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汉译英:两个打工仔

(2007-03-08 20:36:50)
分类: 佳作精译
 两个打工仔
郭连元 / 刘宗仁 译注

原文

   两个乡下人外出打工,一个去上海,一个去北京。可是在候车厅等车时,他们都又改变了主意,因为邻座的议论说,上海人精明,外地人问路都要收费;北京人质朴,见吃不上饭的人,不仅给馒头,还送旧衣服。

   去上海的人想,还是北京好,挣不到钱也饿不死。去北京的人想,还是上海好,给人带路都能挣钱,还有什么不能挣钱的?于是他们在退票处相遇了。原来要去北京的得到了上海的票,去上海的得到了北京的票。

   去北京的人发现,北京果然好。他初到北京一个月,什么都没干,竟然没有饿着。不仅银行大厅里的太空水可以白喝,而且大商场里欢迎品尝的点心也可以白吃。

   去上海的人发现,上海果然是一个可以发财的城市。干什么都可以赚钱:带路可以赚钱;看厕所可以赚钱;弄盆凉水让人洗脸也可以赚钱。只要想点办法,再花点力气都可以赚钱。第二天,他在建筑工地装了10包含有沙子和树叶的土,借“花盆土”的名义,向见不到泥土而又爱花的上海人兜售,当天净赚了50元。一年后,他竟然在大上海拥有了一间小小的门面。

   在长年的走街串巷中,他又发现:一些商店楼亮丽而招牌发黑。一打听才知道,是清洁公司只负责洗楼而不负责清洗招牌的结果。他立即抓住这一空挡,买了人字梯、水桶和抹布,办起一个小型清洁公司,专门负责擦洗招牌。如今,他的公司已经有150多个打工仔,业务也由上海发展到杭州和南京。

   前不久,他乘火车到北京考察清洗市场。在北京站,一个捡破烂的人把头伸进软卧车厢,向他要一个啤酒瓶,就在递瓶时,两人都愣住了,因为五年前,他们曾经换过票。

 译文

    Two farmers left their village to work in the city. One was going to Shanghai and the other was going to Beijing. At the railway station they changed their mind because they heard that Shanghai people were so smart that one could charge on outsider for showing directions; Beijing people were so generous they would give the poor not only bread but also old clothes.

    The farmer who planned to go to Shanghai thought that Beijing was better because if one couldn’t earn money he wouldn’t be starved. The farmer who had wanted to go to Beijing thought that Shanghai was better because one could earn money by showing the way to others. There must be many other ways to make money. So the two farmers met at the cancellation window and exchanged their tickets.

    The farmer who came to Beijing found that Beijing was really good. He idled away the first month but did not starve. He could drink bottled water in the hall of a bank and eat sample snacks at a supermarket free of charge.

    The one came to Shanghai found that Shanghai was indeed a place for making money. One could earn money by doing anything: one could be paid for showing the way, for tending toilets and even for getting water for people to wash their faces. One could earn money as long as he uses his brain or muscles. On the second day he went to a construction site and put some sand and plant leaves in ten bags. He gave the mixture a name called “Flower Pot Soil” and sold to Shanghai flower lovers who could not find earth for plants easily. He made 50 yuan that day. One year later he opened a small store in Shanghai.

    When he walked through the streets he noticed that the name board of some stores was dirty. He found out it was because the cleaning squads only cleaned the building but not the name boards. So he bought a ladder, a bucket, a piece of cloth, and set up a cleaning company for cleaning name boards. Now he employs 150 workers and has branched out to Hangzhou and Nanjing.

    Not long ago he took a train to Beijing to investigate the cleaning market there. At the Beijing Railway Station a garbage collector pushed his head into the soft seat compartment and asked him for a beer bottle. When he handed the bottle to the man, he was dumfounded: the garbage collector was the man with whom he had exchanged tickets five years ago.

注解

1.         现在的中国农民都受过一定的教育,再叫他们peasants不太合适,因为英文peasants一词含有“愚昧、受很少教育”的意思。

2.         中文中“打工”一词指的是农民进城工作,在译文中应明确。

3.         “邻座”一词没有译出是因为没有必要。一般情况下,英译文总比中文原文长得多。翻译应尽量舍弃一些不影响原文意思的文字。

4.         “质朴”译为generous更符合后面的意思。

5.         “太空水”没有译出是因为此词会让外国人一头雾水。最难翻译的中文是一些在外文里找不到对应词的文字。有些编出来的译文能让外国人懂,比如“paper tiger”;但有些根本不可能让人家懂。我们可以自己编,或者在不影响原文意思的情况下不译出来

6.         最后一句译文中也可以用“was none other but the man”。

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