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Information Please  请接信息台

(2007-10-22 09:24:08)
标签:

情感故事

friendship

英语汉译习作

Information Please

请接信息台

When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood.

I remember well the polished old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box.

I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person — her name was Information, Please and there was nothing she did not know.

Information, Please could supply anybody's number and the correct time.

爸爸在家里安电话机时我还很小。在我们街区,我们家成了率先安有电话的用户之一。

我清楚记得,那油光铮亮的旧盒子牢牢固定在墙上,亮光闪闪的听筒就挂在盒子旁边。

我人太小够不到电话,但当妈妈对着话筒说话时,我总是着迷似地竖着耳朵听。

后来我发现,在这个漂亮家伙的什么地方,住着一个神奇的人物,她的名字叫请接信息台,没有事情她不知道。

请找信息台可以提供随便什么人的电话号码和准确的时间。

My first personal experience with this genie-in the-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor.

Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible but there didn't seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone!

Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.

Information, Please, I said into the mouthpiece just above my head.

A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear, Information.

"I hurt my finger," I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.

"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.

"Nobody's home but me." I blubbered.

"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.

"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."

"Can you open your icebox?" she asked.

I said I could. "Then chip off a little piece of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.

一天,妈妈去一个邻居家串门,我第一次和盒子里的精灵有了接触。

我在地下室的工具作业台玩耍时,用锤子砸到了手指,疼极了,可是好像没有任何理由哭,因为根本没人在家来对你表示同情。

我将阵阵作痛的手指放在嘴里咂吮着,围着屋子乱转。最终,我来到了楼梯口。电话!

我立马冲向客厅的脚凳,把它拖拽到电话机站脚处,爬了上去,摘下听筒放在我的耳朵上。请接信息台,我冲着位于我脑袋上边的话筒说。

一两下嘀嗒声后,一个低柔清脆的声音在我耳中响起:信息台。

“我弄伤我的手指了,”我对着电话哭泣着说。现在可算有一个听众了,我那憋了许久的眼泪象泉水般地涌了出来。

 “你妈不在家?”对方问。

“除我没人在家。”我哭道。

“出血了吗?”那个声音问道。

“没有,”我回答,“我用锤子砸到了手指,它受伤了。”

“你能打开冰箱吗?”她问。

我说我能。“那你就切下一块冰,敷在你的手指上”那个声音说道。

After that, I called Information, Please for everything. I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk, that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called Information, Please and told her the sad story. She listened, then said the usual things grown-ups say to soothe a child, but I was inconsolable.

I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "Paul, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in." Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone for "Information, Please."

Information, said the now familiar voice.

"How do you spell fix?" I asked.

打那以后,我只要有事,就拨信息台。我向她求教过地理问题,她告诉我费城在哪;她曾帮我解过数学题;我从公园捉来一个花栗鼠作宠物没两天不知怎么养,她告诉我要给它喂水果和坚果。

后来,我们的宠物金丝雀贝啼死了,我拨打了信息台,将这个悲伤故事讲给她听。她仔细听着,随后用惯常大人们劝慰小孩的话哄着我,可我不怎么好哄。

我问她,“为什么鸟儿们叫声那么好听,给全家人带来了欢乐,死后只是鸟笼底部的一堆羽毛?”

她一定感觉到了我深深的忧伤,因此她轻轻地说,“保罗,要始终记住,还有另一个世界需要歌唱,”我多少感觉好了一些。

一天,我打电话要信息台。

信息台,现在已是熟悉的声音说道。

“fix怎么拼读?”我问。

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. Information, Please belonged in that old wooden box back home, and I somehow never thought of trying the tall, shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half an hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes on the phone with my sister, who lived there now.

Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, Information, Please. Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well, Information.

I hadn't planned this but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"

There was a long pause. Then came the soft-spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."

I laughed. "So it's really still you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"

"I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me? I never had any children, and I used to look forward to your calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

"Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."

所有这些都发生在太平洋西北岸一个小镇上。当我9岁时,我们举家横穿整个美国搬迁到东北部的波斯顿。我非常想念我的朋友。可请接信息台属于老家的那个旧的木盒子,不知怎地,我就从来没想到过用客厅桌上那个高高的、亮光闪闪的新电话试拨一下。

当我长到10多岁时,这些儿时对话的记忆还从来没有真正从我的脑海中离开过。每当感到疑虑困惑之时,我会想起那时从中所体味到的安全宁静的感觉,她在一个小孩子身上耗费时间精力竟是那样的耐心、那样的善解人意,那样的和善,至今我都心存感激。

几年后,在去西部念大学的路上,我在西雅图转机,在中间候机一个半小时左右的时间里,我和住在那的姐姐在电话上聊了15分钟。

之后,我没假思索,就拨通了家乡的接线员:请接信息台。简直是奇迹!我竟然听到了我所熟悉的低柔清脆的声音:信息台。

我对此没有思想准备,随口说出“请告诉我如何拼读fix好吗?”

对方停顿了半天。之后,用柔和的声音回答,“我想,现今你的手指应该好利索了。”

我大笑。“那么说真的还是你,”我说,“你知不知道那段时间你对我是多么重要吗?”

 “我倒想知道,”她说,“你知道你的电话对我有多么重要吗?我从没有过孩子,我总是盼望你来电话。”

我告诉她这些年来,我是多么经常地想起她来。我还问她当我回家乡看我姐姐时,还能否给她打电话。

“请一定要打,”她说,“找莎莉就行。”

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered,

Information.

I asked for Sally.

"Are you a friend?" she asked.

"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally has been working part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."

Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute. Did you say your name was Paul?"

"Yes," I replied.

"Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you."

The note said, "Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

三个月后,我回到西雅图,一个不同的声音接听了电话:信息台。

我找莎莉。

“是朋友吗?”她问。

“是的,是一个老朋友”我回答。

“那我只好遗憾地告诉你,”她说,“莎莉因得病已有几年没上全班了,五周前她过逝了。”

没等我挂断电话她说,“请稍等,你是不是说你叫保罗?”

“是的,”我回答。

“对了,莎莉给你留了个条,她写在这以备你打电话来,我读给你听”

纸条写到:“告诉他,我仍然要说,还有另一个世界需要歌唱,他会明白我的意思。”

我谢谢她后挂断了电话。是的,我明白她的意思。

 

译后感言

不要低估印象分的作用

这则故事,许多人可能并不陌生,我也不是第一次阅读。情节简单,语言平实,可给我的印象却是如此深刻。至今读来,依然是那样地回味无穷。主人公二人素昧平生,从未谋面,年龄相差悬殊,却能结下如此深厚刻骨铭心的友谊,嗟讶感动之余,也在思考着一个问题:是什么力量促成了这个即使是朝夕相处也难得一见的深厚友谊。

是印象,印象出演了重要角色。主人公二人不曾见面,自然谈不上交往深厚,友谊的基础只能是二人在电话两端的交谈中彼此产生的深刻印象。更何况保罗全家搬迁时他才9岁,那段刻骨铭心的经历发生时,保罗还是尚不谙世事的顽童。孩子对外人的喜恶也没啥道理可言,全凭印象。电话另一端的莎莉正是通过低柔清脆的声音,表现出对孩子的耐心、温和及善解人意,在保罗幼小的心灵中留下了难忘的印象,使他对那个声音产生了一种信赖、一种向往。可以说这是千里友谊一线牵,印象成了架设二人之间友谊的桥梁。

说到印象,人们往往先想到的是视觉印象,其实那只是印象的一小部分。故事的主人公二人不曾见面,当然不会有视觉印象,声音成了组合印象的重要因素。这不能不让人联想到网络虚拟世界。在那个世界里别说没有视觉印象,连听觉印象也没有,甚至性别、年龄、美丑等等一概不知,人们交友凭什么?是通过博文、对他人博文的评论给别人留下的印象,有共同爱好、共同兴趣的人会因此在虚拟世界走到一起,形成圈子。网络给人们交朋友提供了以往任何手段都无以比拟的广阔空间,但你能交多少朋友,交什么样的朋友,那可全凭你的博文、你对别人博文的评论给人家留下的印象,可千万不能低估印象分的作用哟。

 

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