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《没有“中国制造”的一年》第一章(六)

(2011-01-10 10:18:51)
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中国制造

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第一章完

分类: 胡译赏析

   《没有“中国制造”的一年》第一章(六)

                                   A Year without Made in China

Sara Bongiorni

                                                                 没有“中国制造”的一年

                                                                     (美)萨拉·邦乔妮

                                                                     胡宗锋  苦 丁  (译)

CHAPTER   ONE

Farewell, My Concubine

霸王别姬

(六)

There are upsides to living without China. On a rainy afternoon at Target Kevin reluctantly returns a whoopee cushion to the dollar bin after taking a quick peek at its label. He pokes around in a couple of other bins, then turns away empty-handed.We are locked out of a huge segment of the market for what may be generously described as junk. No more pointy plastic dinosaurs, inch-tall construction workers, or neon-colored pool toys.We will have to make do with our current supply of those items.

生活中没有“中国“也是有好处的。一个雨天的下午,凯文在塔吉特的一家柜台看到一个屁声垫(人一坐上去就发出屁声的搞笑坐垫——译者注),但看了一眼上面的的标签又不情愿的放下了。他又转了好几家其它柜台,结果离开时还是两手空空。我们与市场的大部分东西无缘了,这些东西人们也许慷慨地认为是垃圾。 没有了尖头的塑料恐龙、一英寸高的建筑工和霓虹色的游泳池玩具,我们不得不靠现有的东西来凑合了。

Still, there are hazards to a ban on Chinese goods, including social ones.

My sister-in-law calls in a panic one evening after she realizes the cheerfully wrapped box she left on our doorstep after Wes had minor surgery contains two Chinese-made Mattel motorcycles.

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” she says.“I am so sorry. I didn’t look where they came from. I completely forgot. Do you want me to return them for something else?”

Our neighbor stops by later with a box of get-well candy. 

“It’s from New Jersey,” she says as she hands me the package. “I checked the label.”

抵制中国制造是件麻烦的事,包括社会交往。

有天晚上,我嫂子想起自己放在我家门口的精美礼物盒中(维斯做了一个小小的外科手术),有两个中国制造的小摩托,便很紧张地打电话给我们。

 “我不知道当时怎么了,真是不好意思。”她说:“我当时没看是哪儿造的,完全把这事给忘了。要不要把它再换一下?”

我们的邻居拿了一盒糖果来探视。

 “是新泽西的,”她边说边递给我,“我看过标签了。”

I am horrified. I had flattered myself in thinking that I’d kept my self-congratulations to myself. Here is evidence to the contrary. I was so busy thinking about what we have been doing, which is not buying Chinese things, that I lost sight of what everybody around me has been up to, which is buying Chinese things. In laying out ground rules for the year, I had forgotten all about gifts, a crucial pipeline of Chinese products pouring into our house.

我都懵了。我曾为自己的举动自鸣得意,且沾沾自喜。而如今的现实却恰恰相反。当我埋头忙着想自己的事,那就是不买中国制造时,却没有看到周围的人们正忙着买中国制造呢。制定新年计划的基本原则时,我完全忘了有关送礼的事,这可是中国制造涌入家门的重要渠道。

For once, I am fast on my feet.

 “You don’t have to pay attention to labels,” I tell my sister-in-law. “Expecting you to avoid buying from China just because we’re doing it would be like me going vegetarian and expecting everybody else to do the same. It’s our project, not yours.We’re not going to tell anybody else what to do.”

“But don’t you want to keep Chinese things out of the house?” she asks.“Let me take the motorcycles back.I’ll find something else.”

这一次,我破例了。

“你不用那么在意标签,”我对嫂子说:“因为我们不买中国制造的东西就不让你买,就好比我吃素就要求别人跟我一起吃素一样,这是我们自己的事,和你没有关系。我们不会要求别人也这样做的。”

 “但你们不是不想让家里有中国制造的东西么?”她反问道:“我把摩托车收回来,换成别的什么。”

Me and my big mouth.

“You don’t need to do anything differently,” I say.

“Are you sure?” she asks me, about five times. “I can take them back, you know. It’s no trouble. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

I repeat my assurances, but she’s still apologizing when we hang up the phone.

I tell our neighbor the same thing, but she’s not buying it either.

“We don’t want to be known as the ones who spoiled your experiment,”she tells me.

 

都怪我这个大嘴!

 “你没必要换。”我说。

 “你肯定吗?”这句话,她问了不下5次。“你知道我可以把它退回去的,不麻烦,我真的不知道我当时是怎么了。”

  我一再向她保证没事,但直到我们挂电话她还一直在道歉。

我跟那个邻居也这样说,但她也不买我的账。

 “我们可不想成为毁了你实验的人,”她这样跟我说。

I am not done offending people. A couple of days later, while waiting at the counter to pay for lunch at a small cafe, the owner gestures toward a new display of Mardi Gras–themed jewelry. I finger the rows of earrings and bracelets. I slip a pair of earrings off the rack to take a closer look. I turn them over in my hand and peer at the label on the plastic backing.

我没有要冒犯别人的意思。但几天后,在一家小咖啡店等着付款吃午饭时,店主指着一组狂欢节主题的首饰展让我看,我用手指了一下耳环和手链什么的。我拿下一对耳环仔细瞧着,翻来覆去看它背面的标签。

“Aren’t they just adorable?” the owner asks me.

I nod, and then I do something unwise, something I know better than to do. I open my mouth.

“It’s too bad I can’t buy them,” I say with an air of regret as I return the earrings to the rack. “You see, this year I’m not buying anything from China. It’s my New Year’s resolution. Maybe next year I’ll buy some.”

She narrows her eyes at me.

“Well, then how are all those three-year-olds in China going to survive if people like you won’t help them out?”

“不好看么?”店主问我。

我点了点头。接着我明知道不开口比较明智,但还是说了出来。

 “实在太遗憾了,我买不成。”将耳环放回去的时候我不无遗憾地说,“今年我不准备买任何中国制造的东西,这是我的新年计划,或许明年会买哦。”

她眯缝起眼睛瞅着我。

 “哼!如果人人都像你一样,中国的孩子们怎么活?”

I can’t tell if she’s joking. I decide I don’t want to find out. I give her a Mona Lisa smile to indicate I get her gist, although I do not, then sheepishly pay for my lunch and slink to a table. It hadn’t occurred to me that shopkeepers who deal in Chinese wares (and I assume that’s just about all of them) are unlikely to appreciate my project, with its tone of implied superiority. I can’t stand a tone of implied superiority. I thought my encounter with Mrs. Smedley had cured me of my self-infatuation, but I see now that embers of insufferability glow within me.

我不知道她是不是在开玩笑,我也不想知道。我给了她一个蒙娜丽莎般的微笑,表示我明白了她的意思,然后有些困窘地付了饭钱,悄悄地溜到座位上。我一点也没有想到做中国饰品生意的老板(估计他们全都如此)会很不喜欢我的这一计划,并且说话的语气中有种优越感,我受不了这种语气。和斯梅德利夫人的交往使我不那么自我膨胀了,不过现在我发现自己又膨胀起来了。

My mother whispers in my ear as I hunch alone over my plate.

You know what goes before a fall, my phantom mother says.

Don’t remind me, Mother. Pride. It’s tripped me up a million times. 

So what are you going to do about it? she wants to know. 

I am going to learn to keep my mouth closed. I am going to avoid Chinese merchandise and I am going to keep the fact that I am avoiding Chinese merchandise to myself. I am going to go quietly about my business like any decent citizen and I am not going to rub anybody’s nose in anything. I am going to take my top lip, press it to my bottom lip, and keep it there until next January 1.

当我独自埋头吃饭时,妈妈的话又在耳边响起了。

你知道人为什么会跌倒的,妈妈的幽灵说。

不用你提醒,妈妈,我知道。是自大,我都被绊倒过无数次了。

那你怎么办呢?她想知道。

我会学着管好自己的嘴。我不要中国制造的东西,并且我会牢记这只是我的事。我会和其他体面的市民一样各扫自家门前雪,不管他人瓦上霜。我会让自己的上嘴唇紧紧蒙住下嘴唇,直到明年1月1号。

 

The jewelry store that we visit at dusk on a rainy Friday sits in a strip mall off a busy highway on the outskirts of town. A husband-and-wife team of Vietnamese immigrants runs the store. They sell elaborate jewelry, much of it made on-site, knockoff Gucci purses, and miniature motorcycles that I believe are illegal to drive on the streets. It’s not so much a jewelry store as a gold, handbag, and motorbike outlet. It’s my first trip to the place. I like it immediately.

一个星期五的黄昏,天下着雨,我们去了郊区高速路旁边的一个简易商场,经营商场的是一对越南移民过来的夫妇,卖的精美的首饰大部分是现场制作的,还有逼真的古奇包和我敢肯定不合法的微型摩托车。这算不上是家有金银首饰,手提包和摩托车的批发店,但第一次去这儿,我一下子就喜欢上了。

We are not in the market for jewelry, purses, or unconventional forms of transportation.We are here on an unglamorous mission to replace the batteries in three watches. I say hello to the shopkeeper, then hand him the watches and ask if he can replace the batteries. He disappears into the back room.

我们去那不是买首饰、包包或者不怎么样的交通工具,而是为了一件不怎么光彩的差事,为三只手表换电池。我向店主打了个招呼,把表递给他,问他可不可以换一下电池,他就消失在了后面的房间里。

“You need a new strap?” he asks when he returns a few minutes later. He holds up my watch, whose leather band has split in two. He gestures toward the display case at the front of the store and I wander over to take a look. He opens the case so I can see better. I have just picked out a replacement strap when Kevin sidles up and clears his throat.

“Did you look where they are made?” he asks.

 

“要换表带吗?”几分钟后他出来问,手里举着我的表,上面的表带已裂成两块了。他指了指门口的柜台要我过去看看。我便走了过去,他打开那个盒子以便让我看得更清楚些。我刚挑好一条凯文清着嗓子走了过来。

 “你看是哪里制造的?”

The shopkeeper and I look at him blankly.Then I grimace and turn over the box that holds the strap. I shrink as I read the words, Made in China. Then I look at the shopkeeper, who is smiling at me with kind, worried eyes.I freeze up.A couple of seconds tick by.Then I blurt out a confession and tell the shopkeeper about the boycott.We are late into the sales transaction, and I can’t think what else to do. He starts to laugh.

我和店主一脸茫然地看着他。我向他做了个鬼脸然后关上放表带的盒子。当看到“中国制造”几个字时不由得心里一紧。我看了一眼店主,店主笑着看我,一幅关切和慈祥的样子,我自己反而僵住了。几秒钟后,我实打实地告诉了他我们的抵制计划。这个解释有点太晚了,可是我不知道除此之外还能怎么办。店主听后笑了。

“Yes, you are right, everything is from China,” he says. He tells us he’s noticed that Vietnam also is saturated with Chinese goods.

“When I go home it’s everywhere you look,” he adds. “China, China, China.”

We pay for the batteries and head out into the rain.As we make our way across the wet parking lot, Kevin apologizes for butting in.

“I just thought you’d better check the strap,” he says.

“就是,你说的对。所有东西都是中国的。”他对我们说,他也注意到越南到处都是中国货。

 “我回到家,到处都是中国,中国,中国!”

我们交了电池钱又回到了雨中,往停车场走的路上凯文因为插嘴向我道歉。

 “我当时只是觉得你最好检查一下那表带。”他说

“Are you kidding? I’m glad you reminded me,” I say.“It would have been worse to have to drive back later and explain why I was returning it.” We settle into the car and Kevin backs out of our space. Then I think of something else.“Did you happen to ask where the watch batteries are from?” I ask.

Kevin shakes his head.

“I thought about that, but I didn’t want to sound like a jerk,” he says.

 

“开什么玩笑!我很高兴你提醒了我。”我说:“如果一会儿再开车回来退,再做解释岂不是更糟?”我们坐进车里,凯文开始倒车。我又想起了别的事,“你有没有顺便问一下表里的电池是哪里制造的?”

凯文摇了摇头。

“我想到了,但我不想让人觉得我是个怪物。”他说。

 

No matter, I think. I will call the store later, after I come up with a way to ask about the origins of the batteries that doesn’t sound ridiculous. It may take some doing, but I’ll come up with something. And maybe we’ll get lucky. Maybe they will be from Poland or Mexico, or even America. Batteries seem American, I tell myself, in a way that video games seem Chinese. No worries. I’ll sort it out later.

这没关系,我想。当我想到一个听上去不怪的办法后,我可以给商店打电话问电池的产地。这可能比较费事,但我有办法。也许我们会比较幸运,电池或许会是波兰、墨西哥甚至是美国的。电池看上去是美国货。我对自己说,那儿的电子游戏到看着像是中国的。不用担心,我会把它们弄清楚的。

As Kevin accelerates into traffic, I take a look at his profile. Handsome as a movie star and devoted to the China boycott. What more could you ask for? It was cruel of me to dub him the Weakest Link, even if I kept it to myself.

I sit back in my seat and turn to gaze at the streets silver with rain. I don’t know what I was so worried about.A China boycott had seemed like such a big deal before we got started, but there’s nothing to it, really. You check the labels, you say no, thank you. Everybody smiles and nods. One month down. Eleven to go.

Piece of cake.

当凯文加速上路时,我看了一眼他的侧影,一幅帅气的电影明星像,又致力于抵制中国。还要求什么呢?管他绰号叫最薄弱环节是不公平的,即使我只是自己私下这样叫也不公平。

坐在座位上,转头看着车窗外雨中的街道,我不知道自己在担心什么,抵制中国制造在未行动前感觉是件很艰难的事,但实际上也没什么。看一看标签,说声“不用了,谢谢”,每个人都会微笑着点头。一个月已经过去了,还有11个月。

小菜一碟而已!

 

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