古诗英译形式杂谈

本帖最后由 fanghuzhai 于 2015-12-20 15:12 编辑

古诗英译杂谈

方壶斋


中国古诗,有的直接翻译成英文,毫无诗趣。李白静夜思是也。其实静夜思到现在我也看不出有什么好。怎样才能翻译成有点意思的英诗,也只能从形式上下手了。要有韵,要符合英诗的惯常写法。英诗里很多立意无关宏旨的诗,玩的就是形式。

at my bed the moon shines bright
i thought it frost, what a confusing sight
i look up and saw a star illuminous
i look down and am caght by homesickness.

中文汉字丰富,同音字多,押韵不同字,在写诗上是个优势。英文不行。你用rhymezone.com 查查同韵的英文词,可用者不多。而如果靠构词部件押韵,则失之单调乏味,如用-tion,-ment. 所以英诗很难一韵到底。换韵较多是正常的。为什么史诗多用双行体,就是因为可以用换韵保证叙事,否则累死了。

中国古诗,一行一句。翻成英文也照样,不免单调,虽然是便捷的方针。英诗一句跨行,只保证每行的音节数目和节奏,以及韵,不在乎非要一行完成一个句子。这也是英语有很多多音节词造成的。汉诗以字为单位表意,一字一意,这和汉语的字本位性质是一致的。英文构句还要借助虚词彰显结构,所谓形合语言是也。叠床架屋,自然难以对付汉诗的简洁明快。亦步亦趋地翻译汉诗成英文,难免臃肿。但是很少见到不这样翻译的。这方面应该探索一下。怎么做?就是要把汉诗的意思了然于胸之后,用自己的话,当然是英文,以英文诗的形式表述出来,不要顾忌原诗的句子。比如可以这样翻译

how can mountains and rivers
deter red army soldiders
when they are strong willed to hike
endless miles north to fight
under their journey-worn feet
Wumeng turns into mud ball
nor are they themselves to cheat
Five Ranges do become streams small
fearsome is the Jinsha River
splashing on both rocky banks
the chain bridge in gunfire quiver
but gunfire stops no brave soldier
happy we are when we reunite
our forces of three routes
beyond the snow mountains white
after sliding down in shouts

这里,连意象都换了。云崖暖, warm cloudy cliff, 恐怕老外要觉得费解。

中文动词没有时态变化,英文有。翻译时时态的表达也是个要注意的问题。上边的诗可以用过去式,但是为了一个韵,我干脆都不用了。

关于韵的问题。要求汉诗英译押韵,增加了翻译难度。是否非要押韵,有不同看法。毕竟现代诗很多已经不押韵了。我个人的 困惑是,诗不押韵,凭什么还保持诗的资格,肯定有别的因素,否则读者早就不干了。这个问题我没有搞懂。很多现代诗,在我看来就是散文的分行。那么按照字数分一下好了。今天在纽约客杂志上看到厄普代克的一首现代诗《来到纽约》Coming Into New York, 就让我有散文分行的感觉。每行基本上十个音节。

After Providence, Connecticut,
the green defiant landscape, unrelieved
except by ordered cities, smart and smug,
in spirit villages, too full of life
to be so called, too small to seem sincere.
And then like Death it comes upon us:
the plain of steaming trash, the tinge of brown
that colors now the trees and grass as though
exposed to rays sent from the core of heat—
these are the signs we see in retrospect.
But we look up amazed and wonder that
the green is gone out of our window, that
horizon on all sides is segmented
into so many tiny lines that we
mistake it for the profile of a wooded
hill against the sky, or that as far
as mind can go are buildings, paving, streets.
The tall ones rise into the mist like gods
serene and watchful, yet we fear, for we
have witnessed from this train the struggle to
complexity: the leaf has turned to stone.

这首诗串起来就是个四个长句的段落。

After Providence, Connecticut, the green defiant landscape, unrelieved except by ordered cities, smart and smug, in spirit villages, too full of life to be so called, too small to seem sincere. And then like Death it comes upon us: the plain of steaming trash, the tinge of brown that colors now the trees and grass as though exposed to rays sent from the core of heat— these are the signs we see in retrospect. But we look up amazed and wonder that the green is gone out of our window, that horizon on all sides is segmented into so many tiny lines that we mistake it for the profile of a wooded hill against the sky, or that as far as mind can go are buildings, paving, streets. The tall ones rise into the mist like gods serene and watchful, yet we fear, for we have witnessed from this train the struggle to complexity: the leaf has turned to stone.

我实在看不出诗的元素在哪里,除了每行大致相同的音节,可能就是他描写旅途所见的方式了。如果用这样的形式翻译汉诗,真是容易的多:

The Red Army is not afraid of the
Difficulties of long march
Mountains and rivers' though numerous
Are nothing but insignificant things
The five ranges of mountains appear
As small as streamlets under their feet
Humongous as the Wumeng Mountains are
It is nothing but small balls of mud
Then they come to the Goldensand River
Whose waters splash on the two rocky banks
Cold and aloof is the iron chain bridge
Guarding the only pass to the other side
They take the bridge with bravery and
Then scale the huge mountain, snow covered
Happy they are after surmounting those
When branches of troops rejoin their forces

如果要仿照厄普代克的写法,用长句夸三四行,则要费点心思:

The Red Army,fearing not the hardship
of long march and despising numerous mountains
and rivers, treat the Five Ranges as little streams
and the huge Wumeng Mountain as mud balls.
Then at the splashing Goldensand River,
its banks vague in misty fog, they storm the
sole bridge, iron chains only, braving gunfire.
Mountains of snow then they scale successively
and rejoined forces beyond in great glee
方壶斋