investment firms have deep pockets and impressive resources: big advertising budgets, big buildings and big marketing departments. They have thousands of employees, including research analysts and money managers - many of whom can be spotted on CNN and CNBC commenting on the latest happenings in the stock market.

 

华尔街:当大多数人考虑投资时,他们会考虑“华尔街”。这个词是全球广泛认可和具有品牌效应的投资公司的具象化,它们代表了穷光蛋暴富的神奇故事和纸上财富的得而复失。这些大投资公司有雄厚的财力和令人印象深刻的资源:大的广告预算,大型建筑和大市场营销部门。他们有成千上万的员工,其中包括研究分析师和基金经理人——其中许多人经常在CNN和CNBC电视频道的股票市场最新动态评论节目中露面。

 

Of course, big doesn’t always mean better. Big companies are often impersonal. Employees come and go. Corporate mandates drive product sales decisions. The need to earn a quarterly profit to satisfy shareholders can translate into pressure to sell products, regardless of whether or not clients need those products. Proprietary products encourage conflicts of interest and huge numbers of brokers often translate into training programs geared to the lowest common denominator, resulting in cookie-cutter financial plans for all clients.

 

当然,大并不总是意味着更好。大公司往往是缺乏人情味儿的。雇员流动性很大,来了又走。企业的指令性任务驱动着产品销售的决定。获得季度利润来满足股东的需要常常转化为销售产品的压力,无论客户是否需要这些产品。专利产品鼓励了利益冲突,大量的经纪人常常转到尽量具有共同点(最小公分母)的培训项目中,因此导致对所有的客户采用千篇一律的(饼干模子)财政计划。

 

The consequence of being big is that smaller clients may get lost in the shuffle when dealing with a broker with a lot of big clients. Wall Street firms tend to overlook smaller clients and focus on their bigger clients who may have a net worth several times that of other customers. Losing one of these clients can seriously affect a broker’s annual income. Also, many of the investment products that Wall Street offers - such as bonds, Treasury notes and private placements - are not even made available to small clients.

 

当在面对有许多大客户的经纪人时,后果是小客户可能会在洗牌中失去。华尔街公司往往忽视小客户,而专注于那些净资产可能数倍于其他客户的较大客户。失去的这些客户可能会严重影响到经纪人的年度收入。此外,华尔街提供服务的许多投资产品——如债券,国债和私人配售——甚至不提供给小客户。

 

Because of all these drawbacks for the small investor, if you’re growing a portfolio, you may want to look to where your money is appreciated.

 

由于所有这些对小投资者来说的缺点,如果你正在培育投资组合,您可能要关注你的钱在哪里才能增值。

 

Main Street. While you won’t see them featured on CNN or sponsoring a major golf tournament, a wide variety of investment advisors can be found on "Main Street" in cities and towns all across the country. Many of these folks learned the trade on Wall Street, grew disenchanted and left. They rented an office, put up a sign and built their businesses with little or no help. These independent advisors (they are independent because they are self-employed) have the flexibility to choose the products they offer and the freedom to act unencumbered by corporate policies or the needs of shareholders. Independent advisors often offer an impressive level of personal service because they have a stake in the business. As a client, you work directly with the owner.

 

商业街:虽然你不会看到他们在CNN出镜或赞助一项重大高尔夫赛事,但是在全国各地城镇的“商业街”中,你可以找到各种各样的投资顾问。其中许多人的交易经验是从华尔街学来的,并带着幻想离开那里。他们租用一个办公室,挂出一块招牌,在很少或根本没有帮助的情况下建立了自己的企业。这些独立顾问(他们是独立的,因为他们是自己聘用自己)可以灵活地选择他们所提供的产品,在企业政策或股东的需求之下不受妨碍地自由行动。独立顾问往往为人们提供了令人印象深刻的个人服务水平,因为他们自己在公司有也股份。作为一个客户,你直接和业主一起工作。

 

On the downside, independent advisors do not usually have much in the way of a name brand. While they have access to many of the same products and services that Wall Street firms offer,  independent advisors access these products from service providers that many investors aren’t likely to recognize. And there are some services that may simply not be available through independent advisors. Initial public offerings are one high-profile example. If you want consistent access to the stocks of these Wall Street darlings, you're likely to have trouble finding it on Main Street.

 

另一方面,独立顾问通常没什么品牌。虽然他们有机会获得许多与华尔街公司提供的相同的产品和服务,独立的顾问通过这些产品的服务提供商得到的东西往往不会得到许多投资者的认可。还有一些服务可能根本就没有可能通过独立顾问得到。首次公开募股是一个高知名度的例子。如果你想获得那些华尔街宠儿的股票,您多半无法在商业街得到。

 

Finally, independent advisors aren’t backed by the well-known resources that Wall Street firms offer. They don’t have big budgets and big marketing departments, and they may not even have a corporate brochure. The staff is likely to be quite small or even limited to a single person. Investors who are growing a moderate portfolio for retirement may feel more comfortable with a small firm, and may get more personalized service from a smaller firm.

 

最后,独立顾问没有那些众所周知的资源支持,而华尔街公司却能提供。他们没有大的预算和大市场营销部门,他们甚至可能不会有公司的小册子。工作团队很可能相当小,甚至只限于一人。那些攒了一些不大不小的有价证券(组合)的退休投资者可能会觉得小公司对他们更舒服,并可能从一个小公司获得更多个性化的服务。 

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