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差不多先生傳

(2009-08-31 12:55:47)
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分类: 中译英
差不多先生傳
The Chronicle of Mr. “Close Enough”

胡適
By Hu Shi

你知道中國最有名的人是誰?提起此人,人人皆曉,處處聞名,他姓差,名不多,是各省各縣各村人氏。你一定見過他,一定聽過別人談起他,差不多先生的名字,天天掛在大家的口頭,因為他是中國全國人的代表。

Do you know who the most famous person in China is? His name is a well-known phrase to everyone, everywhere. In Chinese, his surname means ‘Enough’ and his given name would be ‘Close’. He could be from any village, any county, and any province. You must have seen him, or heard people talking about him. The name of Mr. ‘Close Enough’ is on our lips every day, because he is like the representative of the Chinese people.

差不多先生的相貌,和你和我都差不多。他有一雙眼睛,但看的不很清楚;有兩隻耳朵,但聽的不很分明;有鼻子和嘴,但他對於氣味和口味都不很講究;他的腦子也不小,但他的記性卻不很精明,他的思想也不細密。

Mr. Close Enough looks ordinary, just like you and I. He has a pair of eyes, which unfortunately does not see clearly. He has a pair of ears, which hears rather poorly. As for his nose and mouth, they are not particularly sensitive to tastes and smells. His brain, although not small, has poor memory and his thoughts are not at all analytical.

他常常說:「凡事只要差不多,就好了。何必太精明呢?」

What he often says is “as long as it is close enough, we are fine. Why bother being precise?”

他小時候,他媽叫他去買紅糖,他買了白糖回來,他媽罵他,他搖搖頭道:「紅糖,白糖,不是差不多嗎?」

When he was a child, his mother sent him to buy brown sugar, but he brought back white sugar instead. When reprimanded, he shook his head and said “brown sugar and white sugar, are they not close enough?”


他在學堂的時候,先生問他:「直隸省的西邊是哪一省?」他說是陝西。先生說:「錯了,是山西,不是陝西。」他說:「陝西同山西,不是差不多嗎?」

In school, his teacher once asked him “which province borders Hebei on the west side?” He answered Shaanxi. His teacher said “The answer is wrong. It should be Shanxi.” He said: “Shaanxi and Shanxi, are they not close enough?”


後來他在一個錢鋪裏做夥計;他也會寫,也會算,只是總不會精細;十字常常寫成千字,千字常常寫成十字。掌櫃的生氣了,常常罵他,他只笑嘻嘻地賠小心道:「千字比十字多一小撇,不是差不多嗎?」

Later he became a clerk in a bank. He could write and calculate, but was not very careful. Often times, he would mistakenly write the Chinese character of 1000 for that of 10, or vice versa. His carelessness infuriated his boss, who often berated him. He would grin as though apologizing and say, “The characters of 1000 and 10, don’t they look close enough?”


有一天,他為了一件要緊的事,要搭火車到上海去,他從從容容地走到火車站,遲了兩分鐘,火車已開走了。他白瞪著眼,望著遠遠的火車上的煤煙,搖搖頭道: 「只好明天再走了,今天走同明天走,也還差不多;可是火車公司未免太認真了。八點三十分開,同八點三十二分開,不是差不多嗎?」他一面說,一面慢慢地走回 家,心裏總不很明白為甚麼火車不肯等他兩分鐘。

One day, he had to take the train to Shanghai for an urgent matter. He strolled unhurriedly to the train station, and found he was two minutes late. He could not believe that the train had already left the station. As he watched the smoke billowing from the vanishing train, he shook his head:’’ It seems that I will have to leave tomorrow. Today and tomorrow are close enough, but the train company is just overly punctual. Is 8:32 not close enough to 8:30”? Grumbling to himself, he walked slowly home, puzzled as to why the train couldn’t have waited just 2 more minutes for him.


有一天,他忽然得一急病,趕快叫家人去請東街的汪先生。那家人急急忙忙跑去,一時尋不著東街的汪大夫,卻把西街的牛醫王大夫請來了。差不多先生病在脇上, 知道尋錯了人;但病急了,身上痛苦,心裏焦急,等不得了,心裏想道:「好在王大夫同汪大夫也差不多,讓他試試看罷。」於是這位牛醫王大夫走近脇前,用醫牛 的法子給差不多先生治病。不上一點鐘,差不多先生就一命嗚呼了。

One day, he came down with an acute illness. He sent a family member to fetch Dr. Wong from the Eastern Avenue. The family member, in a hurry, couldn’t find Dr. Wong from the Eastern Avenue, but instead brought back a cow doctor, Dr. Wang from the Western Avenue. Mr. Close Enough, as sick as he was lying on the bed, knew that it was not the right doctor, but as he was in such great pain and too worried to wait any longer, he thought, “This Dr. Wang seems to be close enough to the other Dr. Wang. Why not let him have a try?” Thus the wrong Dr. Wang came to his bed, and applied the method he used as a vet to treat cows to Mr. Close Enough. In less than one hour, Mr. Close Enough was dead.

差不多先生差不多要死的時候,一口氣斷斷續續地說道:「活人同死人也差……差……差……不多,……凡事只要……差……差……不多……就……好了,何……必……太……太認真呢?」他說完了這句格言,就絕了氣。

When Mr. Close Enough was about to die, he gasped: “A live man… and a dead man… are close enough. As long as… it is close enough, we are fine. Why bother… to be so precise?” Having finished his mantra, he took his last breath.

他死後,大家都很稱讚差不多先生樣樣事情看得破,想得通;大家都說他一生不肯認真,不肯算帳,不肯計較,真是一位有德行的人。於是大家給他取個死後的法號,叫他做圓通大師。

After his death, people applauded Mr. Close Enough as being very wise and philosophical. People said he had always been undemanding and easygoing so therefore, virtuous. As a result, they gave him the title “Grand Master of Flexibility” posthumously.


他的名譽愈傳愈遠,愈久愈大,無數無數的人,都學他的榜樣,於是人人都成了一個差不多先生。──然而中國從此就成了一個懶人國了。

His fame grew further and wider with time to the extent that countless numbers of people today are emulating him. Consequently, everyone has become a Mr. Close Enough and China has now become a nation of lazy people.


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